A Toast to Wakeskating
Dear wakeskaters of the universe,
Let’s please take a deep breath and lift our glasses to each other for a moment. Here’s to two thousand ten. Here’s to the sewers across America. And here’s to a glorious new year for wakeskating. Let’s hear that sigh of relaxation. Am I the only one who feels like these days we are starting to reap the benefits of all our hard work? As far as riding goes, it feels safe to say that the majority of wakeskaters comprehend and appreciate the idea of style and riding respectably. You can not be more pleased with the way that wakeskating is looking each new day, and the crops of incoming kids getting access to the sport is more than promising. The days of style debates and fin crusades have passed (many riders proved fins don’t matter….but remember how big of a deal it used to be???), and we are communally enjoying the benefits of a shared appreciation for “good wakeskating when we see it.” Cheers.
I was asked to write about where I think wakeskating is at right now and where it may be going. That’s, of course, no easy task. Especially considering the little “wake vacation” I have been on for the past year after finishing a full length movie and recovering from two surgeries (with a third staring me in the face). The time I did find myself on the water between injuries I was ecstatic with the rediscovery of the simplest joys of wakeskating. How good it felt just to ride! To be free from the responsibilities of day to day life, and for just that time on the water to be able to think about nothing but the board under your feet. Wakeskating is one of the most liberating feelings, and I was quickly reminded of why we all fell in love with it to begin with.
But if we want to get serious, I think it’s relatively safe to say that the community of wakeskating is at a standard agreement of how wakeskating should/could look, and how to get it there. Photographers like Brian Soderlind and Josh Letchworth and films like Aquafrolics have successfully showcased for us the incredible stylistic capabilities that wakeskating possesses and the acute differences that are inherent between it and wakeboarding. Hell, we must be doing something right if the hit crew in the strapper market winches all day and sports tie dyes!
And when it all comes down to it, and you’re driving to go ride, and you finally get your shoes on, and it’s all quiet before the engine starts… wakeskating opens itself up and takes you in. It is an inherently natural and soulful activity that we should be sensitive enough not to defile. We are lucky enough to have our little sport to keep us happy, and we should be proud because wakeskating has a damn lot of potential, and I hope I’m not the only one to think that. I get excited thinking about what these times might mean to riders ten years from now. Considering what seems to be a general communal verdict about our sport, it almost is as though this is the end of a long “beginning” of wakeskating, and we have arrived somewhere. Somewhere substantial and agreeable. Call me crazy.
If you stop and think about the progression that wakeskating has achieved in the last ten years, it really is mind blowing. Consider the tricks that were only dreamed of back then. Most of them are being done down gaps by now, a concept in itself that was imaginary in wakeskating’s beginnings. Companies that can really help wakeskating grow into fruition and create opportunities for the sport are backing our athletes strongly and in turn helping the sport grow as a whole. Thinking about what wakeskating has accomplished and evolved into really makes me excited for the future. Tomorrow is looking better and better. Where we go from here is up to us.