Profile: Leanna Crowley – Flowboarding Superstar

Southampton University has in the past, producing many a famous face at the top of their chosen profession. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, John Inverdale, Adrian Newey and even the legendary John […]

Flowboarding Leanna Crowley

Southampton University has in the past, producing many a famous face at the top of their chosen profession. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, John Inverdale, Adrian Newey and even the legendary John Nettles, all of whom have at some point graced the lecture halls of our fair university. Soon however, there may be a new name to add to the notable alumni hall of fame.

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First year University of Southampton student Leanna Crowley has been making a name for herself in the sport of flowboarding ever since she was 15 years old. After her surfer brother took her to a local wavehouse, her talent quickly became apparent, taking to the sport like…well… a surfing duck to water! After making it to the European Championships in Yorkshire last summer, Leanna placed 1st overall and in turn qualified for the World Championships held in Arizona. There, she made it into the finals and came out in an outstanding 4th  place, making her one of the top 5 female flowboarders in the world and the best in Europe.

For those who don’t know, and admittedly that may be most of you, flowboarding looks a lot like regular water surfing. According to Leanna though, the two sports aren’t that similar. Instead of surfing on open water and riding a wave as far as possible, flowboarding is done on an artificially created wave and judged on tricks alone – a water borne skateboarding treadmill as Leanna puts it.  A machine called a flowrider creates the stationary wave, using technology referred to as ‘sheet-wave.’

Essentially comprised of multiple high-energy pumps, the apparatus is able to create a three inch layer of water over a surface that has been shaped to emulate an ocean wave, with as much as 100,000 gallons of water being propelled at 120mph. The boards themselves are also different from ones used for surfing, sharing dimensions more similar to that of a snowboard. She goes as far to say that despite her skill at flowboarding, her prowess on the open water as a surfer is no better than your average once-a-year holidaymaker.

Leanna is currently sponsored by two small companies, Sanguis (based in Singapore) and Ash Flowboards (based in America), whilst also representing the university as a bursary athlete. She is looking to increase the profile of flowboarding around the world and has already enquired about the possibility of creating a sports society at the University of Southampton. While the formation of a sports club is still a work in progress, one thing that is for sure is that if, or rather when, the profile of flowboarding sky-rockets, Leanna will deservedly be riding the wave of its success.

 

Leanna’s flowboarding Facebook page can be viewed here. If you would be interested in joining Leanna as one of the founders of the UoS Flowboarding society (or just want to give it a go) then send a message to the Facebook page and register your interest!