On the jump ramp and in the dojo, June Fladborg is one tough opponent.
June Fladborg is one strong woman — both in body and mind. In fact, she's no less intimidated facing a monster fiberglass jump in a nasty tail wind than a steroid-crazed WWE Diva at the wrong time of the month. “I would use my elbows and knees,” says the three-time European jump champion on how she would defend herself from harm. “I wouldn't throw a punch at you — that's not my thing. I would move away from you and attack your soft spots until I slowly take you down.”
Fladborg's equally as serious about her Weng Chun Kung Fu training as she is about her skiing. “I like being able to protect myself,” she says. It's that same confidence that is responsible for almost a dozen major jump titles throughout her successful seven-year pro career, the most recent at the Moomba Masters this past March.
Despite her fierce nature on the water and in the dojo, Fladborg is about as sweet as they come. Her easygoing nature and warm heart are sure to win you over if you ever cross paths at a pro event. Just don't get on her bad side.
WaterSki: As a young girl born and raised in Denmark, how did you get involved in water skiing?
Fladborg: I was a national champion rock 'n' roll dancer, believe it or not. But my partner broke his back, so he couldn't throw me anymore. My mom didn't know what to do with me. Shortly after I lost my partner, there happened to be a summer school camp for kids down by the ocean close to where we lived in Niva. Water skiing was one of the activities. At the end of the week they had a fun tournament for the kids. Whoever could cross the wake the most times won a year's membership to the Niva Water Ski Club. Luckily, I won it.
WS: Did you excel quickly at skiing?
Fladborg: I guess so. I won the Nationals the first time I competed in the event, and it was also the first time I tried the slalom course.
WS: What is the Fighting Fladborg's main source of energy for those big leaps off the ramp?
Fladborg: I enjoy eating meat. A lot of meat — I love meat. I want it lean, though, very lean. I eat everything but pork. Porky pigs are really smart. They're the most intelligent animal we have. Ray [Stokes, Fladborg's coach] once had a pig as a pet … it was so cute. That pig would do anything you said. Oh, beans, too. They make me fart. I try to time it just right when I go off the ramp, like, whoa, it gives me that extra meter, you know [laughing].
WS: What's going through your head on a late cut to the jump ramp?
Fladborg: I'm like [screaming], “S@#*! F*@#!” But that's part of jumping. It's part of the adrenaline. When you feel that whip into the bottom, it's just an amazing feeling. To go big, you need to relax.
WS: Do adverse conditions affect your psyche come tournament time?
Fladborg: It doesn't worry me too much. I jumped close to 50 meters at a tournament at Jack Travers' earlier this year, and it was a bloody tail wind. The way I look at it — if everybody else is out there jumping in it, then I can do it too.
WS: Why did you become involved in Weng Chun Kung Fu?
Fladborg: Nowadays, there are such bad things that happen to people, like getting raped. There's a lot of that going on close to my hometown in Denmark. Sometimes I wish someone would come and grab me, so I can just kick the s*&% out of them. It gets me so angry that this happens.
WS: Are there any parallels between fighting and jumping?
Fladborg: There are, because you have to be fast on your feet and balanced. There's a lot of balance and coordination in fighting. It's definitely helped my jumping.
WS: Is it hard to fight in your boots?
Fladborg: I just try to stay low and bend my knees. I stand still and wait for people to come to me and then I just kick them in the balls, or the shins. If they get close enough, then I'll put my fingers in their eyes. Whatever it takes.