Josh Sanders’ father loved to fish. His older brother was a surfer. Young Josh spent his summers tagging along with both of them, fishing out of tinnies and catching the waves his brother let him have. Perhaps then it was inevitable Sanders would combine the sports, riding his brother’s surfboard behind the back of his dad’s old tinnie on his way to secret fishing spots.Once he learnt the mechanics of balancing behind a slow moving boat on a surfboard with no foot straps, riding a wakeboard behind a wakeboarding speedboat felt far too easy. That’s when Josh Sanders learnt to fly, and he hasn’t stopped since, amazing the wakeboarding fraternity with tricks they don’t even have names for.
But the road has not been easy. Pain will always play a big part in a sport where a rider is pulled behind a speeding boat on a tiny piece of fibreglass. Sanders has broken more ribs than he cares to remember, busted his AC joints in his shoulders, wrecked his ankle, broken most of his fingers and had more concussions than your average middle-weight boxer. “My knee was the worst because it took me a full six months till I get out on the water again,” he says. “Ironically, I was riding on the Hawkesbury River at a charity event to raise money for another wakeboarder who had to have ankle surgery. I stacked badly and had to have major surgery and go through six months of painful physiotherapy.
"that’s part of the fun of it, but you can’t let it play with your mind, once you recover physically you get straight back out there.” Come hell or high water, Sanders hopes to compete for at least another five years yet and the wakeboarding world is lucky to have him.