It looks like Nanoose Bay’s Emma McNichol has taken to water sports, like, well, a duck to water actually.
“I love it, I really do,” the easy going teen confirmed with a big smile when The News caught up with her at their family run business where she helps out, CPI Pumps and Irrigation, which is in keeping with the water theme.
The 17-year-old carved out three silver medals at the BC Summer Games, finishing second out of a tough field numbering some six competitors in each event — wakeboarding, trick skiing, and ski jumping, and helped Zone 6 win gold in the towed watersports team standings in impressive fashion.
Great results for sure, especially in light of the fact she only got her feet wet in the sport three years ago — 2010 was her first year with the Sproat Lake Water Sports Association.
The Zone 6 towed water Sports team was coached by Mike Doughty from Port Alberni and made up of 11 Island athletes. Venue for the events was Albert Dyck Park in Abbotsford.
According to a post on viwake.wordpres.com “Vancouver Island wakeboarding is a growing sport,” adding that even though it is a male-dominated sport, “luckily we now have Emma McNichol pushing the way for the new generation of female riders.”
Zone 6 sent a towed water sports team of 11 — there were four girls, (two skiers and two wakeboarders), and seven boys. McNichol was the only Oceanside athlete on the team.
Summer Games’ rules are such that athletes are only allowed to compete twice from the ages of 10-18.
McNichol, 17, is heading into her senior year at Ballenas Secondary School, and said she had a blast in her debut.
“It was a lot of fun. Definitely a lot of people and not very much sleep.”
She competed in Wakeboard on the Friday, trick skiing on Saturday, and ski jumping, which is brand new to her, on the Sunday.
“I had never really ski jumped before; I started two days before summer games … that was very unexpected.”
Also unexpected was her nailing a 33 foot jump to secure a silver medal.
“It was really cool,” she laughed in modest wonder.
“I’m definitely not a skier, so it was a lot of fun.”
McNichol also picked up a gold medal as part of the TWS’ first place team in their event. Zone 6 (Vancouver Island — Central Coast) dominated team standings, amassing 2,210 points. Zone 3 (Fraser Valley) took silver with 990 points, while Zone 5 (Vancouver-Squamish) won bronze with 870 points.
McNichol also plays volleyball and also laces up for the Parksville Rage U18 Rep Girls softball team that just finished fifth in the province the weekend before the Summer Games .
“The Games were a great time — we had a good showing,” confirmed coach Doughty, and agreed “Emma’s a natural athlete and she took to wakeboarding and ski jumping — she’s awesome at it.”
“She’s driven, and she’s not scared, which is a big part of wakeboarding,” he said, pointing out, “I taught her to ski jump the week beforer the Summer Games — she’d only landed one,” he chuckled, then made the point the team also had another first-timer at ski-jumping, “a guy who’s a year older, and she beat him.”
McNichol is now ramping up for the wakeboard provincials (at Sproat Lake) in two weeks, “and I’m also on Team BC for wakeboarding, so I’ll also be attending some camps.”