There should be a place for sport in every person’s life!
Probably, many will agree that sports people are the most beautiful. It is enough to look at our heroine to once again be convinced of this. Meet Ekaterina Kuznetsova – a successful athlete, an international class judge of the highest category, the co-Head judge of the World Championships and the Secretary of the Competitive World Wakesurfing Association.
Tell us how you got into the sport?
I didn’t come to sports; I was born in it (laughs). My dad is a master of sports of international class in judo, he led the Complex School of Higher Sportsmanship in Leningrad, brought up many Olympic Champions, was the head coach of the USSR national team in judo, sambo and freestyle wrestling. So the sport is inherent in me genetically. I started going in for sports seriously at the age of 4. It was rhythmic gymnastics. But since then, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge and a lot of things have changed in my sports life.
Can you talk a little more about this?
I had great successes and, to the great joy of my father, showed great promise in sports. But fate decreed otherwise. And at the age of 8, after a back injury, I had to leave rhythmic gymnastics. To recover, I took up swimming, then there was tennis, where I got into the Junior WTA rating, and equestrian sports, where I achieved the title of candidate master of sports and became the vice-champion of Russia in dressage.
As far as we know, now your sports life and the greatest achievements are connected with a completely different sport – wakesurfing. How did you get into extreme sports?
This is a very funny case. I have just completed my work at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi-2014, where I worked hard and successfully as the head of the Protocol for all the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. In order to somehow switch before the next big projects and not burn out, I decided to add water sports to my sports skills. When I went to the first training session, I was sure that I would ride a wakeboard. But to my surprise, it turned out that I would have to conquer a new discipline – wakesurfing. And since passing is not in my rules, I got up on the board without hesitation. And it all started. And literally same season I got invited to compete at the Worlds.
What is it that draws you in to this sport?
I’ll start by saying that I’ve always been interested in trying my hand at something new. I got a good coach, and besides, as it turned out, wakesurfing is a unique sport. What is the invaluable release of adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin for our body worth?! I note that these hormones are not only useful for athletes, but also extremely important in order to show decent results. Sports passion and spirit of competition also worked, plus sports ambitions.
For those who are not familiar with wakesurfing, can you briefly tell us about it?
To make it short, this is riding on a board behind a towing boat. First, the rider gets up behind the boat using a rope. Then the riders tosses the rope and rides the wave just like in ocean surfing, performing various tricks.
Probably, you need to have special sports training in order to be able to stand on the board?
It’s not necessary at all. Almost any person can get up on the board already at the first training session. And as soon as they succeed, they fall in love with this beautiful extreme sport.
You have achieved great results in wakesurfing quite soon. How did you manage to do it?
Firstly, thanks to the psychological preparation and physical form. Secondly, thanks to hard training. Thirdly, no matter what I do, I always set myself up for the result from the very beginning.
What are your biggest accomplishments in this sport?
In 2016, I won first place at the US Open. Then there were prizes at the Kyiv City Swell Open Wake Surf Championship, WRS (World Ranking System) CWSA King of Wakesurf Italian Open and the Russian Championship (2019), the Ingrad Wake Surf Championship, the World Championship and the All-Russian Championship (2021) and many others, overall over 50 podiums. In addition, I am a four-time European champion (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021). Overall Ekaterina has more than 50 podium awards and probably is the most recognized Russian wakesurfer so far.
It is known that there are no victories without defeats. Share with readers a recipe for dealing with failure?
I fully agree with the statement that one who never climbed never fell. Someone who never tries never fails. Failures are inevitable and very important, because without them outstanding success is impossible. The taste of victory would not be as bright without it. As for how to deal with failure, I’ll answer with my favorite saying: “When life gives you lemons, make a lemonade.”
If you do not take into account your physical form, then looking at you, one gets the impression that you are more of a person of the creative profession, but not of the professional sport.
To some extent you are right. In addition to being an athlete, part of my soul belongs to creativity. I graduated from the St. Petersburg State University. I have two higher educations – the philological faculty of St. Petersburg State University and Stockholm school of Economics (Sweden). As a child I attended one of the best art schools in my native city of St Petersburg, and painting has remained one of my hobbies to this day. I always find time to visit museums, theaters, watch movies. I love traveling and reading books.
How do you manage to win, work, be a mom and make time for yourself?
I won’t say that it’s easy, but I try to manage my time so that I can do everything and not miss anything. In fact, everything is a priority: work, training, family and children, students. I actually need to say that I do not often dedicate enough time to riding because of the huge workload. It’s challenging to cope with everything, but there is no other way out.
List 5 important rules of Katja Kuznetsova.
2. Love for life.
3. Find a job that will inspire you, and then you will not have to work a day in your life.
4. Family and home is the most important, it gives me joy, strength, support and absolute happiness.
5. Sport is my antidepressant.
6. Never envy or judge other people: everyone has their own path, walk yours with integrity and wish all others peace on their journey.
7. Best friends may be on the other side of the Earth, but from the first minute of the conversation you understand that distances are ephemeral.
It turned out 7 and this is symbolic, since this is my lucky number.
In March 2022, you moved permanently to the United States. What prompted you to take this step? And why America?
I can think of two main reasons. The first is related to children. I could not deprive them of the opportunity to continue the education started in international schools in different countries. The second is related to my life priorities and my professional activities. I wanted to continue to develop myself as an athlete, and to develop this absolutely American sport in the USA.
I have a special relationship with America. It is easier to implement plans and implement tasks here than anywhere else in the world. Probably, the American way of life and approach to work and business suits me. I hope that I will be able to be useful in all aspects that I do.
From what you said, you must have big plans for the future, right?
I plan to create my own wakesurfing school and my own unique training methodology, continue my athletic career and work at the CWSA, developing and promoting wakesurfing worldwide.
You are a very versatile person. Your extraordinary abilities are amazing. What advice would you give to women who want to be like you?
I try to follow my rules of life, that I mentioned above, as well as love yourself and life, and all good things will just happen.