by Blake Terry
I was born just outside Mobile, in Bogalusa, LA, so I am no stranger to the Bayou, but I had never taken a trip to Louisiana that wasn’t directly motivated by Mardi Gras and/or shrimp. After meeting Ryan Lemons and hearing all about how great the riding down there was though, I finally escaped the doldrums of the retail jewelry biz to meet up with the Bayou Boys and take a much needed shred vacation.
The first day in Baton Rouge was pretty much perfect. We met up with Blake Steele and Josh Norman after they got out of school and headed to Fred’s to ride. I have never seen anyone ride like these kids in my life. Blake Steele is seriously one of the most underrated shredders out there. He went for a warm-up run that would make most pros glad he doesn’t travel to every event. I had never been so awestruck. We finished up the first day on the water with a few bangers from Josh and Ryan and I was already glad I’d made the trek down from Tennessee!
The next day Bret Little rolled in from Texas, but little did I know we’d be getting a lesson in the law rather than a fun session. Let me just say that before you go ride in unfamiliar waters make sure you are familiar with the local authorities and their expectations. While we were launching Ryan’s boat, I was taking my ski to the rails 20ft away from the launch, when a Bayou Patrol skiff comes FLYING at me. Not thinking anything about it, I beach my ski and proceed to try to get ashore.
Well this wasn’t your typical john boater from Louisiana. No, he was a cop. He comes up with an attitude and starts giving me an earful for not having my jacket zipped and buckled. He asks to run a safety check on me and in the back of my mind I was thinking, “registration, paddle, extinguisher, check, check, check. Have fun buddy.” Then he asks to see my jacket. It wasn’t Coast Guard approved. Where I’m from the cops don’t care, but here I got a nice little fine for having a non-CGA jacket.
The poor cop was struggling to stay on his power trip though, because I was being a nice guy. I made sure to ask him all the proper questions about needing a spotter and how far away do you have to be if we were chase filming. But it was a lost cause. He warned me that he would be patrolling and the area and we had to have a spotter and everyone needed approved jackets, and we had none. Day two was pretty much a bust.
The next day we had it all. Jackets, spotters, rails, jibs, cameras and shredders. The vibe in the bayou on a Saturday was pretty cool, and unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been. There were kids everywhere, all shredding behind johnboats. They respected each other’s lines, gave props, and definitely threw down. I have never gone anywhere to ride and felt so welcome.
My quick trip to the bayou was a total success. Be sure to keep your eyes on Ryan, Blake, and Josh. They have some new stuff that’s really going to make you think twice about the words “progression” and “fun.” I’d like to thank Lemons, Blake, Josh, Mitch, Bret, and the entire crew on the Amite River that made it such a special place to visit and shred.