Now that we don’t do issues and I don’t get to write Flick Off, I don’t really have a venue to express my deep thoughts on wakeskating. I am not entirely upset, as any editor will tell you that writing the opening editorial is the hardest part of any issue, but I do occasionally miss it. But as the editor I have made the executive decision to put these thoughts into a blog! Man, power is great!
For those of you who don’t know anything about me, I “came” from snowboarding. I started a website, Yobeat.com, when I was 15, where I said pretty much anything I thought or felt about snowboarding. I made some enemies, made some people laugh, but mainly just got noticed. Pretty soon I was working for some of the biggest snowboard magazines in the world. Through one of my jobs I met Bill McCaffray, publisher of Alliance, and he started asking me to write about wakeboarding. Having never wakeboarded, and having no interest in doing so, I repeatedly declined.
A few years later, I found myself working for the X Games. Summer rolled around and my boss asked what I knew about wakeboarding. Since the job was “research,” I said, nothing, but I can learn. I ended up at the Reno Pro Tour stop, and met Steve Schoenhals in line at the hotel. He had a skateboard attached to his backpack, so I asked if he wanted to go skate. That’s how it started. We went to the park with Collin Wright, who I was excite to learn lived in Oregon. At the park we ran into the DVS bus and the entire Cassette team, and I somewhat amazed at meeting some really cool people at the dorky wakeboard event.
When I got home I called up Bill and told him these wakeskate types are actually cool, and he simply replied, you should do wakeskate stuff for us. I came up with the idea for an online zine, and Alliance Wakeskate was born.
The main thing I like about wakeskating is that it reminds me of snowboarding when I first started. It was small, I knew everyone else who did it at my home mountain, and people were still trying to figure out how to do things and what was possible. Yeah, there were people who’d been doing it for 15-plus years, but most people hadn’t. Yeah, there were some politics but mostly it was just a fun thing to do. Of course, back then there were no message boards so if people wanted to object to something they had to actually write and mail a letter, but I’ll let you figure out if that was a good thing or not.
Now, 15 years later, snowboarding is nothing like it was when I started. Is it better or worse? Nope, just different. The same thing will happen to wakeskating. More people will do it, the industry will grow, people will get better at it, etc. For those who’ve been doing it from the start, at some point the sport will be almost unrecognizable. For the better? Depends on who you ask. But I guess the point of this little rant is that enjoy it now for what it is. In five years, enjoy it for what it’s become. And remember, it’s only wakeskating—a thing you do for fun. So if you are not having fun, try trick skiing.