Horton: I think that most hard core slalom skiers have now heard the name Karina Nowlan but don’t know where you came from and how you came up in skiing. Where did you grow up and how did you get involved in skiing?
Karina: OZ ski ! A local prestigious tournament that was held 10 min from my house. I used to go down to the river to check out the big walls. I loved it! We skied casually on that same river - The Williams River. My dad met Lesley Puxty in the gym. They got talking about the local club and tournaments etc and the next thing you know, I am competing in my first tournament!
Horton: Who are your biggest influences in the sport?
Karina: All the Cockburn Family from my local town in Newcastle. Lesley Puxty got us down to the local tournaments. Bruce Cockburn - without Bruce there is no way that I would be here right now; he gave me all the second hand ski's , suits, and coached me. All the Stone Family at Stoney Park and in the last few seasons Matt Rini!
Horton: What can you tell us about your first Pro Event?
Karina: Tricking in OZ ski, I was 11 years old. The only dream I had was to land a flip in a tournament! I landed it... I remember Rhoni Barton (Bischoff) came up to me and talked to me. I was so excited. I don't know if she would remember this, but she took my on this ride at the carnival. I couldn't believe it!
Horton: From the perspective of many of the readers at BallOfSpray, you are an overnight success. Let’s clear that up. Tadd Schreiber suggested to me that you have pretty much lived at ski schools for a number of years. For how long have you been a full time skier?
Karina: This is my first year! I worked three jobs this time last year just to get a plane ticket to the USA. Stoney Park Watersports in Australia has been my base for the last 6 years. Worked in the boat through the day, and waitressing at night.... The things you do to ski.
Horton: Soon after your world record performance at Diablo Shores, there was a tremendous buzz on the internet about your skiing. Have you read any of these analyses of your skiing? If so, what do you think?
Karina: Haha. I am absolutely flattered that people are really taking note. Especially of a girl skier! I like to keep my skiing simple. Sometimes, if you overanalyze, it clouds!
Horton: I have seen you ski from the boat, and there is no denying that your skiing is distinctive. How do you describe your “style”?
Karina: I just ride the line...... I believe that it is important to go by feeling, to be able to feel the changes you make so next time you go out and ski, you know exactly the movements you are aiming to develop.
SkiBug from the BallOfSpray Forum asks: Have you ever skied at 36 MPH in practice? If so, how well did you ski it?
Karina: Yeah! Sometimes unintentionally! Skiing with Dad was always 'different', he had this intention of making my life hard through the slalom course and not telling me! Putting the boat speed up was a classic that he thought was amusing "It will only make you tougher" .... (laughs) "You need to learn to adapt" but on a serious note, sometimes I will just run a few 28's and 32's if i feel like mixing it up a bit. I believe there is such a big difference between the two speeds and the way you have to ski!
Horton: I am entertained by the idea of a 21 year old woman showing up at the dock and beating the tar out of a bunch of oldBigDawg skiers. Would you enjoy humbling them?
Karina: haha! NO COMMENT!!!
AB from the BallOfSpray Forum asks: Do you focus on any key areas as you get ready to ski a competition round?
Karina: Not really. If I feel a little bit sore that particular day I will just make sure I warm up more. Again I just go by feeling...
AB from the BallOfSpray Forum asks: What were your keys to becoming consistent at the 38 and 39.5 passes?
Karina: Listening to Matt Rini
AB from the BallOfSpray Forum asks: What do you do for a break from skiing?
Karina: This is the first time that I can remember that I have had a break ! I just starting boxing ....... I love it!
Brent from the BallOfSpray Forum asks: Did you start as a 3 event skier or have you always been a slalom specialist?
Karina: I sure did! My best in tricks was 5780 and 159ft in jump.
Scot Jones from the BallOfSpray forum asks: I know you were a very good slalom skier before your hip dislocation in ’07. Did you stop jumping after the injury? If you did quit jumping, do you attribute any of your current slalom success to focusing on one event?
Karina: I loved jumping, but it was a sacrifice I had to make. In order to advance to that 'next' level in slalom, I had to make a 'career' decision. I skied the 2007 World Championships in Austria only 3 months after my hip disloaction. I made finals jumping 159ft and finished 3rd in slalom. I jumped at Moomba, crashing for the second time of my life and broke a few ribs. After that I picked up my slalom ski and focused on it. This year, the Mastercraft Pro Tour was a massive hit in the slalom world, and I didn't even have time to think about jumping. If it wasn't for the Mastercraft Pro tour and all the slalom tournaments, who knows? Maybe I would still be a jumper.
Brent from the BallOfSpray Forum asks: I hear you can run 39 1/2 on a few skis. What ski are you on these days?
Karina: GOODE SL 9800
Horton: It looks like sponsorship prospects have greatly improved. Can you tell us a little about your sponsors?
Karina: Mastercraft Boats www.mastercraft.com, Matt Rini Ski school (Go ski with Matt! You will have a Blast!) www.mattrini.com , Jivahill and Eurolac (The most amazing hotel and ski lake situated 20 minutes outside Geneva, Switzerland) www.jivahill.com, H2osmosis (Check out the Pro Shop now online) www.h2oproshop.com & Goode Skis www.goode.com
SkiDawg (Ward McLain) from the BallOfSpray Forum asks: What is your typical weekly practice schedule? How many sets per day? How much rest in between? Back to backs or up the rope? Any days you just do drills?
Karina: Every week is different. Especially if I have tournaments. I don't like to ski too much. I believe quality is better than quantity.
If I am getting bored, I'll mix it up a bit.
DW from the BallOfSpray Forum asks: What attributes do you evaluate and rate as important on your ski or equipment choices? How many skis do you go through in a season?
Karina: Every ski company has great skis. It's important to go with a ski that you feel the best on and suits your style. Right now, I am riding a Goode SL 9800.
Horton: What is your response to being compared to skiers like Sue Fieldhouse, Emma Sheers, Toni Neville, Sue Lipplegoes, Jodi Skipper, and Karen Bowkett?
Karina: Wow! They are all legends of the sport!!
Horton: Being Australian, I assume you drink beer, and being from N.S.W., I assume you drink the local stuff. Do you preferTooheys, Reschs or KB Lager?
Karina: What if i told you that i am not a beer girl? :)
Horton: Hard to believe!
Horton: The conditions at Moomba are generally horrible, but the tournament holds an unique appeal for many in the sport. Can you explain what makes Australia’s most famous tournament special to you?
Karina: Close your eyes and just imagine - A narrow river..... thousands of people sitting on both sides of the course...grand stands....beautiful Melbourne city surroundings....the sound of LOUD Australian people screaming and yelling.....carnivals in the back ground....public holiday weekend...and you skiing! It is a moment that can last forever.....
Horton: When you are coaching slalom, is there a single subject that you find yourself teaching most often? If so, what is it?
Karina: Learning to ride the ski well. Stance.
Horton: In the Terry Winter interview, I asked him about Marcus Brown’s hair. As a young, single woman, what do you think of Marcus’ hair?
Karina: NO JOKE!!! (laughs) You wouldn't believe it but i helped start them (the dreadlocks) at a tournament in NZ a few years back! I think Marcus wouldn't be Marcus without his hair, right?
Horton: I asked Tadd for some background on you. All I got was a drinking story involving PJ McMillan’s car and a question that is too embarrassing to ask.
Karina: Oh! I am so glad you didn't go to details with that question.... There is a reason why I am played 13 times crashing on one of PJ's films!!
Horton: Do you have a juicy Tadd Schreiber story?
Karina: Yeah. The first thing Tadd asked me when I got to H2osmosis in Charleston was "Do you eat meat"? I was a bit confused, but now I understand...he just needed a friend! Everybody else there is either vegan or vegetarian!!!!
Horton: Is there anything, that I did not ask, that you would like the water ski world to know about you?
Karina: "Make sure your having fun skiiing...... That's why we do it! Get the music going..... good group of people! It's all about the lifestyle...."
Photo by John Mommer Photography http://www.johnmommerphotography.com/