Name: Tony Cherry
Age: 35
Occupation: production supervisor
Waveski experience: 18 years

TSUNAMI WAVESKIS - http://www.waveski.co.nz/
Address: New Zealand
Competition records: 8 Times New Zealand champ, 2nd in the world and current US open champion

Hi Tony... you made a great career on waveski… how often do you usually practice?
I practice a lot. I don’t have natural talent like some people who can be out of the water for months and turn up at a comp and win. If I don’t practice I surf like I’m just learning, its sad to watch. Just before an event like the US comp or World titles 3 months leeding up to the event I’m in the water 3 times a day every day.

I suppose it's an old question but, do you present yourself as a surfkayaker or waveskier?
I have to say wave ski as I have never been in a surf kayak. My background was stand up surfing and 18 years ago I watched a wave ski event at my local beach and was hooked for life.

How, when and what did you start to paddle?
My first wave ski was a moulded tsunami 225 that had been broken in half twice and had fallen off a roof rack, so it was in bad shape it had been repaired so many times that it weighed about 28kgs I almost couldn’t lift it. After 2 years of riding this I was at a comp and was washed up on rocks and because of the weight of my board I kept getting hit by wave after wave. I finally got to the beach and my dad said I could get a new board that was lighter and wouldn’t try to kill me. So he paid for a custom ski that weighed about 8 kgs and 1 year later I won my first New Zealand open. So if you are starting out waveskiing make sure your parents come to watch and you might find it easier to get an upgrade if you’re struggling to ride your titanic boat.

And regarding waveski and surfkayaks, what do you think will be the future... more waveskiers or surfkayakers?
In New Zealand I’m seeing more and more surfkayakers than waveskiers. There are more shops selling kayaks than wave skis. Its hard to say what the future will bring but with waveskiing now having a semi professional circuit I hold high hopes for waveskiing to be launched into the limelight, and a little more with DVDs from these events getting into the hands of the media.

Which do you think is more easier to start with?
Because the only kayak I have ever been in is in flat water I found it quite stable and easy to keep balanced but a wave ski you can put your legs over the side if you start to tip and in the surf I think a beginner would find it safer and easier to start on a ski for that reason.

Certainly that you have notest that the new surfkayaks generation, are very short, light and fast. How do you see this designing evolution?
Once again hard for me to comment but from what I have seen and the way they perform they look as manoeuvrable as a wave ski if not more so, the design looks very streamline and sleek I would love to try one.

You belong to Tsunami Team. How is your work with them?
I have been riding for Tsunami for 5 years now and am now riding boards that are perfectly suited to my style of riding. Nick from Tsunami and I got together on a couple of my boards and I shared my design input but he does all the hard work in the shaping bay. When Nick first suggested to me about the adjustable foot block and moveable seat I though he was drunk but after riding it I couldn’t go back to a wave ski that does not have this innovation as it has helped me understand my boards a lot more and know exactly what a board does if you move you balance point 1 inch forward or back without having to re glass it. Being part of team Tsunami has been the best part of my waveskiing learning experience and has increased my performance in the waves.

And paddler… do you have anyone in special that admires very much?
Years ago I had given up waveskiing competitions and only surfed when it was warm and great waves then I saw a DVD by Xavier Walser called Kazi Lines featuring Mathieu Babarit this DVD and Matts surfing got me so amped that I got back into the sport and re found my love for competing. I still think Matt is the best waveskier in the world and because watching him surf inspires me to try different manoeuvres and get out there I admire him for this.

You won last year USA waveski championships. Tell us how did you made it...
This contest for me was a highlight in my surfing life, the competition was so well organised and all of the people made me feel so welcome it was a pleasure to compete. Everything went right for me in this event I won every heat and the final of the seniors and open.
And I have learned from this comp that the more relaxed I am the better I surf instead of getting stressed and over thinking everything, so the whole thing was well worth the trip.

How often do you participate in waveski competitions?
In New Zealand we now only have 1 comp a year which is the New Zealand open I try to attend this event but if it’s the same year as the worlds or another international comp then I go to those events as waveskiing is not that high profile its very hard to get funding to travel more than once a year for me.

And this year, what are your expectations regarding the Worlds in Australia?
I’m going to the worlds this year with a new relaxed attitude that worked so well for me in the US, in past world events I surf great in the first half of the event and then my head gets in the way and I start to go down hill from there. 2007 worlds I got 7th in the open so I would like to improve on that maybe 1st would be a nice goal.

Which was the best spot that you surfed around the world?
My best surf I have ever had was in France in Lacanau 1995 but my favourite surf spot would have to be Coolum Beach on the Sunshine Coast in Australia.

And in your country?
The Waimak river mouth which is 20 mins drive from my house, a very high performance wave.

Your favourite web paddling sites are:
waveski.info , uswaveski.com , playak.com and boater talk.com

Let us some suggestions to those who want to start waveskiing...
Start in flat water first learn to roll before you even get in the ocean that way you have confidence before you get in the situation of getting hit by a wave. Half the battle of waveskiing is to be confident in what you doing. Once you have mastered balance, rolling and catching waves, the best thing to do is to surf with other skiers or watch DVDs and slow them down so you can see exactly what the riders are doing. Waveskiing has been a big part of my life and I wouldn’t choose to do anything else.

Thanks a lot Tony and all the best for Australia Worlds!