The women who raced in the 80s and 90s paved the way for the girls who ride and race today. I tracked down another legend — Pro Tec’s Lise Wosick — and chatted with her about her legacy, and what she’s up to now.
Lise, before we get too far in, can you tell me how you got started in Jet skiing?
In my senior year of high school, my boyfriend at the time had one and we would go out on the weekends and ride.
What was the first jetski you ever rode?
440 in 1990.
How did you get involved in racing?
South African weekends in Jet-Skiing were so much fun we would ocean ride, then head to the lakes, ride and Braii (BBQ). After a few weeks, months of that – the buzz at the lake was to take part in some races. There were a couple girls who had some serious skills (Expert and Pro Level). Once I figured out how to stay on the 440 and my boyfriend keep it running we started racing, the both of us. There wasn’t to much thought or direction, It was just fun. I was a pretty good Athlete, outside of Jet Skiing, I competed at a high level in a few different sports, had a brother who was a Pro Motocross Rider, grew up in the motocross lifestyle – loved bikes so the transition from traditional sports was fun and fulfilling.
Most people remember you exploding into the spotlight after joining the Pro Tec Yamaha team, what did it take to get to that point?
This is so fun, a trip down memory lane… So ’94 I got a ride with Pro Tec and raced for them in both 94 (Pro Rookie Year) and 95.
In ‘92 I left South Africa and came to the States as a 19 year old, the primary goal was to travel (gap year) do an Aerobics Instructor Course at The Sports Club Irvine, work at a motorcycle / Jet ski store (San Pedro, CA) part time and they would provide me a ski to do some riding and races. The plan was to go back to SA, use the course to get part time work and pay for my studies.
I qualified for World Finals in ’92 but I sucked! I took 9th in Slalom and didn’t even make top 10 in closed course. For me it this was my biggest victory loss as it became my motivation.
I vowed that in ‘93 I, or should I say we, as at that stage I had started dating my now husband Larry Wosick, we vowed to bring home a National and World Title.
We headed back to SA (Nov 92) and raced both the Mens and Womens Classes in the ‘93 season, (Remember the 93 Season in South Africa starts in Dec 92 and runs through May 93 – Our Summer). Larry and I spent 7 days a week on my riding and physical training. I even enrolled in a new class at the University in Pietermaritzburg – their intro class on Sports Phycology. I was going to leave no stone unturned.
Larry and I arrived back in the states in May a couple weeks before the ‘93 season started, set up our ski. Drove around the US in a Jeep Cherokee, an open trailer with a couple YSR 50’s and one stand up. We raced the 10 Round circuit in 12 weeks and won us our first US National Championship in 93. (I think Rius and I were the first foreigners to win, World Titles that year and I think I may have been first foreigner to win a US Title).
We travelled back to SA after Nationals, got home Sep 1, 1994, got married September 18th and headed back to Havasu and won World Finals after having to go to the LCQ. That was a race…
Reward – a deal with Yamaha USA & Pro Tec…and a plan to go Pro.
Your factory ride with Yamaha Pro Tec was iconic. How did that come about? What was it like?
Steve Lawler offered me a ride with Yamaha and him and Larry, negotiated and sorted all that out, with Protec, as well as Oakley, Jet Pilot, Solas, Trick and Axo. Sure could use some Oakleys now…
My Protec Team Mates and the South Africans that were here racing we had so much fun on tour… Throw in the Aussies and it was living the dream… Everything I dreamt of America. I was young, in love and racing for a living, surrounded by amazing people. Pretty hard to beat that!
What are your favorite accomplishments from racing?
Mindset – definitely among the top of the list.
The basis for a strong foundation in my marriage to my husband – So many great stories and friendships built. They say building a home together is challenging for a couple – traveling on the road – big time challenges…
But if the question was meant specifically to racing, I would say one that comes to mind, is at one point my slalom time was second only to two people in the universe. Nicolas Ruis (Pro) and Charles Grassie (expert mens) and then me.
Who were your biggest rivals? Favorite people to line up against?
We were in an era of great women racers – the field was packed with great competition. Christy Carlson and Tera Laho (were my biggest competition/ rivals) I always loved Tina Martinez’s spunk and Melinda McLaughlin was probably my most respected for been a mom and out there doing what she did, with how little riding she got in. Always with the biggest smile on her face.
My expert year – I had a fierce competitor Tracy Evangilenco – she was incredibly talented and hard working, she made me work for my ’93 titles. I have the utmost respect for her, she did not have a team behind her and I think if she had, she certainly could have gone pro and mixed up the results a little.
You were there as the watercraft began to evolve from 440s/550s to Super Jets and 750s. What was that transition like?
This was a big set back for me for my Rookie year, as when the 93 Season ended here in the States, and new 701 were been ridden in prep for the 94 Season, I still had to go and compete on the 650 through May of ‘94 in South Africa.
We arrived here the week before the season started and had 1 week to set up and learn the new ski. The 701 Superjet. It was a big jump from 650- 701 not only in speed but handling.
All good – opened up my Pro Rookie race with a 5th in slalom and a 3rd in Closed course. That would be only 1 of 3 events in my Pro Career where I took any place below a 3rd.
What is your favorite memory from your time in the sport?
Travelling by road – We had a few South Africans who also did the tour in ’93 ’94 and ‘95– Charles Grassie, Stephen Hains, Dustin Motzouris, Ricky Sneddon, Tamlyn I’ons, Richard Moore and a couple of my girlfriends Stephanie and Shelly. We would hang out with the Aussies and locals and just enjoyed every moment presented to us. We met families on the waters in different states where we would ride, made many friends, with whom I am still friends with to date.
Do you still ride or have any skis?
Yes, I have a 701 Yamaha Protec replica. My family and I boat in the summers here in Florida and we all ride. I need to try one of Motz new ski’s – I think I may just die….
What have you been up to since you quit racing?
Wow – Let’s start with Family – Larry and I have 4 kids –two girls and two boys – Chezney (21), Levi (17) Lexi (15) and Graham (9). Chezney is a Captain down in the Keys and has her 100 ton license and does Charters, is a great business gal. Levi is perusing a career as a Pro Motocross Racer – Lexi is back to the drawing board in her sport as her growth changed her course in Gymnastics not many 5’8 Elite Gymnasts and Graham just cruises as of now… So that in itself has kept me busy.
On the business side Larry and I have always worked together and done many different ventures:
Honey Lake Motocross Park, Milford CA. – 2001-2014
Hay Ranch – Milford CA. 1998-2014
Bowling Ally Bar & Restaurant – Susanville CA – 2007-2011
We also have a furniture business which we have run since we met – Our staple.
Currently I am in Real Estate Agent – in Florida
Any plans on a comeback?
No, but I do hope to come and watch this year… And would like to re-connect with old friends and make some new ones.. I’d love to just go and do some Body Beach riding again…
What is your favorite thing about jetskiing?
Everything – It truly started out fun, For me this is 30 years since I got on that 1st Ski – it still is fun – What a blessing.
What advice do you have for other girls who want to climb the ladder?
What is motivating you? Make a list.
-Build Good Habits – Remove the need for will power and replace it with good habits / schedule.
-While Riding – Work your Skill set – actual riding – technique and endurance
-Physical Fitness – workout program
– Diet and Weight – This is your truth monitor – for you and your competitors.
-Mental Training – Feed your mind with good stuff
Enjoy – this is your Life !!!!
Suggested Read: Start with Why- Simon Sinek, Atomic Habits – James Clear, Peak – Anders Ericsson, The Success Principles – Jack Canfield
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Pulling out this box of medals to make sure the info I have provided was accurate – Crap – I had a lot of 2nd’s.., I think I finally relate to an Ernie Else and Phill Mickelson in the Tiger Woods Era…
On a more serious note – My Life depicted in here is a summary, from my racing – life like racing has ups and downs and my advice to any one is live each moment with a grateful heart.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
There were so many people that have touched and effected my life – Larry my husband My Team Mate for Life. My team mates (Maccluggage, Bonacci, Laho) and Jet Ski fraternity- it holds a very special place. Steve Lawler, The Baker Family and my very talented friend Patrick O’Keefe who in my opinion was / is one of the greatest R&D guys for Watercraft. He currently resides in the Gold Coast in Queensland and still is in the industry. Russell White who provided me with his world renowned knowledge of Health and Fitness, and cross training . The South African Riders and Jet Ski Association. Tera Laho, a fierce competitor and more importantly still a great friend. All the girls out there past and present who I have common ground with – How Fun right! Anna – you for reaching out years ago and playing such an important part in this sport Past, Present and Future. Well Done.