By Jessie Meyers Moore ’10
Jen Hettler ’02 has always lived near water: from Silver Lake, where childhood summers were spent wakeboarding with her family; to Seneca Lake, where she studied as a William Smith student; to Jacksonville, Fla., where she currently splits her time between a full-time career in advertising and one as a professional wakeskater.
Wakeskating, a water sport akin to skateboarding in which the skater uses a board covered in grip tape to do kickflips, shuvits, and other skate tricks, historically has been a male-dominated sport. But Hettler and her fellow female wakeskaters are helping to change that. Last year, Hettler competed in The Wakeskate Tour’s first women’s division, armed with “the general kind of confidence and ‘you can do anything’ attitude” that was fostered at HWS.
“There’s a lot going for female wakeskating,” Hettler says. “We practice together to ride better and prove that women are supposed to be here.” This year, the four-stop Wakeskate Tour will take her around Florida and into Georgia, and will be more eco-friendly, swapping the traditional boat or PWC used to pull the wakeskaters for a cable system.
When she’s not out on the Pottsburg Creek or the Intracoastal Waterway, Hettler works as a media planning supervisor at an advertising agency, where she leads a team of media planners and buyers.
“I’ve had so many amazing experiences in wakeskating, but I could never make a job out of it. I followed a career path that has fortunately allowed me to pursue wakeskating and also work full time,” she says. “The challenge of doing something new, of sticking a new trick, the energy of being out there, riding with other people—it’s a combination of everything that keeps me doing it.”