My family has always been on the water. My parents were both water skiers at Sea World and Cypress Gardens while we were growing up, and I was only 6 months old when I first put on skis.
While growing up, the only thing more influential for me than water skiing was my family’s faith in God. My parents were excellent examples, leading us in the way of Christ. As a result, my own relationship with Christ was always something I treasured.
I first discovered wakeboarding as it entered the world of water sports in the 1990s, and I immediately fell in love with it. It was only a few years later that I started winning world championships. And at age 15, I went pro.
Traveling the world with a group of teenagers made for a pretty wily crew. During these years, I got caught up in the chase to win, to be accepted. I joined in with my peers, focusing much more on partying than my faith. I felt like even though I was partying along with them, I was still a better person because I had Jesus as my failsafe.
Meanwhile, I wasn’t living the life He was calling me to. It took me a few years, and a personal awakening, to understand this. I finally realized that I was done with the heartache. I was done trying to find acceptance in money, titles and fame without ever being fulfilled. There was a gap in the joy I wanted to feel and the joy I was gaining through accomplishments. From that moment on, my aim was to be more Christlike on tour.
This mindset shift didn’t change my results. I didn’t start winning more competitions, but I did have a lot more joy and peace in it all. I could compete and it didn’t matter what the results were. My circumstances used to determine my attitude and, in turn, affect everyone around me, but that wasn’t the case anymore. I now had the peace and joy of Christ because I knew all the glory would go to Him.
My favorite verse is Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” I cling to this verse because this is exactly what I need to be reminded of daily. I need to trust in Him regardless of how I feel or what I desire.
Though I no longer compete, I’m still on the water every day. I have a different vantage point now as a coach and pro tour driver. I’ve been training many of today’s top wakeboarders for many years now, most of whom have no faith background, and some of whom come from countries where church is not very prevalent. What keeps my faith fresh is sharing the love of God with these young athletes, praying they experience the richness of His grace as I have.
— Trevor Hansen, coach and former professional wakeboarder
The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.