Sierra Nowlan grew up with a waterski strapped to her foot.
The athletic teenager from Salt Ash began waterskiing with her family on Williams River near Raymond Terrace at 2 years old.
Following in the footsteps of her older sister Karina Nowlan, a professional waterskier and former world number one, Sierra stuck with the sport.
After enjoying many years of social skiing, in 2016 Sierra began competing.
Now the 15 year old is currently ranked 14th in the world for the under-18 women’s slalom and is a member of Australia’s under-17 Australian waterski squad.
“She has always slalomed and tricked and occasionally jumped skied for fun, but only started competitively in 2016,” Sierra’s mother, Katherine Nowlan, said.
“Very quickly she began achieving high scores.”
At her first NSW State Titles in 2016 Sierra finished first in the under-14 girls slalom.
She also broke the Australian record skiing four buoys on a 12m line at 52km/hr.
Then at her first Australian titles the same year Sierra won the under-14 girls slalom event and equalled her then own Australian record.
Her accomplishments and commitment to training were recognised and she was selected for the Australian junior squad.
The Junior World Championships will be held at Sesena, Spain in August 2018.
The squad currently consists of 10 but will be cut to six.
The six heading to Spain will be announced at the Australian titles in Goondawindi at Easter 2018.
With the aim to make the six heading to Spain, all competitions between now and Easter are important to Sierra.
She is aiming to move into the world top 10 ranked skiers, which would enable her to qualify as an independent skier for the championship event.
At a tournament in Port Macquarie on November 11, Sierra increased her top 10 chances by posting a new personal best of three buoys at 55km/hr.
Her former PB was two buoys on a 12m line at 55km/hr, achieved during a tournament in the United States earlier in 2017.
For the past two years during June and July – Australia’s winter – the teen has travelled to Florida, where the waters are warmer and skiing is popular, to train and compete in tournaments.
Back home, Sierra travels from Salt Ash or Heatherbrae where she attends high school to Myuna Bay, Lake Macquarie each week to train.
On weekends she treks two-and-a-half hours up the highway to Port Macquarie to train at Stoney Park Water Ski Park.
Sierra’s next tournament will be in Port Macquarie on December 16 where she is looking to post high scores and elevate her ranking.