Let us introduce Maria Jorlén, our first instagram host for High Heaven’s Instagram Inspiration Initiative, where we let kickass athletes and organizations take over our account for 7 days, posting their images and stories.
Maria is a wakeboarder who recently turned her passion into her dayjob and became an entrepreneur running Malmö Wake Park together with her husband in the south of Sweden- something she doesn’t regret doing at all!
Maria has been a great inspiration to a lot of girls and women in the Swedish action sports scene, so she was a given name on the list when thinking of people to contact for this project!
What made you get in to action, extreme or adventure sports?
“I’ve never really considered them as action, extreme or adventure sports, just simply as sports I like to do. I started waterskiing when I was 7, and later continuing with snowboarding, skateboarding and wakeboarding.”
Tell us what a normal day in your life looks like?
“I wake up, eat breakfast, answer emails and take it a bit easy at home before we drive in to work at Malmö Wake Park.”
Would you say that you are living your dream life as an entrepreneur in the industry? Why or why not?
“Working with my own project and for myself is a dream and especially working with spreading the joy of wakeboarding to so many people. But as someone said to me the other day “being an entrepreneur means getting paid in experience”, which is true now in the beginning. But I would never consider doing anything else! One day all the hard work will pay off.”
What adventure is next on your bucketlist?
“We’re heading down to Turkey for a week at Hipnotics. It’s a cable park I’ve been wanting to visit for many years!”
What’s your worst/best/most intense moment related to action sports?
“Probably my worst/most intense moment related to action sports is when I hit my head on the kicker and fainted straight away landing face down in the water. Luckily my Baywatch husband swam out and rescued me.
My best moment is almost every time out on the water with friends. I get so filled with joy and feel so proud of myself, challenging myself to try new things and having fun at the same time.”
What/Who is you favorite initiative, project, professional, leader, athlete or brand in the action sports sphere?
Nordic Wake Girls is an initiative which I started in December 2014 together with two girls I admire a lot, Trudi Andersen and Elin Ferm. They ride, not to become the best, but because they really love it. Their focus is more on personal achievement instead of comparing themselves with other riders. With them it’s always a fun time on the water and they strive to share the stoke with others!”
Who is your biggest inspiration in life? Why?
“My parents and my husband are a big inspiration for me. My dad has been an entrepreneur his whole life and has taught me a lot along the way. My mom is smart, realistic and caring person who I can call any hour of the day for advise and comfort. My husband for having taught me to always see solutions instead of problems.”
What do you think of the lack of role models for girls and women in male dominated areas?
“There are plenty of different inspirational riders on international level with different styles. But the ones that inspire me most are the girls who ride at my local park. They are mainly beginners and challenge themselves every time they go out on the water to learn new things. I love their positive attitude and great spirit. It reminds me of why I started wakeboarding and it’s also what keeps me going. So I don’t think that there’s a lack of role models, it’s simply how you choose to see it!”
How do you see women evolving in the action sports scene?
“I can only speak for my local wakeboarding scene since that’s the one I’m familiar with and I see a huge increase in women and girls getting hooked on wakeboarding.”
What are your hopes for the future of the industry?
“I have high hopes for the future! Action sports are becoming more normalized in society and not seen as something extreme and something only daredevils can do. This contributes to an increased amount of people participating in the different action sports.”
Do you have a feature or body part that you have been self-conscious about? Do you think low self-esteem in girls and stereotypes in media are connected?
“I see the body as a tool for being able to wakeboard and function in everyday life. I am happy if it’s healthy and strong and my focus is to exercise to avoid injuries.”
Is there a difference in how women and men are portrayed in the action sports industry?
“Yes! A male athlete would never get the two above questions!”
What would you say to people who want to get in to action sports, but think they might not fit in?
“I’ve always been welcomed with open arms no matter if it’s been at a cable park or a skatepark. So just be yourself and you’ll fit in.”
What is your number one tip to other girls and women who wants to to have a career in the action sports scene or wants to start their own companies?
“If you believe in your idea and product, work hard and don’t give up! Eventually it will pay off! I’m looking forward to read and take part of stories from other girls in action sports. High Heaven is a great and exciting initiative!”
Find Malmö Wake Park on the High Heaven map: