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EP20: Ski Talk with Manon Costard (Part 1)

EP20: Ski Talk with Manon Costard (Part 1)

Interviewer: Matteo Luzzeri
Published on The Water Ski Podcast
Released on March 3, 2020
Transcribed by Sasha Danisheuskaya, Andrew Hopkins, Matteo Ianni, Langley Korepanov, and Kevin Roundhill


Manon Costard 0:00
So yes, time to ski and I go, I do my first pass, do my first pass and like, well “you did better than, you know, in 2017 at least there's that, you know, you didn’t fall on your first buoy in the finals!” So I was like “Okay, well, that's fine.” And then, so I start at 14, 13, 12, right before 11 I am in the water and when I look around, it's cool. Like, it could be the last. You know, “It could be an important memory for you just, you know, it's a big deal.” And so I have that picture in my mind now of when I was sitting in the water before going to 11 and you know, Regina had done 3 at 10.75, so it was a big score. And I was like “Alright, just breathe in and take time to remember this”.
Matteo Luzzeri 1:19
All right, welcome back to the Water Ski Podcast - Episode 20. Crazy to think about that, you know: we've already done 20 of these. But it's cool. It's been very well received. And it's been a pleasure, so why not continue? Today's episode is with Manon Costard. The current world champion in slalom, a dear friend, and I think one of the most interesting and ambassador-like figures in our sport. Manon is a super competitor, obviously the world champion but also has won the Masters. And she's really one of the most competitive competitors that you'll see out there on the water on the pro tour. She'll say a lot of times in the interview "just go in and don't let go". And I think that's a good statement of her commitment to the sport, her commitment to being the best athlete that she can be. And certainly the force to reckon with right now. Just, you know, simple as that, if you're World Champion, you have that target on your back. But anyway, super cool to share this first part of a two-part interview. And here Manon shares about her journey, like many other guests, how she got into the sport, some of her early tournaments and growing up and really been an overall skier until not too long ago and then noticing, like it often happens that shift between “okay, this is my event now” and “now this is my event”. And for her, slalom actually was the last one in the process. But I won't spoiler too much. I'm just so stoked that Manon decided to sit down with me and chat. She is someone that I really respect in the sport. And it was just a true pleasure, true pleasure. Before we jump into that, I just wanted to give a few shout outs. There has been a lot of podcasting going on in water skiing, which I think is really cool. Naturally, this is the Water Ski Podcast, so any podcast about water skiing, I'm going to geek out on and spread the word. So for those of you that are not aware about this, obviously Marcus Brown has his FlowPoint TV on YouTube, but he also has a podcast on Apple Podcasts where he basically has all the interviews that he has been doing and has done over the years. So you can look, FlowPoint podcast on Apple podcasts. Now there's also Distance From Center. This is done by John Horton from Ball of Spray and Trent Finlayson and you can find that on the Ball of Spray website on the top right corner you can see DFC so you can click there and see their episodes about whatever topic they have in mind that week. And now a brand new podcast just launched yesterday called Spray Makers. So here is Chris Rossi and Trent Finlayson, from what appears to happen going really deep into some ski stuff. So they just started their first episode yesterday. I listened to it, I highly recommend it. Very, very well done episode. So go and check it out. And yeah, so, don't limit yourself to the Water Ski Podcast, go out and listen to what the other people are doing as well. And then finally, just a quick reminder, if you have partaken into the Thomas Gustafsson awesomeness picture printing raffle Apple podcast contest. We'll be raffling the winner tomorrow on Instagram Live at 3pm. So March 4 at 3pm Florida time 9pm European time, get online and see who wins a nice print of Thomas Degasperi’s Saturn picture signed by Thomas Gustafson. Okay, pretty long intro. Let's jump into the interview. Enjoy.


Matteo Luzzeri 5:55
All right, Manon. Welcome to The Water Ski Podcast. Nice to have you here. How are you doing?
Manon Costard 6:01
Thank you. I'm good. Really good. Excited to be on the podcast. It's exciting.
Matteo Luzzeri 6:09
Well I'm stoked to have you here for sure. We are here at The Boarding School. We're recording this, what is it? February, mid to late February. What's going on with you? Are you skiing?
Manon Costard 6:19
Yeah I'm skiing, just started back, mid-January to train for Moomba again. So yeah, just step by step. The beginning of the season's always a bit hard so, taking your time and trying to be patient and hoping that I can be sort of ready for Moomba.
Matteo Luzzeri 6:37
Okay, well I saw you ski yesterday, you seem to me like you're pretty ready. Have you been skiing in Florida? Sort of like getting ready here?
Manon Costard 6:45
Yeah, yeah. So I came back on the 13th of January back to Florida. I had done a month back at home to take a good break and see a bit of the cold and the snow and the family and friends. And yes, back to Florida, skiing at The Boarding School and nice and training. It's great, with the lakes no matter how windy it is, you're always gonna have a good lake to ski on and just the conditions … It skis amazing. So, very cool to be here.
Matteo Luzzeri 7:18
Good, good. Well, we're gonna kick us off with the usual question. How'd you get into skiing?
Manon Costard 7:24
Well, I got into skiing thanks to my family. I think it's the same story for a lot of people. It was mainly my dad, we would go to camping sites on a big mountain lake in the French Alps. And we'd spend the summers there we had that caravan. It was a club for skiers so everyone had their boats, they had their caravans and you just hang out and go and ski and it's a beautiful, beautiful place. So I have amazing memories from there. And I actually started skiing with Marion Aynaud over there, our dads were good friends and so they took the habit of skiing together. And so we started both of us skiing together. And it was funny, I actually had the chance to have my first set recorded on video and I saw it not so long ago, and I'm just you know, on the on my skis and super excited just jumping around and like a big smile on my face and I'm three years old and you know, just having a good time and, and loving it. So yeah, that's how I started with my dad loving it. I mean, I was born and he, after I was maybe two weeks old, he'd grab my legs and try to make them move as much as possible to make sure that they're working good. You know, to be an athlete of some sport. He was big into snow skiing and water skiing. So I started with doing both. And I loved both and I just, you know, had some opportunities to be going to Nationals in water skiing when I was seven, the young category. So I started getting into that more competitive circle in water skiing and when I was just 10 to 11, they took me in the first National Team to go to my first Europeans. So it went really quickly. But yeah, at first, it was just completely for fun, skiing. You know, my parents never did any tournaments. It was just purely recreational. And yeah, just just having fun on the water with the family and friends. And that's how I that's how I got into it.
Matteo Luzzeri 9:50
So while you started competing pretty soon. A couple of questions: Did you leave snow skiing
aside or did you keep doing it?
Manon Costard 10:03
I kept doing it but very recreationally, you know it when I was going every weekend when I was little for a little while and being in a club and but yeah it pretty quickly went to skiing instead of snow skiing
Matteo Luzzeri 10:18
Okay, because (also connected to that because it started competing so young) Do you still… It sounds like you have good memories of this just “fun at the lake with dad” just skiing for fun. Did you carry that through? Or was it like “okay now I compete and that's what I do”? Man-made lake, serious serious…
Manon Costard 10:41
Yeah, well, it was a bit of a hard one.
It definitely started it was just, you know, fun and family. And then quickly I got in with a coach. It was actually my dad's snow ski coach. That was part of the water ski Federation and I ended up water skiing with him. And so quickly I was being coached and trying to be a bit more serious. And so it was, it was still fun, but it became a bit more of ‘Okay, if you don't feel like doing it, you're still gonna go because you're training’ So, there was a bit more of a push. Probably when I started being like, yeah, 10, 11 when I started going to those European Championships, it was like, okay, you need to, you need to go for it. And, it was good. You know, it's, I think it's really hard for parents to know when to push or IF to push. To me, it was really helpful because I don't think I would be here if I wasn't pushed at the times that I didn't feel like training because, you know, sometimes it's cold you just want to go and have fun with your friends or whatever. And not go and train, I was tricking for like for 30-40 minutes in the cold, that's not really necessarily the thing that you want to do. But so yeah, so I'm definitely happy I was pushed, but I can imagine how hard it is to balance that. Yeah keep the fun for your kid but at the same time you want them to use their abilities and become as good as they can and not you know, let go of something that could be good for them just because they're a bit lazy at some point.
Matteo Luzzeri 12:33
Yeah. No, It makes sense. When you started skiing with this new coach, were your parents, like, heavily involved or were they more like okay, this is your coach and skiing is down to him. How was that transition?
Manon Costard 12:53
They definitely left it down to him. Okay, you're gonna ski with him. If you're skiing with him, he's taking care of it. And we're not going to get in between because that kind of keeps the coach from really doing his job. But then my mom was still involved. She was taking me to, you know, obviously all the tournaments and she would pin for me, so she would still spend time in the boat. And she was still there. She didn't stop looking out after my skiing. So it was a bit of both, but definitely when I was training with this coach, at least at first; they would let him do his job and they will not be behind my back non stop.
Matteo Luzzeri 13:38
Which I think is good. Right? And I've had a chance to talk to other guests about how maybe nowadays that's not the case. If you have a bit of over involved parents you know? I think that certainly was a good thing that you had going on. You had no choice.
Manon Costard 13:54
I had no choice but I was lucky for sure. Because, yeah, it would be a bit too hard to deal with. If your parents showed that you had no choice too much, I think it would make you back off a little bit and not want to invest so much in the sport.
Matteo Luzzeri 14:10
It's hard, right? Like you already said it. You already said how hard it will be for a parent to decide when to push and not to push. Now imagine they're also involved in your own skiing. It becomes super complicated, you know? So, okay, so 10-11 years old, first European Championship.
Manon Costard 14:30
Yeah. And so that coach that I was skiing with was really big into tricking. So really big into teaching me the right way of tricking. It was a lot of repetition of the same movements and things like that. And I ended up winning the European Championships under 14 when I was 10 to 11.
Matteo Luzzeri 14:56
WHAT?! I didn’t know this. I mean, I remember you obviously being a great tricker, but I didn't know you were that great, that young.
Manon Costard 15:01
Yeah, I was really good, very young. And then when it started coming to having to do flips, I was freaked out. I was terrified of having to throw a flip. So it kind of put a bit of a stop to my trick skiing. Just because Iris was showing up and she was pushing really hard. She was amazing in tricks and I was just taking a bit more time to keep on improving. So yeah, my first two years I was not even 12 yet and I won my first two Europeans in tricks.
Matteo Luzzeri 15:41
What scores? Give me an idea of the trick scores?
Manon Costard 15:41
My very first one. I think I did 4650.
Matteo Luzzeri 15:49
So we're talking about like, line threes, line fives.
Manon Costard 15:55
Yeah, line five back, line back to back. Line width back to back and stuff like that. Yeah. And then fives.
Matteo Luzzeri 16:05
Which is funny nowadays I've seen other trickers doing a few, not many, line back to backs. And to me I've always thought, are you just delaying the flip? You know what I mean?
Manon Costard 16:19
That was exactly the case. And I love those tricks. I was so terrified. I mean, the people that were training me must have been going crazy because I spent sets and sets just doing wake jumps and they were like, okay, throw it! And I wouldn’t. And I wouldn't, and I wouldn't, and I wouldn't. I would spend hours doing that. It must have killed them.
Matteo Luzzeri 16:43
But eventually you learned them.
Manon Costard 16:44
Yeah, eventually I learned them and the top of my trick skiing career, I did, I think 7600 - around there. So I had two regular flips and then back landing and back to front in the run. And then one time; only one time I landed a back to back mobe; in training. I was really happy then, but it never made it to the run.
Matteo Luzzeri 17:16
Yeah, one time wonder doesn’t make it to the run?
Manon Costard 17:18
No, no.
Matteo Luzzeri 17:20
Do you remember the set that you landed your first flip?
Manon Costard 17:24
Well, actually I don't think I do.
I don't think I do. I should definitely because it must have been such a big step. But I don't Yeah, I don't.
Matteo Luzzeri 17:38
So you said you would not throw it? Was it like once you got over the hump of like actually throwing the ski behind you then you learn it quickly? Or even then it was like, long process?
Manon Costard 17:49
Well, so I didn't learn it the right way I don't think because it was never my best flip. It was much more easy for me to do a back to front or back landing. Regular flip, I would land on my bum but, once I threw it then it was fine. I wasn't afraid anymore. And I don't know how long it took me but it wasn't such a long time. It was just the fear. I don't know why I had like I was blocked. I was afraid of having my head upside down. And yeah, I don’t know..
Matteo Luzzeri 18:21
Yeah, I think it's just one of those things in tricks where it's just like a new movement, that is nothing compared to what you've done. Right? And then you have to get over that hump. Like when I interviewed Adam and Cory, Adam spoke from a lens of how he was already a 10,000 point tricker, but it took him like two or three years to learn a front flip. They say it’s just, like, a completely different thing. And I had no clue, you know? There are just some of those times.
Manon Costard 18:47
Yeah, you have those things that you just don’t feel comfortable with. And I'm sure you just start overthinking it and it just hurts it and, you know, you're in a bad circle where you're just hurting it more and more.
Matteo Luzzeri 19:00
Well I feel I can relate to you because I feel our PBs are very similar. 7980.
Manon Costard
Ow, You beat me!
Matteo Luzzeri
Yeah, yeah it wasn’t pretty, trust me. And it took me three years to learn my first flip. And I learned it with Kiko Buzzotta at Degasperi’s lake, basically skiing next to him, which was really cool. He said, “Okay, you've been trying it.” I never had the fear of throwing it but I just couldn't do it, you know, like for years. And in the meantime, Nicholas learned six, like, we were studying learning flips together, and he learned six. It was bad. And then what helped me was like, we skied it together. And he said, “Okay, try to look at it from here.” And after three tries, I sort of landed it. Major celebration, you know, it was cool. It's one of those cool moments, you know?
Manon Costard 19:50
Yeah, I can imagine that was really cool. Just seeing it from a different perspective, you kind of understand it better. Actually how to set where Clem Lucine did that for me, she showed me how to because I could land it but it was just a bad flip. So she just went on the water with me and showed it to me and just in front of me. It's cool. It didn't fix my flip. But it was cool.
Matteo Luzzeri 20:14
Yeah, no, it's it's funny how in tricks like you eventually start thinking very creatively, right? Like you're like, “Okay, how are we going to get to this?” So we start as a trick skier. Right? And obviously right now you're a slalom skier. When did slalom start to become... I don't want to say prevalent...but when did you start seeing that slalom was getting better and better?
Manon Costard 20:39
Well, honestly pretty late. And I was lucky to have really good coaches. I saw that the first I got to train with was really big into tricking. So that's, you know, that was why I think I was better at tricking at first. And then I started skiing with Damian Akerer. Amazing three discipline coach and he really helped me develop my overall. So really motivating in trick, jump and slalom. And actually, before slalom taking over, jump took over tricks and I was never that amazing at slalom. When I was doing tournaments, I would do good in training and I would always fight and never really let go. But in tournaments I could just, you know, fall on my second pass. At Europeans, it was just not great. So, I just ended up liking jumping quite a lot. Got motivated and I won the Junior World Championships in jump in 2008.
Matteo Luzzeri 21:55
There you go. Where were they?
Manon Costard 21:58
Peru. Yeah, actually Jacinta was skiing and I'm super proud!
Matteo Luzzeri
That you beat Jacinta at Junior Worlds! Dude, that’s big!
Manon Costard
Yeah, she's much younger so that's the reason. But yeah, it's a funny thing because she's obviously the most amazing female jumper that you've seen in skiing and and so yeah, it's my little pride. So yeah, so I went from trick skiing to overall skiing and mostly jump. And then little by little, same thing, you know, depending on the coaches that I had and the year that I had, I ended up winning the Europeans Open Championships in slalom in 2011. And that was the first time I ever ran 10.75m, no sorry, 11.25m. And that was at that tournament, and I did two at 10.75m and it was the best set of my life. I was super excited. And, yeah, for the girls there was Nicole Arthur, Anais Amade, Claire Lise Welter… And they were skiing after me and I guess they were not expecting me to run into 39. It was my PB at 3 buoys. So, yeah, so anyway, so that's kind of the point where I was like, okay, I can run 11. And I was so excited to have become European champion. And so I started getting a bit more serious about slalom skiing and I was already serious before that, but it really boosted my motivation, I guess.
Matteo Luzzeri 23:45
So 2008 World Junior Champion in slalom, and so you were like, 20 when you won Europeans?
Manon Costard 23:57
Yeah, well, I was 20. Yeah. 2011.
Matteo Luzzeri 24:00
Wow, that's young for an event that technically wasn't yours.
Manon Costard 24:04
Yeah. Well, it was slowly becoming my main event, but it was not yet for sure. I was more of an overall skier. I was going there to ski for the team and I was good in all three, but I was definitely there. No one was expecting me to do good like that in slalom for sure.
Matteo Luzzeri 24:27
Did you place in overall at those Europeans?
Manon Costard 24:29
Um, yes, I came second.
Matteo Luzzeri 24:33
Wow. Second overall. First in slalom. That's a strong showing, you know, it's awesome.
Manon Costard 24:39
Yeah, it was a good tournament. It was a really good year for me, and actually, it was my, I think last Europeans in under 21 because the ones after were...I think it was in South Africa or something. So I ended up not going and it was in Sesena. Yeah, and I remember, I won slalom, jump overall, and I placed second or third in tricks. So it was a crazy year for me. It was really, really cool. Really cool year that just got me. Okay, I need to get serious, and well I was already obviously serious, but was really good motivation to continue and keep trying.
Matteo Luzzeri 25:22
I think, and we'll get to more recent achievements later on but, I think it's probably one of the reasons why you've been so successful because you didn't see that as like, okay, I've made it, but you saw Okay, what's next? What's next? You know, and that's that's, that's important for an athlete, you know?
Manon Costard 25:42
Yeah. I was always like that just trying to push more and more and not really being satisfied with what I was doing in training. I was being really hard on myself. So I really needed coaches that were patient but positive. Because I was already negative enough for you know, I was critical and, and critical - I would be hard and tough on myself so I needed someone to motivate me and to be you know make it more fun because if not I would just you know, go have too much wish to do better and never really be satisfied with what was going.
Matteo Luzzeri 26:25
Yeah kind of like always seen what really didn't work and not really noticing what worked and you know, having someone to help you notice that something is actually going well, right?
Manon Costard 26:34
Yeah, exactly. That was the kind of coach that I needed.
Matteo Luzzeri 26:39
Let's go back to Europeans 2011, you win slalom. Tell us where it was, how you were seeded. Give us a bit of the story.
Manon Costard 26:46
So it was in Norway. It was freezing.
Matteo Luzzeri 26:51
Yes, it was. I remember that Europeans.
Manon Costard 26:53
It was really cold. I can't remember exactly where I was seeded but, definitely not at the end. I was not a part of the best skiers at the time. Not consistently at least. And every tournament I do and I think I've always been like that, I don't really think about what other people have done. What scores I need to do, who I need to beat. I just, I'm on the water for myself and I try, and focus, and like, ‘Okay, I'm gonna give 100%’.And I'm going to do what I know how to do, you know what to do best. And, try and surpass myself more than trying to focus on beating anyone. So it's more of just like in training more of a competition with myself.
Matteo Luzzeri 27:52
Which our sport allows you to do. Right We have buoys, we have time in tricks. We have meters like you can do that, actually.
Manon Costard 28:01
Yeah. I love that because you don't have to - doesn't have to be about anyone else. It can just be, my goal is to be as good as I think I can be. And I'm gonna try and do everything I do for that. So yeah, so for those Europeans, I had no pressure, because I have already skied well and overall, I had done my job for the team. I was like, Okay, well, you're here. You know, it was my second Open Europeans. So like, yeah, practice, those girls are amazing. Just do whatever you can do and don't let go. And I guess I skied pretty well, I skied the best I had ever had skied, you know? And yeah, it was definitely really focused and I knew that I could run 11. I had been doing it in training. And I remember the night before I was in my bed and kind of, you know, picturing myself skiing. And really, you know, yeah I think I can ski well really seeing it in my mind. And then on the dock I was just like, Okay, well go for it and and I did and it worked out really well. It was really really happy. Just coming out of the water. You know, I don't think I was even on the podium. Yeah, there was no, I had no clue.
Matteo Luzzeri 29:25
A lot of skiers left
Manon Costard 29:25
So happy. Yeah, I think it was at least Nicole, Claire Lise, and Anais left, and I was so happy just because it was my PB and I had done it at Europeans. It was so cool. And so it was happiness of having skied well for myself right away. So that was really cool. It was a big moment for me.
Matteo Luzzeri 29:45
Ya know, as it should. So you said you find yourself like visualizing, your day after? Do you visualize a lot even to this day, like do you use imagery to see your performances?
Manon Costard 30:01
I fail in my preparation for tournaments. In the fact that I only do it right before finals most of the time. I should definitely do it more often. Sometimes before the prelims too, but I don't do it ever when I'm training. If I do it is because I haven't skied in forever or it's because I'm really trying to figure something out and working on a very specific movement or something like that.
Matteo Luzzeri 30:36
You want to see it, you want to feel it yeah?
Manon Costard 30:39
Yeah and try to or if I'm really struggling I'm going to try and think about it and see where it's going wrong and try and for it to play freely in my mind before I go on the water. And yeah, it has a huge importance in high skiing tournaments. And I should have pushed out a little bit more than that.
Matteo Luzzeri 31:02
Yeah. No, it's, I mean, it's one of the mental skills that athletes use and I think in skiing is, especially because we don't get to do a lot of reps. I talked about it with Marcus all the time. Like, even if you're in your best physical shape, how many sets you're gonna do two, maybe three sets a day? I mean, you know, it's not like golf, where you can go in the driving range and throw 1000 balls to work on your swing, we don't have that in skiing..
Manon Costard 31:31
No for sure. You have to find other ways to be able to practice all of this. This time that you're sitting here and kind of trying to recover from your sets on the water and you can't keep training. So yeah, for sure. It's a great tool to use.
Matteo Luzzeri 31:50
Now, sorry, little parentheses, obviously I'm a sports psychology student. I was curious. All right, and tell me, that sounded like your first big winning slalom. Right. Europeans are generally in the summer. 2011 there was Worlds. Was that before after worlds, you remember?
Manon Costard 32:15
It was before under 21 worlds.
Matteo Luzzeri 32:19
Okay, so you know, there was also Dubna that year 2011
Manon Costard 32:24
Wasn't it 2010?
Matteo Luzzeri 32:27
No, ‘11. How was the rest of the year? Like were you riding on a high? What was that feeling after winning Europeans?
Manon Costard 32:36
It was the end of my season. I actually had the under 21 Worlds in Meuzac. And I was exhausted. Because I had done those under 21 Europeans in Sesena and then I went to Dubna and then I went to Norway. So, it was a lot of tournaments in a row in which I had done really well. And I think it was just a week after the open Europeans. I had to do that tournament, the Worlds in Meuzac. And I was exhausted. And I came second in slalom and I crashed in jump. A really big, really big crash on finals on my first jump in finals. It was the last set. I had done the tricks, I had done the slalom of the tournament. It was the last day I was like, ‘Okay, go for it.’ I had nothing to give. I just went forward and took a big crash. So yeah, I remember I was exhausted. It was a big year. There was a lot of tournaments that year and I had done really well. And I think I had a big, big down right after it. A bit of exhaustion of a big summer.
Matteo Luzzeri 33:56
So yeah, you finish the summer. You have the winter. Right? Were you already living in the US at the time?
Manon Costard 34:02
Yeah, I started in January 2011. So it was actually the year that I first started skiing in Florida. And obviously it could be linked to a good year. It probably helped a lot. So, yeah, I went back to the US, I was in school at Florida Southern at the time. So I did the collegiate skiing but I don't think I did any other big tournaments that year. Or record tournaments or anything, just collegiate, because I was there with the team and everything, but I took it easy.
Matteo Luzzeri 34:40
So, you got back. You did some collegiate skiing. And then you had winter with no events, like what was the thinking? Sort of, “Shit, now I'm a slalom skier?” Or like, “No, but my slalom is better…” You obviously were European champ.
Manon Costard 34:57
Yeah. Well, I kept seeing myself as a overall skier. For sure, yeah. And I still love jumping. I'd still came second in overall. So, to me there was no question of ‘Okay, I'm gonna let go of the other events’. I was, ‘Yeah, it was awesome. I hope I can keep improving slalom and that was really cool.’ I decided I should go to some pro tournaments the next year. Yeah. So that was my, my first experience with pro tournaments in 2012.
But yeah, I kept on training on all three.
Matteo Luzzeri 35:39
Okay. And when did you sort of have the switch where you said, ‘Okay, slalom.’
Manon Costard 35:46
Well, I finished my school in Florida, end of 2012. I had done a year of pro tournaments that I really enjoyed in slalom. And I was jumping too at those tournaments such as Malibu Open I would go and slalom and jump.
Matteo Luzzeri
Oh, there you go.
Manon Costard
And I would crash in jump. (laughs)
Matteo Luzzeri 36:09
Oh, okay.
Manon Costard 36:11
So that kind of made me feel like okay, well you should maybe, if you're gonna have some chances to do something in slalom maybe you don't destroy yourself with jumping. But I still love jumping and I was like, ‘Okay, I'm gonna keep doing it.’ And I was jumping well. And then I went to Monroe for my masters. And there I started skiing a bit more with Freddie and getting a bit more into, ‘Okay, it's called slalom, we can help each other.’ And it was actually fun to do that. And I think I learned a lot by having to think about my slalom skiing on my own instead of having coaches telling me. ‘Okay, yeah, you should do this. You should work on this.’ And so I started understanding a lot more about my technique and about the things that I should change and a lot more reflection going on. Which I actually really enjoyed. I thought it was really cool to be in a boat and have a conversation with the person in the boat and not just... Now, I'm not saying that it was always like that with my other coaches. But I needed to understand what I was doing because there was no one that was gonna explain to me, ‘Okay, yeah, you did this wrong and that's why you're not skiing well.’
Matteo Luzzeri 37:25
Yeah, no, I think it's a massive transition. I mean, It's a bit of a different thing. Right? You have some coaches that are more talkative, some coaches that are more like, ‘Okay, do this and do that. What do you think?’ And then you have some coaches that don't even ask that question. But when you're alone, there's no other choice. You have to learn how to assess. Okay, this was good. This was not good. I'm gonna work on this next time. Right? And it's a big transition, it’s not easy.
Manon Costard 37:56
Yeah, it was. It was not easy, but it was fun. It was fun. I had a really good time there. We had a great team, we had enough people that were involved and we all tried to help each other as much as we could. So, it was definitely a great place to be at for such a transition where you go from always skiing with coaches that know so much about the sport that you can just rely on them. And you just, ‘Okay, well, I'm gonna listen to what you say.’ To, ‘Oh, all right. I am on my own here. I've got people that you know, are here to help but they're not going to tell me what I need to do’, and I love that. I think it's a great experience. And I think as much as you need for your development and for the early years you need really great coaches and I think it's super important. At some point, you need to learn how to break away from it and to be able to be self-sufficient, right? Like if you go to a tournament, you're by yourself in the water. If you have a really bad first pass, what do you do? You're not gonna go in the boat and like, ‘Hey, what should I do different?’ Or, Where should I plan for my gate? It's very windy, there's crosswind, I don't know how to deal with it.’ No, you have to be confident enough in your knowledge in what you do every day. And to be able to deal with all this in tournaments.
Matteo Luzzeri 39:19
There's a lot of sides to that. I think it's such an important transition for an athlete, and it's hard for the coaches. Right? And I had a very good conversation on the podcast with Jay where he said that as he was becoming a better coach, he realized the athletes started to depend on him. But then obviously, athletes had to go to tournaments and he had a ski school so he couldn't really travel all the time. So then the challenge became, as a coach, how do I make them more independent? And I think not a lot of coaches are in tune with that. Right for whatever reason.
Manon Costard 39:55
But I understand. It’s their job, you know? They want to be there and I'm sure some of them don't necessarily want the people that they coach to just not need them all of a sudden. So it's a bit hard but at the same time, it's the way it's meant to go. You're gonna help someone reach really high potential, or as much of their potential that they can reach. And you're gonna start focusing on some other athlete that needs also help for all this important time in their athletes career. You just need to give the older one the tools to do it on his own and not depend as much on it. I think it's how you finish your job as a coach, really. If you finish your job as a coach by your athlete being dependent on you, I feel like it's a big shame. I think it, maybe a quarter of the job is also to teach them how to understand what they're doing, so that they can take it to an another level.
Matteo Luzzeri 41:00
For sure. No, I agree. I agree. And so you have that quote, “That part of the equation” in terms of the athletes become more independent that is more coaching side. But then you have the athlete side. And I'm curious to hear, because obviously I went through that as well when I went to college and I went to Louisiana Lafayette, so I think my experience was a little bit different than yours. You were in Florida, you could still go and ski with Coach X, Coach Y. I had the opportunity to go to Bennett's often and I'm very grateful for that. But my day to day skiing was alone. And I grew up skiing with a coach or multiple coaches. And I struggled, like I eventually learned to enjoy the process. But my first year or two, I was really struggling with my skiing. Did you struggle as well? Or did your skiing keep going up in that transition?
Manon Costard 41:52
Well, I think it might have… I think I struggled to be motivated on my own. I had no one pushing me. I think that's what I missed the most. Cuz at first, for sure it was hard. I remember I would go back to Florida and spend a little bit of time with Boris, at that time, and it was important for me to have someone at some point time go, “Okay you need to do this.” So the transition was like, ‘Okay I'm struggling.’ Because I don't really know how to deal with coaching myself or having no one that knows exactly or that I can trust. One person to know what I should be doing. But at the same time once in a while I would still have that. So it was an easy way to do that transition because I would have some weeks where I would have to work on it myself. And then one week where I would, ‘Okay, these are the goals, these are the key things that you need to think about.’ And then bring that back so I can work on it myself. And so it was progressive.
Matteo Luzzeri 43:04
Yeah, that's cool.
Manon Costard 43:08
But I did struggle with being motivated to trick and jump. The slalom was good. I was skiing. I had a lot of people around me that were into slaloming. To jumping and tricking? Yeah, it was a little less. It was a little less and little by little I kind of let go and plus you're jumping for collegiate. So you try and train at five foot, and it makes it a bit different. So, that in that way I think it was a bit being less pushed. That was probably something that I was missing: being more pushed.
Matteo Luzzeri 43:47
Yeah. Something like part of that difficulty with that transition. That makes sense. So here you were in Monroe. It's about like 2012, 2013?
Manon Costard 44:00
2013. I did 2014 and 2015 in Monroe. Yeah, cuz I finished the end of 2012 in Florida Southern. Then I took a year, I did some internships in France and then a year of - for collegiate skiing, right, when you transfer from one team to the other. And then 2014 and 2015 in Monroe.
Matteo Luzzeri 44:26
There you go. And so by then you were really doing some pro tournaments, right?
Manon Costard 44:31
Yeah, yeah. I did my first pro tournaments in 2012. We had Soaked. We had Malibu Open. I was doing the Rocket Man. I did it in slalom, no in jump, sorry. So yeah, little by little I started getting in on the pro tour. And it was fun. I think that's what motivated me to keep pushing on slalom and a little bit less of the rest. Two years in a row at the Malibu Open I crashed in jump. I was like, ‘You can't hurt yourself and then try and go slalom and do well.’ I remember one year, we had the tournament in Canada right after Malibu Open and I had just crashed. You spend so much money and I had good chances, and better chances in slalom than in jump. So little by little I just came that way. With focusing more on slalom and trying to be safe in jump instead of pushing the limit in jump. So it gives you a different perspective. In your training you just want to be safe, you're not gonna go and jump crazy distances. So I think it was, yeah, it came that way.
Matteo Luzzeri 45:52
Like progressive, transition out, and caring more, starting to do pro tour tournaments and wanting to do well… And then you had this thing that I'm guessing you were still enjoying to some extent but was kind of in the way almost.
Manon Costard 46:07
Actually the last year I ever jumped I loved it the most because I was very safe. I would do a lot of just even three quarter cuts, you know? And I remember it was the 2015 Worlds in Mexico, I jumped close to 50 meters. In a three quarter while being super safe super easy. Nothing could ever happen to me. I felt so good it was awesome. That feeling of going and jumping and still doing good and just having a great rhythm. Still having the adrenaline in before the ramp, obviously, because you're still pushing a little bit but it just felt easy and safe and such good sensation. I mean, it's jumping, right? It's amazing. I miss it a lot. But yeah, so that last year, it was all in the rhythm and all in efficiency and I loved it. And then I started hurting my back and I was like, ‘Okay, alright, just slalom. Stop messing around with all the rest and just try and give as much as you can to slalom and see where you can go.
Matteo Luzzeri 47:21
And so yet another transition, right? How was the first year just slaloming?
Manon Costard 47:27
So the first year just slaloming. What year was it? It was 2016.
Well, it was pretty good. I can't remember how… I went to San Gervasio and I won. I ran, I did the European record. I ran 10.7 for the first time.
Matteo Luzzeri 47:49
...on a ski that wasn't yours...
Manon Costard 47:51
On a ski that wasn't mine. Yeah. That was such a cool year. Actually, so 2016 started by me just being done with my Masters so moving back to Florida. Training, still thinking about jumping. So I signed up for Moomba for jump and slalom. Freaked out at Moomba for jump. I was terrified. I think the ramp felt huge and I think maybe I was training on the ramp that was a bit too low. I just showed up there and there was rollers, and you couldn't do your double cuts and the ramp felt super big and I was terrified. So that was the last tournament I ever did in jump. Plus, my back was hurting a little bit too at that time. I was trying to manage everything.
So yeah, so I came second at my first Moomba. With Whitney we had a good fight, actually it was so much fun. It's such a cool event. You know, Melbourne, the Yarra. The first tournament of the year, so early - I don't think you can have much more stress than that. That first set that you go on there, you're like, ‘Well, I've heard a lot of people fall around the first bouy of their first pass, so what am I gonna do?” So a lot of pressure but such a cool ambience around that. It was really fun because it worked out for me too. I had a good experience and came in second. I think we both run 11 - 38 and I think I did half a 39 and she did one and a half or something like that. And don't you know, quote, well, you can quote me on this, but I'm not 100% sure of this course, but I think it was around those lines.
Matteo Luzzeri
Yeah, so I mean high level skiing. Yeah, first time Moomba, you made it to the final which is already impressive. You ran 38 I mean, that's high level skiing.
Manon Costard
Yeah. It was cool. It was really cool. Yeah, good. I really like that place. It's fun. So yeah, so that was the first tournament of the year. After that I left my jump skies on the side. Like, “See you later.” I did not say hi again. And then Masters, Swiss. You know it started being the routine. Yeah, the pro tour that we have now. And San Gervasio, one of the most stressed story that I could have. Show up without my ski bag. The airline company just lost it. They lost it for a week. So I arrived and I was like, ‘Okay, well, um, can someone please help me out?’ And so I borrowed - everyone was amazing, actually. I could borrow boots, handles, gloves... even a ski. I got a ski from someone else. And every set after the first prelims it was like, okay, well I'm gonna move the fin to this and Freddie was helping me a ton with it. He would watch me ski and then I would come back I did not know how to set up a fin at that time. So he was a big help I would come back and he was like, ‘Yeah, I watched you ski. Let's do this and let's move this.’ And then I was here again like, ‘Yeah, its better.’ And it's funny you go on the water you're on equipment that you've never skied on before, even the binding, even the bathing suit. I had nothing, nothing at all. And you pull out for the gate and just even in the pullout and the way you glide and before the turn, you already start adapting because you can feel so much already, and you're so focused on what your skis doing because everything is different. Your brain... It was pretty cool because your brain goes 100 miles an hour and you're adapting, you're taking everything, everything that you can from just even a pull out and you're trying to get the information in, to be able to ski. I didn't know if I was gonna fall on my first buoy, you know?
Matteo Luzzeri 52:18
I remember, naturally, how obviously stressed out you were. During the gala dinner right, like it was the first dinner where we did a big ceremony. I don't know, man. And a funny story about that was that you actually use two different skis because you started using Claire Lee's who was using a kind of similar ski as yours.
Manon Costard 52:42
Same size. We’re both on a 66. So it was MonteCarlo skis and we’re both on the 66. And she was so nice to let me use it
Matteo Luzzeri 52:48
Which at the time, the two of you - because you won in 2015 as well, right? So the two were the only two champions of the tournament. Because she won ‘14, you won ‘15. And then this thing started developing with the skiing. I remember telling Freddy, ‘Dude, what if they end up being head to head one against the other? And sure enough..’
Manon Costard 53:10
Head to head. And even if we're not against one another, I mean you can't just change skis like this. So it was a big mess. So yeah the whole struggle of finding another ski begins again and I got a ski from … and she was so sweet, it was a Monte Carlo still but 65, so the size down. Yeah, that was scary but it worked out. And every set I would, with Freddie, change a little bit and I would adapt more and I ended up running 10 in the very, very last round of the head of heads. And that was so cool. I was so happy. It was a huge roller coaster because I was freaked out the whole weekend. So much stress but at the same time you're so focused when you're skiing because, okay, you're stressed when you're outside of the water, but then you get on the dock and you're like, ‘Well, I've got to do this.’ There is no question. So you just go for it and you go from freaking out to being 100% at what you're doing. So it's exhausting. And then just having that as a result, it was so cool.
Matteo Luzzeri 54:17
Yeah, it was unbelievable. That was like, probably the tournament. It was our third year and we had a lot of success. I think Freddie and Nate ran 41 five times combined. And but obviously, your story was the one that made it on the magazine cover, remember that year? It was just unbelievable. It was a crazy moment. But I guess what I wanted to ask you in terms of that first season, I mean, obviously you had a lot of success, but it was more like the day to day, right? Because the life of an overall skier is different than the life of a slalom skier in terms of how much you have to be at the lake and all of that. Did you notice that difference?
Manon Costard 55:02
I definitely noticed it, especially since it was my first year that I wasn't in school too. I had so much time on my hands. Honestly, I went a bit crazy at first.
It was really hard to adapt to, ‘Okay, what am I doing?’ Yeah, there was a lot of time to fill. So I think the spring was a bit rough because I was in Florida, I couldn't do much. And right before Moomba, well you have that goal. But right after Moomba, there's a bit more time and there's a bit of a down period and I don't really know what to do. And I was never big on going to the gym either. So that wouldn’t take me any time. So yeah, I had a lot of time on my hands and I was at Swiss taking care of the house. We had some Koreans in the house so I was just cooking and just helping out. How do running the house, and doing what I could do to keep busy. So that was a bit of a hard time. But then it went to summer and we had all the tournaments and I'm in Lacanau in the summer and you don't get bored there. It's such a cool place, Lacanau. It's west coast of France close to Bordeaux. You've got the ocean, I have my family there, we have a house there on the lake. I’ve got friends there and just everything, everything is great. It's kind of the dream destination for me. So that went well and it was fine. But yeah, it was definitely hard to, all of the sudden, not only just becoming a three event skier, to one event but also not having classes. Be like, ‘Okay, well, I'm deciding to invest myself 100%’ and try and see if I can be a pro skier. So that's the goal and it's fine. It's good. And I had decided that, so it was gonna be how at least one year would go and I would see if I liked it or not. So it was not too much not knowing why I had so much time. I knew that it was gonna be like that, I was expecting it. But it was a bit of a strange one to get used to.
Matteo Luzzeri 57:28
Yeah, in your head. You stopped overall and you stopped school - like that's a big chunk of your day at the lake, a big chunk of your day in general. I can see how that's a bit unstabilizing.
Manon Costard 57:43
Yeah, and you come from skiing collegiate. So having your team around non stop and all, never being alone and always having - If you’re not skiing and if you’re not in school, you're hanging out with your teammates. And you can just, it's a small campus, Monroe, so you can just go and knock on someone's door and you show up and it's all good. And you get to Florida - Yeah, it's not like that here. There's a lot of things that I started missing. But it's growing up and it's life and it changes. I definitely do not regret doing it because it was such a good experience, and I got to travel and do all those tournaments and have fun, and I was doing well at them. So I was super lucky. I was having a really good time.
Matteo Luzzeri 58:31
Yeah, I think. Yeah, you chase your own luck, right? So you were lucky, but because you worked so hard, and you had this big goal in mind. And certainly, you've been one of the forces to be reckoned with at every tournament since then, right? Let's talk Worlds, shall we? Yeah, we should. We should.
So you're the current World Champion.
Manon Costard
Matteo Luzzeri
I wish we had a camera just to see your smile right now. But we go audio at the Water Ski Podcast. All right, so tell me about Worlds, how you were skiing before, how was it there and give us the story.
Manon Costard 59:12
Yeah, so I had some back issues again this year, well last year. So right before Worlds and actually right before European, so it was a few months before Worlds. I had to take a few weeks off, completely off from skiing, because I injured my back again. And it scared me a little because I had done that right before the 2017 Worlds. And so at those Worlds, just for the story, I just ended up falling on my first buoy on my first pass of the finals. And then I had to take five months off for my back because I tried to push it, it didn’t hold, and then it was just a big mess. So I realized that my back was hurting again, and I started being a bit worried about it, but I knew that I wasn't going to make the same mistake that I had done two years before that. I was not going to just stop for two days and then try and ski again and try and push it and think that it was whole, (that) it was going to hold. So I decided to be super careful with it. I went to see the doctors and I and took time off right away. And in the end it actually helped me a ton because I took some time off skiing, so I lost some time, all right. But I had a team, an amazing team of a doctor and a physio behind me that would help me just get stronger and push me to go to the gym and really told me what was wrong, what I should do and how I should heal up first of all. And then all the preparation for my muscles to compensate for the fact that my back was a bit weak at the time. And they ended up being so, so good to me in a way that after a month of that, I felt as strong as I had ever felt. And by far, it was so good. And my back healed up in three to four weeks, just as what they said. Just in time to do Europeans. So I had Europeans a week after starting skiing again, did really well and then kept on doing that training for my back. I would do two hours of gym before every set, or an hour and a half. I was for two hours at the physio. So it would be an hour an hour and a half of proper workout and stretching and massages or whatever I needed at the time. And then I would, I think, have lunch, take a nap, because I was exhausted, warm up again a little bit and have my one ski set of the day.
Matteo Luzzeri 1:02:04
Okay, so it was gym in the morning with massages stretching everything you need to do, eat, nap, ski.
Manon Costard 1:02:11
Yeah. So that was like that for I guess the month before Worlds. It felt like Moomba.
Matteo Luzzeri 1:02:22
Okay, what do you mean there?
Manon Costard 1:02:26
I'll get to that. Okay. So yeah. So, you know, incredible people behind me that helped me get strong. The fact that you all of a sudden are threatened not to be able to ski makes you so motivated to make everything that you can to be able to ski. And so you get an extra motivation that is in you and that you give even more just because you couldn't. And it was only three weeks. It was not a big deal but still it motivated me a lot more. So, very motivated to get better physically. And then on the water I think since I was everyday doing exactly the same thing, in the same routine and being so focused and really trying to make every set count as much as possible because I knew I couldn't ski twice. The time that I spent on the water was really good. I ended up training - in training I had never, and I still have, it was my best month of training the scorel-wise. And at the end it was going up and up and up and the week before leaving I would run 10 at every set. I don't think I had a set where I didn't run it. Well, I would do two of them. For example, I could miss the first one or run the first one and then try one again and miss one. But I would run one. And then I would do some ten two-fives, which I never really did that much before because I just wanted to be better at ten seven. And at ten two-five I was trying to go around two quite often, as often as it can be. It felt like often for me at least. And I remember the last day I had training before taking the flight to Malaysia. I get to two at ten two-five and I kind of fall and I wrap myself in the rope. And I'm in the water waiting for the rope to tighten up and I’m like, ‘Oh my god, did I just - I am going to hurt myself right before?’ Last set, last pass, last buoy - before going to Worlds. It ended up being okay it just went through and it kind of scratched me but it was all good. So a little bit of a, ‘Okay, calm down. Just stop skiing. Go to Worlds now.’
Matteo Luzzeri 1:04:56
Yeah, you’re ready.
Manon Costard 1:04:57
So I felt ready. Physically ready, training - I felt ready. And then you go there and then I go, ‘Okay, now, what you've done before is good. Now you need to make sure that mentally you're prepared and you're not gonna get over excited because you're skiing well and you feel strong and you need to stay focused and all of this.’ So I show up there and I do my first training sets. And I run five buoys at my first pass. (laughing)
Matteo Luzzeri 1:05:27
There you go. Good start. (laughing)
Manon Costard 1:05:30
Cuz, yeah, it was super rolly. We had some ferries going. And it was training, they hadn't stopped. So it was, ‘Oh, my god’ at the end, when I stopped… Because I didn't pull. I just couldn't go to six, because I was so late.
Matteo Luzzeri 1:05:45
Turn five late, couldn't get to six.
Manon Costard 1:05:48
So we stop at the end. And I'm raging. I've spent so much time training. I know I can ski very well and I'm here and I can't even run my first pass. What is this? So that was 10 seconds of raging and then you go again and I adapt. When you have no choice, you have to do it and, ‘Okay.’ So you just get into the mood where you try and not think about the fact that it's scary and it's bad conditions and it can be dangerous. You just, ‘Okay, well you need to understand how it works to do as good as you can at Worlds.’ So I did my four passes of training. And then I had three more sets - two more sets a bit on a different part of the lake not at this part of the other Worlds.
Matteo Luzzeri 1:06:39
Oh, yeah. Cuz it was another part of the lake where you guys could train.
Manon Costard 1:06:43
Yeah. So I did another two sets there. And during one set, I had a little bit of a click, where I was like, ‘Okay,’ if I feel - I kind of felt that there was a mood that I could be in which I was not letting the rollers or the ball or anything hurt my skiing. I was, or at least it would take more of a bad boat path or or bad water to make me fall. I felt like I could mentally be a lot stronger and have a much better result on the water. And so that happened the day before prelims.
Matteo Luzzeri 1:07:38
So on a practice set. So, was it more like an attitude that you discovered or something more technical?
Manon Costard 1:07:45
Well, I did really bad on one pass - I didn't run an 11, and it really pissed me off. And then the next 11 I run it and it was like, ‘Okay, you need to be pissed off or you need to be in that mindset before you go and ski.’ Because nothing could happen on the second one. And I talked about it with the doctor that we have in France. I was like, ‘Okay, how can you warm up mentally, just so that you're more ready?’ And that was super quick - it was the day before the tournament. But it still helped too, and that was part of - I felt strong physically, I felt like I was technically good at that time, and mentally that helps. So I had those three things and so I went that day and for the prelims and I just felt strong and I was like, “I'm not letting go of anything and I'm not scared and I'm just - 100% what I'm doing.” And it's not because there is a wake, and it's not because there isn't anything that I'm gonna fall; I'm just gonna not let it affect me at all. I had decided it wasn't gonna affect me. So obviously it affects you. But I was ready to react and I was more alert, I think, more sharp, mentally. Okay, there is something that is making me almost fall, but I can react super quickly because I am there, “in it” more than I had ever been. So I skied so well and so I was happy with what I did in the prelims.And yeah, I did four at 10.
Matteo Luzzeri 1:09:32
Hold on. You did four at 39 in the prelims? Whoa, big score.
Manon Costard 1:09:37
Yeah, yeah, it was. I was very happy. And then Regina goes and does three. So I was last off the dock.
Matteo Luzzeri
Top seed.
Manon Costard
Yeah. It was my birthday. So I was like, ‘Oh, that's cool.’ I ski while in the prelims of Worlds and I'm top seed! So very happy but then at the same time I was like, ‘Well it's not very cool to be the World Champion of prelims.’ You've gotten that, you've done nothing really. It's really cool. Okay, be happy but you've done nothing. You've done nothing except making it to the finals. So very quickly I just tried to understand that I was going to have a lot of stress because I was going to be last off the dock for the finals. And I had done something that was really good already. What are the chances that I would do it twice in a row? With Regina and Whitney and every other girl there that were so strong. So it was a lot of ‘Okay, don't freak out.’ It is the way it is. And just trying to keep going to the gym and prepping myself the way I had been doing it for the month and staying super focused. Yeah.
And then the day of the finals it was - I have never been that focused in my life. Gina, she's my really really good friend. I was close to the dock checking my screws, checking my ski and everything. She comes in. She says, “Hi.” I did not see her. I did not. I did not answer. She had to tap my shoulder and be like, “Oh, hey, I'm here. Look at me. I'm here.” I was like, “Oh, sorry.” But yeah, I was on another planet. I was super focused. And I felt ready. I just had never had that feeling before any other tournament or any other time in my life. I was just not scared, not stressed, like just 100% to what I was doing. And yes, so time to ski and I do my first pass. Do my first pass and like, ‘Well, you did better than in 2017’. At least there is that. You didn’t fall on your first buoy in the finals, so I was like, ‘Okay, well, that's fine.’ And then then, you know. So I started at 14, 13, 12… Right before 11 I am in the water and I'm like, look around, it's cool. Like, it could be the last. It could be an important memory for you and just, it's a big deal. And so I have that picture in my mind now that when I was sitting in the water before going to 11. Regina had done 3 at 10.7, so it was a big score. I was like, ‘All right, just breathe in and take time to remember this.’ And so I went and did my eleven. I was skiing.... I was not skiing well. It was not pretty. It was just - I had my arms and I was strong and I felt balanced and I felt efficient and in rhythm, but it was not pretty. If my head was going, it was fine. I was just you know, pulling along and I ran some 11’s between the finals and the prelims that were just horrible. I don't know how I ran them but I did. I just had that motivation in me, I guess. And then I get to do 10: my one is not that great. So I'm like, ‘Okay, don't panic.’ Just take it easy at two. So I don’t really turn two. “Well you should have panicked a bit more here.” And so I pulled - I think I would have never gotten around three if you know any other day in my life. I just gave everything I had got around three. My arm just like got stuck in the water and my shoulders just got pulled back and I just hold on to the slack and I was like. ‘Okay, run off. All right.’ And you're just like, I felt like, I wasn't myself, I was just super, super focused. That was the main thing about those worlds. And that's the main, between the physical strength that I had. Thanks to the fact that I had been injured right before and, and just the mindset that I was on. It was cool. It was very cool. It's something that I'll always remember for sure. Cuz it was very different from anything else.
Matteo Luzzeri 1:14:26
Yeah, no. To me sounds like, of course, physically ready. While also technically I mean, you said that, surprisingly, that month where you were just sort of trying to get ready for Worlds with a back injury or you also had some of the best skiing in your life. And, the focus, obviously, the mental side was strong. And together with that, this positive attitude. I mean, you were looking at the course and the lake before 38 and you were - you took a second to embrace it. Right? So that's, that's very, I mean, that's unbelievable.You know?
Manon Costard 1:15:04
it was cool. I mean, I think it's probably gonna be one of the best moments of my life. And all he asked me in however many years, it was, it was so cool. I don't even have words because after that I was just on the cloud for, you know, weeks.
Matteo Luzzeri 1:15:19
Well, I'm planning on keeping this podcast going for years to come. So maybe in 2027 we will ask you again, you know,
Manon Costard 1:15:27
So what's the best time of your life?
Matteo Luzzeri 1:15:29
Yeah, exactly. So boom like, 3 at 39. There's a run off to be done.
Manon Costard 1:15:34
And, that's where I think all the gym helped a lot. Because I felt like I was - I went back to the dock, super focused, no emotion, nothing. I was just doing a walk up and down the dock just resting my legs and you know how when you're trying to recover from a series in the gym or whatever? Just recovering, recovering but staying focused and up and downs on the dock and waiting for them to tell us who was going to go first. And Regina goes first and she goes, she runs 11. Before the tournament anyways, before the finals, I had imagined that she was going to run 10. I was like, I feel like it's doable because I had done four so I mean, if I can go four, she can definitely run it. So I had imagined myself that she would put a huge score in front of me, and it wasn't gonna hurt me or freak me out. I was just gonna go and do it too. Okay, I’m ready. And so she runs 11 and she goes around one and from where I'm standing, she goes maybe around two or maybe not. I have no idea because my eyes don't see that far. So, you know, I see her as turned and 2 and the boat comes back and I'm like I'm not leaving until you tell me that it's 100% sure. Is it 2 or 1? I want to know. And so they tell me one they say, yeah, we've reviewed it hundred percent that 1 is the official score. So I'm like okay. All right, and I go, I run 11. And on the webcast that I watched after that, the commentators were saying that it was, can't remember the word they used, but it was a miracle. You know just rough, but not letting go. So I run my 11 and then,
Matteo Luzzeri 1:17:37
Sorry, let's stay there. You said that you weren’t running that great of elevens but what was in your mind going into that 11? Did you have any doubt or were you like, I'm gonna run this?
Manon Costard 1:17:47
I was not, yeah, I was not even thinking about it. I was. Yeah, it was just something that I had to do. And I knew I was strong and I knew that if I was making mistakes, I would catch up. I was not saying that I wasn't gonna do it and that it was gonna be easy. But I knew that I was not gonna let go of anything. And I felt strong. So I could have, if you had asked me before, I wouldn't have told you, “Yeah, I'm running it.” But because I wasn't even thinking about it really. I wasn't questioning the fact that I was gonna do it or not. I was just like, you go and you do what you have to do. And you don't let go and it's gonna be hard, but you react quick and you've done it before and you can do it. And that's it. So, yeah, I ran that 11. Turns out that no one else knew that the final score was one on the shore. But when you know that you're one buoy away from being a world champion, you’re in the water, like, “Don't freak out. Don't mess anything up. Stay focused.” So I remember my hands were starting to burn a little. I was like, that's fine. Doesn't matter. They can burn as much as they want. I'm not letting go I'm not letting go. And so I go and one was actually pretty good. And once I realized that I've turned one and I know I'm gonna go around two. I’m like, “Oh my god, oh my god.” So I go, I see my ski I see my ski going around two and, “Oh my god, okay, that's it.” I've done it. And I almost didn't even pay attention to go back to the wakes just because I was like, “Oh my god, best moment of my life ever.” I did what I had to do and so I celebrate like crazy. It was insane to me. It was well, the first time I've ever been proud of myself. Something that I was pretty proud of was San Gervasio 2016 with the borrowed ski. Yeah, but that feeling at Worlds, I had never felt it before, for sure. It was pride and knowing that I had worked so hard and done everything as well as I could do. And then won the prelims and then the finals after, and not having freaked out. And you know what I've been talking about for a little while now...just the physical and the mental and the technical at the same time. And in controlling all of that. And it felt like the best reward I could have ever had from all that.
Matteo Luzzeri 1:20:58
No, for sure. And I think high performance, obviously, it's made of all those things together. And it's so hard to manage them, right? Like, you know, nutrition, physical, technical, a bit of strategy, right? Like start at 28 or 32? How is the boat feeling? Mental side. There's so many things that come into making the performance work. And I can see, you know, you had some injury you had to take care of right? So, hardship into it, like a month or two into it. Like, I can see why. I don't know maybe it's even more than pride. You know, like, it's pride, but also like...
Manon Costard 1:21:39
It's pure satisfaction. Yeah, happy too because there was a goal. I usually don't really go to tournaments. And my goal at that tournament was, “Okay, you've never had a medal at Worlds and you've done really well on many tournaments, but I had never had a medal.” My goal was to get a medal. I wasn't like yeah, I'm going there to win. You know, Regina is Regina. So I wasn't really.. I’m not really big into setting goals. So when I’m there, I’m not really thinking about it that way. But then after prelims, my goal went to, “Okay, you need to do that again and you need to and it's possible.” So knowing that I dealt with it the right way so that I actually made it, then that was really...that was that it was just a mix of emotions. Of pride, of satisfaction and then there were roller coasters because I thought I had won and then I get back to the dock and they tell me, “Oh, well maybe she’s actually done two.” I go, “What? No.” Yeah, it was just so many emotions and then you just feel like every effort that you've done for your whole career, not just like the best two months. The best two months were hardcore and proper training for that point, but everything that you've done before it makes sense, just because you ended up getting to, I think, for me, it's the best result I think I can ever have. World Champion.
Matteo Luzzeri 1:23:29
Yeah. World Champion. Yeah, and I think you said, I don't mean to correct you at all, but like, it seems to me like, maybe you didn't have a goal set like, ‘I wanna win or I wanna medal.’ But you certainly for you to be that focused, you must have had some kind of maybe technical goal or a goal of where to put your attention. You had some objective.
Manon Costard 1:23:55
For sure. But I think my objective and it's the way I do for all the tournaments it was more about, ‘I want to do well there.’ But it wasn't, ‘I want to do as well as I can as I can do.’ I don't really spend time thinking about those objectives. And so maybe, if you had sat me down and told me, okay, what's your goal for Worlds? What do you want to do? I would have been scared, I would have been scared to say, ‘I want to win’, because I don't want to be, you know, disappointed if I don't. And what I really wanted was a medal, that's for sure. But what I for sure wanted to do is be as ready as I could to beat as many people as I could and ski as well as I could. That was the main… I'm not saying that I wasn't motivated. I was definitely motivated. But the goal was to push myself as hard as I could to reach, as high as of a level I could reach.
Matteo Luzzeri 1:25:00
Yeah, fantastic. Well, what do you say we take a break and when we come back, I want to hear more what's after because you said, you won the best tournament there is. I’d be curious to hear what's after that and then we'll talk about the 2020 season and some other stuff. What do you say?
Manon Costard 1:25:17
Yes, sounds good.
Matteo Luzzeri: