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Interview with Krista Maki-Zurn, Pro WaterX Racer

SO EXCITED TO FINALLY GET TO BLOG THIS… Krista Maki-Zurn is a professional WaterX Racer and I got to interview her! 

She’s a very interesting, fun, outgoing person with a free spirit. Much like myself… So it was a pleasure to have had the chance to do this… Thank you Krista! 


1) What prompted you to get into watercross?

My husband, Shawn Zurn, is a Pro WaterX racer and he is the one who got me started. He owns the team we race on, GLH Performance. 

2) How many years have you been racing watercross?

This will be my 6th yr of racing this summer. I started in 2009.

3) Which class do you race?

I have always raced the 800 drag class, although for years, people have been telling me to race ovals. I had planned on racing both drags and ovals last season, but we found a few things to work out with my new motor and it took longer than expected! We got it all figured out, so this season I will go do drags and then also oval classes. They just implemented a Women’s 800 Open oval class this season, so I will definitely be running that, along with the other oval classes in Semi-Pro.  VERY EXCITED! 

4) What do you have to do to prepare for a race? 

We spend A LOT of time out setting things up at the shop and A LOT of time testing out at the practice pond.  (Probably more than most people do) We are starting on the following year’s race season the day AFTER the last race of the season. Everyone who knows us, knows we are 110% dedicated to what we do! 

5) Do you have any superstitions/things that you personally have to do before a race?

(laughing) Yes. I have pretty much been drinking the same concoction for years: Mt Dew+ five hour energy mixed(EEEK!!). My husband usually warms my sled up on the stand as I prep my lane and then he drives it to the line. We exchange the SAME words every time I take the tether from him and I tap my feet on the boards a certain # of times as I am getting on the sled. It is funny because we don’t do anything like this at practice, it is just our “thing” at a race. 

6) If you had to listen to a song to get pumped up before a race, what song would you choose?
I don’t have just 1 song, I have a FEW songs by Five Finger Death Punch that are totally “get in the moment” tunes for me. 

7) Are you an avid snowmobiler? Do you race on snow as well? 

We spent a lot of time this winter out riding! I purchased a sled for snow in October so Shawn and I could get out riding when we had time. I have had offers to go and jump on sleds to go try racing in winter, but I think I will stick to waterX. Most every year, Shawn and I have MORE miles on our waterX race sleds than we would on snow. 

8) What kind of modifications do sleds go through to be qualified to race watercross?

It isn’t hard, but it is time consuming. There is a few things you always do, like you remove the seats, gas tanks. Myself, have a seat just for waterX that doubles as a buoy that pops up if I were to sink (Everyone needs to run a buoy on a rope so the retriever can pull your sled up) On the H2O, We run about a 1.25” track, put on C&A Pro Mini Skis, seal everything up so water doesn’t get in. Run a different type of gas tank (smaller and won't leak) There are different things you can do to your motors, depending on the rules for the classes you run. 

9) How often do sleds sink? Have you ever gone under? 

Sleds sink ALL OF THE TIME. That is a part of this sport. Yup, I have sunk before! I definitely TRY not to. Haha  

10) After the sled sinks, how long does it usually take to drain everything and have it ready for the next qualifier?

The retriever comes and picks you up and hauls you back to your trailer and most of the time, a sled can be dried out and ready to run again in no time. Some people even have it to where they have crank drains on their sleds and have their sled almost ready to go by the time they hit shore on the retriever! 

11) What is the most difficult part of racing on water with a sled?

Well, they do NOT FLOAT. I have people ask me that all of the time. Our course is changing CONSTANTLY out on the water, so you can go from something as smooth as glass, to huge, choppy waves in no time. It is definitely one of the most extreme forms of snowmobile racing! 

12) What engine size is required to race water cross? Same as snow?

We have classes that range from 600 Stock drags, all the way up to 800 mods. We have some insanely fast sleds out on the water! 

13) Do you have a specific brand sled you prefer to ride? 

I am brand loyal to Ski-Doo.

14) Does brand/model matter when it comes to snow vs. water? 

A lot of people like Ski-Doo on the water. It does seem to do VERY WELL out there, but I always try to tell people…it is A LOT of the rider as well. I have seen other racers ride other brands and with their style of riding, they could probably pull it off on any brand. 

15) Is it still called a snowmobile in the sport, or is there another “name” for watercross sleds?

Nope. Watercross sled works. My sled actually has a name, “Christine” , like the Stephen King Book, lol. She has a mind of her own sometimes.

16) How many females race water cross vs. male? And do you race vs. male or just female?
There is definitely A LOT more men in the sport than there are females. I have sometimes been the only girl at a race. I have raced a couple of girls, but it has mainly been men I have been on the line with. 

17) How many races do you compete in per year?

This year we will have 6 races with the IWA circuit my team and I will race at. Ever since I have started, I race EVERY race on the schedule. I never miss ONE! 

18) When is your next race? 

First race actually is in June! June 7-8th in Moose Lake, MN. I am SO EXCITED to get out to our practice pond though soon!! 

19) What’s the largest race you’ve been in? Are there any other races you’d want to compete in that you haven’t yet? 

I like to treat EVERY race as if it is the biggest, but probably the largest race for a waterX racer is Grantsburg, which is the World Championship of WaterX. It is held every July in Grantsburg, WI. Watercross racers will come all different areas to compete. I have been lucky enough to make the final there the last 4 yrs (out of the 5 yrs I have raced so far). And I actually won the final in 2010 (my 2nd yr ever of racing), making me the 1st female World Champion of waterX in our circuit’s history. (Which was pretty darn cool!)  Besides being the biggest race, it is an AMAZING time and so fun to meet some of the people you see on Facebook or Twitter. Excited that we will have some more of the East Coast WaterX people heading on over to compete this season!!! I definitely wouldn’t mind getting out to Epping, NH at least one time. And going overseas to go race with some waterX friends over there would be AMAZING!

20) What does one need to know in order to become a water cross racer? Advice…

I tell a lot of people to come out and watch a race. Before you know it, they are either a fan for life, or building a sled to come out and race also! Our sport is very inviting to people coming in and checking out how we set things up and I know my team and I are always open to people asking us questions.  I encourage ANYONE that wants to get into this sport, to do so. I believe we can never have enough people out there competing.  I honestly think it is one of the biggest adrenaline rushes ever and I look forward to every year to start practicing and then racing. It is a huge part of our (me and my husband’s) lives, I can’t imagine NOT doing this!

My husband, Shawn Zurn, Team GLH Performance and GLH Performance Dyno Service
CandA Pro Skis
The Great Outdoors Bait and Tackle
509 films
US Chrome 
The Pump House Bar and Grill 
Sled Bitch Apparel
TEAM Industries/ TEAM Aftermarket
Klotz (Tams Racing Products) 
Williams Mountain Maintenance and Construction 
Wausau Crossfit
Project Mayhem Power sports 
Beaver Liquors
Sled Descent 
Midwest Sledders
Sledhead Racing
Fox Racing Shox
US Army

Until next time… (Interview with Snowmobile Patrol Officers)
… aaaand that’s a braaaap!! 

Find Krista on Facebook!

Team Page:

Team Website:

IWA Racing

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