Liam Whaley kicked ass
Liam Whaley definitely kicked ass at the Red Bull King of the Air! He started the competition as a wildcard, became sick on finals day but ended up with a silver medal. We asked him all about his preparations, expectations and how he managed to reach the finals while being sick.
Two weeks before the start of the KOTA you heard you could participate in the competition. What did you expect?
''I actually got the news 10 days before and I was training freestyle in Brazil at that time. My first response was sadness. I felt bad for Nick Jacobsen because I knew how important KOTA was to him. My second thought was, alright I have to consider whether the exposure of this event is worth the risk you have to take. After a day I decided to go for it, changed my flights, flew back to Spain, picked up some gear and flew to Cape Town in a period of three days. When I sign up for an event I go for gold. I knew all odds were against me but I definitely believed in myself.''
Did you benefit from being a freestyler during the competition?
''Definitely. The technical skills and body awareness that freestylers have is crazy. The tricks we do are not as high as big air tricks, which means we have to do all our movements in a way shorter period of time and I think that background helped me progress and improvise during the comp.''
You started the day sick, how (the hell ;)) did you reach the finals?
''Wow, I woke up with a fever and an infected throat the day of the competition. The day before I was at the hospital and I told the doctor that I needed to compete, so he prescribed me some pain killers and other medicine to get me through the day. To be honest what I think really got me through to the final was the crowd on the beach. I could feel their energy in every trick I performed.''
Do you think you're going to join the KOTA next year?
''100%. This event gave me a feeling I've never had before. Now I have time to train for it so I know I can do well next year.''