Damien Adam is a 21-year-old intern at Feeding Children Everywhere, who just so happens to also be a professional wakeboarder ranked among top 10 wakeboarders in the world! How awesome is that? Today, we are putting Damien, also known as “Vicious Mauritius,” in the spotlight to learn about his wakeboarding career, his time at FCE as a Fall 2016 Logistics intern, and what it’s like to balance both worlds.
Q: How long have you been wakeboarding, and where did it all begin?
A: I began wakeboarding nine years ago in 2007. My journey began when I was visiting Boca Raton, FL and decided to give wakeboarding a try. I ended up liking it so much that I brought a wakeboard back to Mauritius, my old hometown off the coast of Madagascar.
Q: You are commonly known as “Vicious Mauritius” in the wakeboarding world, why is that?
A: The name started to develop when I began winning competitions against competitors that no one really expected me to to defeat. People began to say I was “vicious,” in terms of wakeboarding and my capabilities, and it just so happened to rhyme perfectly with my hometown name Mauritius, so the name stuck pretty well.
Q: According to wakeboardsite.com, you have had the opportunity to travel all over the world to compete in wakeboard competitions, even as far as South Korea. What has been your favorite location for a competition so far, and why?
A: I think Portugal was my favorite because the landscape was so beautiful. I arrived there three days before I had to compete so I had the opportunity to explore the coast. The competition venue was also the most beautiful one we had all year, it was located right at the bottom of canyons with crystal clear water.
Q: What is your favorite part about wakeboarding?
A: My favorite part about wakeboarding has to be all the opportunities it has given me to travel. I get to see and experience so much that I would not be able to if not for it, and for that I am beyond grateful.
Q: You have competed in some huge wakeboarding events ranging all the way to the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS! Out of all of the events you have competed in, which faced you with the most challenges?
A: I would have to say that competing in the Dominican Republic was the toughest of my competition experiences. The water was really rough which made it challenging to set up the right timing for hitting the wake to do certain tricks, etc.
Q: What inspired you to become an FCE intern?
A: So, I actually stumbled upon the FCE intern application on accident when I was looking around at different companies that would be good to work for. I thought FCE went along with the way I thought and what I wanted to do with my life. Out of all the companies I looked into, FCE was my favorite because it was a non-profit and that was the type of sector I was interested in. Thankfully, I think I made the right decision because the time I have spent with FCE thus far has been a blessing.
Q: What is your favorite part about FCE?
A: It’s probably a mixture between the people and the work environment. The work environment is laid back, yet whenever you have a huge workload it’s not hard to find motivation when you remember the impact you’re making feeding all those kids.The interns and staff are encouraged to connect with colleagues on daily basis. Every time I come into the office I am always greeted with friendly enthusiasm. I think friendliness and enthusiasm are encouraged at FCE more so than most other work environments, and that is something I really appreciate.
Q: What did you hope to accomplish by becoming an FCE intern?
A: When I first started with FCE, I was seeking an internship to add to my my major, international business, and to learn professional skills in the workplace. I also wanted to to be more comfortable in the workplace and prepare to take on a professional career and develop myself in areas other than wakeboarding.
It’s great to be in the Logistics department because I get to have a hands-on experience working with professionals, and it feels great to be doing it for such an awesome cause. It may not have been the most effective internship for my major in general, but it was most definitely the best choice for my own personal growth.
Q: How was growing up in Mauritus? Was it a huge culture shock when you moved to the U.S.?
Yes, I experienced an absolute culture shock. I grew up in a place where you never had more than two lanes on one side of the road. Everyone knew each other in my village, and people in Mauritius share a completely different perspective. It’s a much faster pace of living here in the U.S. because of the rapid growth in things like technology. I had never even drove a car before I moved to the US when I was 17.
Q: Who or what is your greatest inspiration in life?
In life.. Hmmm. I think it would have to be my mom. She is really just so hard working. As a kid she would come home after working all day to take care of me and my siblings and never complained once.
She is also the one who let me fulfill my dream to become a wakeboarder and made it possible. When I first picked up a liking for wakeboarding, she gave me both the funding and permission I needed to move to the U.S. and pursue my dream. She has always been the one to push and inspire me.
Q: Any advice for aspiring wakeboarders?
- Never let a bump in the road like a crash or broken knee discourage you. The most successful people keep pushing through every obstacle that they have, and I am living proof because I’ve already broken both of my ankles from wakeboarding accidents. If you want something bad enough, you should not let any obstacles stop you.
- Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Many people told me I couldn’t be a professional wakeboarder, and a few years later I proved them wrong and was ranked in the top 10 in the world. So I would hope that my story would give my fellow wakeboarders the inspiration to follow your their dreams no matter who tries to tell them that it isn’t possible. Nothing is impossible.