BROstock Interview: Harley Clifford

LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. — This weekend, BROstock will bring 26 of the world’s best wakeboarders to the Lake. sat down with some of this weekend’s riders to chat about the world of wakeboarding and what they expect from this year’s BROstock.

Reigning World Champion Harley Clifford talked about wakeboarding, Liquid Force, Australians, and legend status. As the reigning King of Wake, his technique and awesome style are second to none.

Tracie/LakeExpo: First, the basics: name, age and where you’re from?
Harley: Harley Clifford 19 and from Gold Coast Australia

Tracie/LakeExpo: The Australians are going huge as always. What does it feel like to be competing in the US and having Aussies dominate so many of the podiums?
Harley: It’s always awesome to be over in the US competing and I love sharing the podiums with other Aussies because they’re who I grew up with wakeboarding and learning tricks and whatnot with when I was back in Aus!

Tracie/LakeExpo: At what age did you grab your first handle?
Harley: I first wakeboarded when I was about 5 years old.

Tracie/LakeExpo: When did you realize that you wanted to pursue wakeboarding on a professional level?
Harley: I guess all my life. I grew up wakeboarding and living on the river so I just grew into it and naturally it was something I wanted to succeed at.

Tracie/LakeExpo: What are benefits to being a professional athlete? Any disadvantages?
Harley: Advantages are getting to travel to amazing places in the world, and hanging out with some of my best friends while I do it. Not ever having to work a real job. Doing what I love 24/7.
Disadvantages, none really haha.

Tracie/LakeExpo: Some say that you will go down in history as one of the greatest wakeboarders who ever lived. How does it feel to be among the same ranks as guys such as Bonifay, Murray and Shapiro?
Harley: Growing up, all I ever wanted to be was one of the greats so to be able to here that just feels amazing! I’m only 19 though so I feel I’m just getting started!

Tracie/LakeExpo: Sorry, but I have to mention MTV Wake Brothers. Combined with your killer showing at last year’s KOW and the exposure from MTV, you have become the biggest breakout star this sport has ever seen. What kind of pressure does that put on you both personally and on your riding?
Harley: I don’t really use it as pressure. It just drives me to push myself even further then that so I can continue trying to be the best!

Tracie/LakeExpo: What riders do you look up to the most? Who has had the most influence on your style?
Harley: Riders I look up to have been guys like Parks Bonifay, Danny Harf, Shaun Murray, and Shawn Watson. They are all such good riders and all ride so differently. I guess I never really tried to ride like those guys. I learned the tricks they can do then I just took it from there and tried to add my own flavor and tweaks to it

Tracie/LakeExpo: You have such a naturally fluid style. How are you able to maintain the style elements while throwing down such huge tech tricks?
Harley: Well I guess it just comes with practice. All I ever do is wakeboard all day everyday so once you have your tricks consistent it’s only another step from there to start grabbing and tweaking them in your own way or trying to go bigger on them.

Tracie/LakeExpo: The new wakeboarding boats throw such ridiculous wakes that you are stomping 10’s on a daily basis. How much bigger will someone be able to go? Is there a limit?
Harley: There’s no limit at all, the way the wakes are now people are going to start throwing 1260′s and all different types of double flips. Eventually the wakes are going to get even bigger and then from there who knows what will happen? Triple flips, 1440′s… all different types of stuff.

Tracie/LakeExpo: People come from all over the country for BROstock! What makes it such a special event?
Harley: BROstock is the most fun event of the season. All the best riders at a contest just going for it off double ups which isn’t something we do in contest very often. Plus the partying, the girls! It’s the best haha!

Tracie/LakeExpo: Who are your sponsors and do you have any advice to a young rider looking to get noticed?
Harley: Liquid force, Monster Energy, Mastercraft, Bodyglove, Oakley, Buywake.
Just have fun with it, don’t get frustrated! Asking if you’re having fun and are trying to push yourself and you will go far!

Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 5:00 pm | Updated: 3:47 am, Thu Jun 6, 2013.
By Tracie Thomson

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