by Kevin Westendorf
devotid Wakeskates kicked off its 2008 season with a long road trip to enjoy some warm southern weather. It was our first chance to get the whole team together for some riding, testing and photos all in one place. So we set out to test out a couple new wakeskate concoctions weve been working on over the long Michigan winter. We packed up the eco friendly hydrogen powered devotid van, as the fresh orange paint was still drying under the new bitch’n graphics. A quick run down of the check list. music……check, new concaves…..check, new pulldozer winch…..check, skateboards…….check, a safe place for Oury to sit…….. well, not yet.
We left Michigan friday night at 11:30 PM on my my 30th birthday, which would put us at the Standerd Issue release shindig the following day with just enough time to stop, fuel and browse the truck stops for road gear and silly hats. Myself, my wife Jackie and team rider Oury Yarbrough from Austin, Texas , made the 20 hour journey from the devotid shop in Saginaw to meet up with Frye, another devotid team rider based in Orlando. Upon arrival we settled into the apartment/ wakeskate hotel that Frye and his roomate T.J. have, equipped with comfy couches and shifty internet. We also solved the safe place for Oury to sit ordeal with a great find at the local recycling center. a beatuiful prestained and stunkified couch that fit in the van as if it where fate. The only thing missing now was our newest addition to the team, Brandon Rau. We thought where else would you find the homeless lurker himself in Orlando on a saturday night? Why the standerd issue 2.1 release party with free bulls and booze of course. The team took advantage of the gratuitus rope time provided by the Standerd crew and rode till the cables stopped and then rode some more before we got booted for winching the place during the fun boots short rope extravaganza.
The next morning came quite fast and before we knew it we were on Marcus Knox’s boat. We cant thank the Knox family enough for all they did, and letting us get some pulls behind the family vessle. Don’t let this younsters age fool you, his style is that of a crafty veteran. Thank you Marcus.
After a week skating the Orlando scene and capturing a ton of digital moments in time the team packed up the van once again to head out on the road. This time the destination: shark country. We headed to the Florida Keys to meet up with the newest shop on the devotid dealer list, the Otherside Board Shop in Islamorada, Key West, Florida. Check these guys out for the thickest wakeskate selection around. Riding in Key West, we found shredding salt water, is quite the experience. Sighting more than 6 sharks within 20 feet of riders, the mood was electric. It’s amazing how much more you want to land something when the thought of getting snacked on lingers in your head as you catch a shuv. I see now why Danny Hampson is so damn consistant. Big thanks to those guys and Bobby for hooking us up like they did.
With the camera’s memory cards filled to the max and our bodies severly burned from the tretchorous Florida sun, we rammed the van full once again and headed back up to Orlando to squeeze in some more ski sets at the Pastura/Hanson household on Lake Nan. To actually meet more guys like this pushing the stoke of the sport and then for them to share it with us is what i think wakeskating is all about. Thanks again and high five!
With the van all spec’d out, sporting its new indoor living room accomadations. We headed north to Jacksonville to meet up with photographer and part-time barbeque magician Jake Sloan. We spent the next morning with Steve Campell and Steph Wamsley for a lazy day of beach winching on Jax beach. But don’t think for one second anything about Steve’s beach winching is lazy– he battled nasty surf to get the best waves and slayshes of the day. After another long day in the sun we headed back to Jacksonville and enjoyed a final feast in preparation for the long haul home. After a tweak on the HHO eco-friendly thinga-ma-bob on the van’s engine, we set off back to Michigan.
Having such a great time in Florida came pretty easy for this trip and a big thanks goes out to the people with riding setups who opened there fridges and front doors to our team. We cant thank them enough for setting us up the way they did. It’s amazing when someone who appretiates what they have, opens it up for others to enjoy out of love for wakeskating.
Keep your eye out for details on the new Movement V2 composite concaves we tested throughout the trip. With the addition of our new team riders Brandon Rau, Frye, the new skate dropping soon and a new devotid clothing line, 2008 is shaping up to be a excellent year.