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Look! Up in the sky! It’s Skysurfing on ESPN+’s ‘Roll the Tape’

All 10 episodes of Roll The Tape are now streaming (i.e., ready to binge) exclusively on ESPN+, and Front Row continues its check in with people featured in the episodes. Next up is Viviane Wegrath, a former X Games medalist and FAI World Champion skysurfer who is shown competing at the 1998 U.S. Open of Skysurfing in Roll The Tape episode 10 “The Need for Speed”.

How much do you remember from the 1998 US Open of Skysurfing?

1998 was a special year because I teamed up with a new cameraman, so we needed extra time to practice and get into competition mode. It was always a great pleasure to travel and meet up in different locations and compete with and against all the other skysurf teams. We had so many competitions at that time, but we were like one big family! It was great fun!

How did you get started in skysurfing 

I’ve always been very sporty and when I started skydiving in 1992, I just did it for the fascination. I loved jumping from an airplane, but somehow missed the physical challenge. When I saw the first skysurfers a year later, I was immediately hooked! I still remember perfectly my first skysurf jump. I was super, mega nervous. Not knowing if I could control the board in free fall. Somehow I did it and landed safely. From then on I just wanted to skysurf and play with this board in the sky. I just loved it!

What is your greatest accomplishment in skysurfing that means the most to you?

There are many great moments and memories from that time. My World Championship title in 1995 was a breakthrough that opened doors for sponsorship and professional training. But the ESPN X Games was huge and being the first female athlete to win a silver medal at the X Games in San Diego in 1998 was for me the biggest achievement competition-wise. On a personal note, my best achievement was realizing the “perfect jump” in Chile. I jumped with a snowboard out of a helicopter and landed on the snow-covered crater of Villarica Volcano in Pucon. I cut away the parachute and continued snowboarding down the volcano.

Do you still skysurf?

Honestly after so many good times in the sport, it was hard to top my achievements and stay motivated. I started kitesurfing so I could spend more time on the water. I stopped skydiving in 2008, and haven’t regretted it since.

How has your skysurfing career affected how you live today?

I love to be in nature, and I recently moved back to Switzerland to live next to a lake. I love to be on, at or in the water, and I spend as much time in the mountains as I can. My son just started snowboarding after years of skiing, so I can’t wait to ride the snow with my boy! Being a mother surely has had a huge impact on my sports career and has changed the way I plan and organize my life now. Life has brought me so many adventures, and I try to enjoy every moment. I have learned that you can keep going, long after you think you can’t.

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