5 Things wakesurfers can learn from Olympic Silver Medalist Kelsey Serwa

Kelsey Serwa is a hometown hero in Kelowna, British Columbia, but the leading lady around the world for Ski Cross. She is the Canadian National Champion, World Champion, X-Games gold medalist, and now an Olympic Silver Medalist! This past summer Kelsey was introduced to wakesurfing through Tige dealer Seca Marine and Okanagan Valley’s wakesurf school, Surf Kelowna. “We met up with Kelsey on Wood Lake last summer and asked her if she wanted to try to wakesurf. We got the Z3 pumping out a big wave, and being the natural athlete that she is, she picked it up right away,” said Kris Krillick of Seca Marine.

“Wakesurfing is so much fun,” said Kelsey. She laughed and added, “I’m definitely still an amateur level wakesurfer, but it’s absolutely something that I can’t wait to try again this coming summer behind a Tige.”

While Ski Cross and Wakesurfing are on total opposite ends of the spectrum, we learned a lot from our talk with Kelsey. Athletes of both sports have passion, nerves, frustrations, and the desire to be the best athlete possible. Here are five things you can learn from Kelsey Serwa to make this season your best one yet.


Kelsey is going into off-season while us surfers are now getting ready to compete. During off-season, Kelsey focuses on training not only her body, but also her mind. She trains regularly with her strength and conditioning trainer, Craig Hill, along with seeing a sports psychologist. “At this elite level of a sport, everyone is strong, motivated and skilled. I personally feel that races can be won or lost based on mental toughness. That’s why strengthening my mind has been just as beneficial as strengthening my body.”


Frustration happens to all of us and can be the most damaging emotion for our careers. Kelsey tells us to use our frustration in a productive way. “Don’t let it get you down. Use it to motivate you to get back up on your skis or board and try again. If you need to take a break or call it a day, do it. Just never, ever give up.”


“For racing, I find I need to be physically activated, but mentally calm. Before each race, I set up a game plan and break down the course into sections. Each section of the track has a very simple and concise mental focus. I use key words to summarize my focal points for each section so I can race in the moment and adapt to any chaos that may be occurring around me.”


Most of us could not even fathom the amount of pressure and nerves that we would feel if we were competing in the Olympics. Kelsey found success by approaching the Games just like she does every other contest. “The secret is to keep everything the same. I feel it would be silly to change my process that has been tried and true for so many years.”

The same goes for wakesurfing. As our moms have always told us, “practice makes perfect.” Learn your routine, perfect your tricks, and then lay it down in competition.


“My biggest advice to young athletes is to put your heart and soul into the things you love. Your passion will be reflected in your work and others will feel that.”