Fun Boots! in St Petes
The trip was winding to a close and there was only more stop left before our inevitable return home: St. Petersburg. Maybe it was destined to be that St. Pete would be the ender to this whole extravaganza, because this seemed to be the place where the craziest stuff of the trip went down. Nick was now a full time member of our winching crew, and with the help of locals Kyle McCutcheon and Tad Mathews we were ready to hit some spots. The first gap was a long dam across a tidal canal, meaning the gap gets higher or lower depending on the tide. The curved shape of the dam made it possible to throw a trick down it then another one back up. Luckily for us, it was at the perfect height to do just that, and Nick and Andrew were all about it. Nick has got some serious switch ups, and Drew was getting tech as ever. The footage came out really good; it was a straight up urban spot for lines, surely not your every day find. Ben decided to really get wild and waxed the top of the dam in order to make an attempt to ride up the dam like a bank, grind the top, then drop back down. We fashioned a tool for scraping barnacles off the dam wall with a chisel, a ski pole we found in a dumpster in Fort Lauderdale, and some duct tape (check out what else we used it for when you see Nick’s name in the teaser). After clearing out a spot Ben started riding up the slimy banked dam wall and getting closer and closer to the top every time. When he finally got on top of it we all heard the all familiar sound of a wakeskate sticking to cement. Luckily Ben muscled through it and rode away (there’s a reason we call him Dirty Dog), and it didn’t stop him and Nick from continuing to have fun on the wallride.
We packed up and cruised down the street to a similar gap, but this one was a little bigger of a drop and had a huge lake on one side dumping into it and a busy street right next to it. The spot was a little sketchy, but despite stingray sightings and some blustery seas we were still able to take advantage of some of the many metal poles sticking out over the gap. We wrapped up and headed back to the sailboat we were staying on for the night to give take some rides on the “boatsman’s chair.” The Chair is something that gets hooked onto a line on the top of the sailboat and then cranked up as high as you’d like up the mast. Definitely good for a prank when you realize you can leave your buddies stranded up there for as long as your mercy allows you.
The next morning we got going to check out a BIG gap around Tampa. Ben and Andrew took the long hike to scope it out while the rest of us stayed behind. They returned with reports of a really big, really gnarly drop approaching the ten foot mark. We decided to move down the street to this little three footer in a nearby park. A couple of tricks were put down, but right when the boys were starting to get it dialed we got booted by a security guard who was delighted to inform us with a smile that “the cops are on their way.”
After getting the heck out of that place it was decided we should get in some serious M-Gap time. Ben and Andrew got a couple tricks in going down the gap, and even Roland grabbed on the handle for a bit and stomped a perfect ollie out of that monster. We decided it was about time to get a little frisky and wax up the side of the top pool, which was sticking up out of the water about eight inches, creating a perfect skinny cement ledge for us to slide across then drop down the gap. I was really blown away by how good this worked, and also just the idea of how much this could probably work elsewhere. There is very likely a huge handful of completely hittable cement ledges that not that many people have started recognizing until now. But let me say that I have learned cement is your friend. Go get yourself a big fat candle from the pharmacy and go to town on that bad boy.
When we finally all piled back in the car after our very last winch pull of the trip was granted, I think Ben said it best when he told us all, “That was a winch trip and a half.” We were all wore out, tired, and ready for some rest. We had been getting up early, driving for hours, and dragging around winches for nearly a week straight, every single day. It was absolutely amazing and one of the most carefree and fun experiences of the whole video, not to mention some of the single most progressive wakeskating I have ever witnessed. With guys like Ben Horan, Andrew Pastura, and Nick Taylor at the forefront of where this sport is going, wakeskating’s future looks promising as ever. This trip and the stuff that happened in it seem to be what Fun Boots! is all about: having fun and pushing what is possible on a wakeskate.