Leigh Fulkerson plays polo — possibly the world’s first extreme sport — in and around Austin, Texas. She also spends a ton of time wakesurfing behind her Nautique G23 on Lake Austin. We asked her about both kinds of riding. — Pete McDonald
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What traits help you excel at polo?
Polo is like a huge game of chess with a healthy dose of hockey. Throw in a little tennislike hand-eye coordination too.
What’s the biggest rush from playing it?
Just sitting on a 1,000-pound animal is a rush all in itself. Add seven other players, a big stick (mallet) and a little white ball — all at around 35 mph.
When did you start wakesurfing?
I started four summers ago. When we got the G23, I really started spending some time on the water. And when I say time, I mean I’ve put 987 hours on it in four years.
Can you compare riding a polo pony to a wave?
They’re more similar than you would think. Both are unpredictable and take balance and a ton of core strength.
Looks like you have a lot of fun on the water.
We started the trend of the party wave. We were the first to surf doubles and triples behind a wakeboat. Our crowning achievement is four girls on four boards and no rope.