Flowboarder a Champion On Many Fronts

USF engineering student represents the U.S. in the World FlowRiding Championships in Singapore.

 

 

By Jenna Withrow

USF.edu News Writer

 

TAMPA, Fla. (October 22, 2010) – Amanda McCormick has never been one to shy away from a challenge.

 

“I have always been competitive,” she says. “I don’t settle for less, I want to succeed in whatever field I’m in.”

 

It’s that competitive attitude that brought her to USF’s College of Engineering, landed her an internship with a top Florida construction company, and earned her a starting position on the University of South Florida’s women’s soccer team last year.

 

Now, that determination has brought her to the top of a newer sport: FlowRiding.

 

McCormick is the top female Flowboarder in the United States. And this weekend, she’ll take her skills to the international level when she represents the United States in the World FlowRiding Championships in Singapore.

 

FlowRiding looks like wakeboarding, feels like snowboarding, and has tricks like skateboarding. The sport got an early start in the 1990’s with the creation of the first FlowRider, a stationary wave hill. FlowRiding has since grown increasingly popular worldwide, with the addition of FlowRiders to many cruise ships and water parks.

 

Here’s how it works.

 

 Water jets form one-to-three inch sheet waves that flow over the hill of the FlowRider. Flowboarders “drop in” at the top of the machine, much like skateboarders do on ramps. They then ride along the wave on a board similar to a wakeboard, without binding foot straps. Flowboarders can perform tricks such as spins, jumps and kick flips.

 

McCormick’s best move is called the “360 Shuvit.” She’s one of the only female Flowboarders in the country who can do the trick. But it’s not her fancy footwork that earned her the top spot in the sport. McCormick credits her success to her precision and smooth style.

 

Competitors get a mere 35 seconds to impress the judges. They are rated based on how smooth their ride was, how clean their tricks were, their entry, style, and use of the entire wave, and application of the fundamentals of the sport.

 

When she’s not practicing her moves at her sponsor’s new aquatic recreation venue, Fantasy Surf at FantasyWorld Resort in Kissimmee, McCormick is hitting the books. McCormick is just four classes, totaling 13 credit hours, shy of graduating from USF this December.

 

She is pursuing a degree in civil engineering with a concentration in environmental and, of course, water resources. Once she graduates, she will pursue a career in project management.

 

“USF has such a great engineering program,” she says. “Everyone in the program goes through the coursework together. I’ve always had the same people in my classes, so I’ve really gotten to know my classmates. We’re like a tight-knit family of engineers.”

 

In addition to classes and practice, McCormick works 30 hours a week as a project engineer intern at the construction firm Wharton-Smith, Inc. She credits her internship to one of the many USF Career Center job fairs, where she first met a representative from the company.

 

Whether it is at her internship, playing soccer or FlowRiding, McCormick constantly strives to be No. 1. And she says she won’t give up until she achieves that.

 

“I am always working toward being the best,” she says. “There is always room for improvement.”

 

Jenna Withrow covers student activities and events at USF. She can be reached at 813-974-4014.