WSM: Let’s start with our typical interview questions. What’s your name, where are you from, and how long have you been wakesurfing?
Caro: Caroline Villeneuve (but I go by Caro) I was born and raised in Chambly Quebec, Canada. I currently live in Elko BC, Canada. I have been wakesurfing since 2007.
WSM: Prior to wakesurfing, were you doing any other towed watersports?
Caro: I learned wakeboarding in my 20s and competed in that sport for a few years. Once I started wakesurfing, wakeboarding fell to the side and I still enjoy the sport but my passion is definitely wakesurfing.
WSM: Take us back to when you were starting out, can you recall the first time you experienced wakesurfing? What lake were you on and were you immediately hooked or did that come with time?
Caro: I first started on the Richelieu River in Quebec, the water was really rough (too rough to wakeboard) so we tried wakesurfing instead. It was really fun but it took me a few more times before I got hooked.
WSM: Once you could drop the rope and surf, what was the first trick you learned and how long did it take you to get it?
Caro: I learned to ride switch very quickly as I was learning the sport (Thanks to Dom Lagacé) which allowed me to learn the half cab as one of my first tricks, and it didn’t take me too long to get it.
WSM: We noticed that you always wear a hat while riding, is there a story as to how that became your signature look?
Caro: I wear the hat to protect my eyes from the sun, I never put much thought into “my look” but I guess you are right! When I first started wakesurfing, I had just had laser eye corrective surgery and my eyes were very sensitive to the sunlight. The hat also helps to keep my hair out of my face while riding.
WSM: Do you have a ballpark idea of how many hats you’ve lost in the water?
Caro: I don’t remember actually losing a hat while riding and not finding it back, although I lost one once driving along the freeway trying to take a picture of a truck driving by with the logo “Sasquatch Research” (true story).
WSM: How did you get into the competitive side of wakesurfing? Was that your goal from the start? Or, did your progression just naturally push you towards competition?
Caro: It was never my goal starting out, but the wakeschool I was wakeboarding with at the time was organizing an event so I competed in my first event within a few weeks from starting to wakesurf. By the following year, I really got hooked on the sport and competing was a way to get inspired by other riders.
WSM: You’re predominantly a skim style rider but do you ever ride surf?
Caro: I have ridden surf style a bit a few years ago and actually placed 1st once, but I’m definitely much better at coaching it than riding it. In Canada, the summers are so short I kinda had to focus on just one type of board.
WSM: In 2017 you competed in the World Wakesurf Championship and placed 2nd in the Pro Women’s Skim Division. How much fun was the event and what’s it like being in a final against the best ladies from around the world?
Caro: The venue was awesome and it was the first time the event was held in Canada, so I was really stoked for that. Since my first Worlds in Pro Women Skim in 2012, I had the pleasure to see several venues and share the podium with a lot of very talented athletes. Last year was definitely one of my favorite venues and finishing second behind an awesome rider like Jodi Grassman is like coming in first place for me. I am always so grateful to ride with such an inspiring group of female athletes.
WSM: Tell us about H2O School. When did it start and what all do you offer?
Caro: H2O School Ltd. is my pride and joy, it has always been a dream of mine to bring my passion for wakesurfing to my home in the Rocky Mountains! We were incorporated in 2011 and since then we have been steadily growing and expanding our services. We offer wakesurf lessons, boat driving instruction, hourly charters, and surf camps. New this summer, we are very excited to offer Flyboard lessons. Life on the lake is a little slice of paradise and I couldn’t be happier to turn my passion into a successful business.
WSM: Can you tell us a little about your sponsors? What’s your current equipment setup?
Caro: I feel so grateful to be on the CENTURION BOATS Team for the past 8 years. I have an SV244 which I love and I might just keep it forever. I am also so lucky to get another brand new RI237 again this year which really helps me to push my riding to the next level.
Luckily, I have the best dealer I could wish for! ABSOLUT WATERSPORTS not only do they have the best products but they also have the very best service and really truly care about their customers.
I have been part of the INLAND SURFER team and have been for the last 8 years and have had my pro-model board with them the “Caro” board since 2013.
For the past 4 years, BODY GLOVE has been gearing me with the best wetsuits and life jackets, the cutest bikinis and a variety of clothing which I love. When living in Canada and riding in cold water, quality wetsuits are a must!
I am sponsored by WAKEBALLAST for a second year now, who always make sure to help me pimp up my wake and support me in my competitions.
COMMIT SNOW & SKATE is an awesome local shop we have in Fernie where I can find everything I need for my off-season training and extra clothing!
I am excited to have BB TALKIN USA as my most recent sponsor who has provided me with the coolest new products on the market for better communication between coaches and student riders. With state of the art wireless Bluetooth technology, I can now speak to my students through their headsets while they ride, maximizing the time on the water.
WSM: If you could take one celebrity wakesurfing with you who would it be and why?
Caro: Xavier Rudd. He’s a surfer, I love his music and think he’s probably just a super chill guy to hang out with. Xavier, if you’re reading this… open invitation buddy!
WSM: If you had your choice of music when riding, what would it be?
Caro: I like all genres and types of music (except maybe death metal) and I love to ride to anything that has a good beat and gets you feeling pumped.
WSM: Where would you like to see wakesurfing go in the future?
Caro: I would like to see the sport growing in popularity in other countries and worldwide. I really enjoy traveling internationally and have participated in events in places like Switzerland, Russia, Mexico and this summer for the first, Japan! There is such an amazing boost to the sport when you have different types of people coming together.
WSM: Do you have any advice for newcomers that are looking to advance their riding?
Caro: Take your time to learn and master the basics first before moving on to other more difficult maneuvers. Also, participating in a range of events really helps you connect with other riders and see new styles. (Or you can always come book a lesson at H2O School, *wink wink)
WSM: What other tricks are you personally working on? Anything you feel like lettings us know about?
Caro: I honestly have been focusing less and less on my own advancements and really spend a lot of my attention focused on building the H2O School Team riders and coaching the new talent coming up in the world of wakesurfing. The kids coming up behind me these days are SO good and progressing so quickly that I am constantly inspired every time.
WSM: Do you have anyone you’d like to thank?
Caro: Oh my gosh, so many people! I’d like to thank my partner and “other half” Ben Stokie, who’s always been supporting me. It might sounds cliche but I definitely have to thank my parents, Roch and Francine Villeneuve for always believing in me and helping me achieve my goals. Huge thanks to J-R Bertrand, Dom Lagace, Chase Hazen, Sean Cummings and Keenan Flegel who inspired me to follow my dreams, especially earlier in my career when I was just getting started. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the support of all my awesome sponsors. I only endorse products that I truly believe in, so I strongly recommend to go check them out! I also want to thank all my students and the new H2O School Team Riders, you guys always keep me excited. I am so proud of our young athletes, YOU GUYS ROCK!
WSM: Would you like to plug any social media?
We want to thank Caro for giving WSM her time and we look forward to seeing more of her as she continues to progress in her career and push wakesurfing into the future!