Nick Dauzat keeps it rad on the legendary Pine Creek. Photo: Rusinov

by Lacey Menkin

Some extreme action board of these sports have staying power: surfing, skateboarding or snowboarding for instance. Others, take waterskiing or rollerblading, have seen their heydays come and go. With wakeskating still in its youth, it’s important to consider what direction we want our sport to take to further become and remain a mainstay in the world of board sports.  Here are just a few ideas of how to keep wakeskating rad.

Think outside the box. If Jason Messer and Thomas Horrel hadn’t been willing to think outside of the box we’d all still be strapping in. And we didn’t get from “fresh water traction pads” to where we are now without a lot of help from people who were willing to open their minds up to new ideas that didn’t fit the current norm.

Keep finding new means of riding. The combination of the falling economy and the high cost of boats has pushed this sport in a lot of new directions: winch, system 2’s, cable and ski. It’s not a bad thing. In fact it’s arguable that the decrease in boat riding has given wakeskating the shove that it needed to grow away from wakeboarding and to focus more on adding a street-skate style into the works. It’s important that we keep finding new means of getting pulled on a wakeskate because it progresses the sport and makes it more accessible to more people.

Take boats out of the competition scene.
I love seeing video of people riding boat. I love being in the boat watching someone ride. And most of all, I love riding behind a boat. What I don’t love is trying to watch someone hit a 360 in rough water with a crowd of people who think wakeboarding is way cooler than wakeskating because the wakeboarders do flips. We need more contests pulled by system 2’s, more rail jams, and essentially more opportunities for people to actually SEE what wakeskating is, without having to use a pair of binoculars. Leave the professional boat riding for video sections and that will inspire boat companies to put more money into making some really good films. Everyone wins.

Try new tricks and if you land them, don’t try to name them yourself. Wakeskating is a technical sport. So far we’ve done a good job of carrying over the technical names for tricks from skateboarding. Keep it up. There’s no room for “twirlycocks” in wakeskating.

Make fun of yourself. It’s always surprised me how it’s the guys who are good — the top pros — who are the first to laugh at their own mistakes and the last ones to talk themselves up. And then there’s always that one amateur rider who’s so quick to list his bag of tricks for you or to put someone else down. Criticism is good, but only if you are able to take it as well as you dish it out. You have to be able to laugh at yourself once in a while! Everyone makes mistakes so you might as well enjoy your own. Stay humble as an individual, keep wakeskating humble as a sport.

Keep the smaller board companies alive. It’s absolutely necessary that big name riders keep riding for smaller companies. Don’t get me wrong, the big companies have just as sick of riders and boards. They bring in the publicity and the moolah. But competition is what capitalism is founded on, so we can’t let the big fish keep the little fish outta this pond. We cannot afford to let smaller companies die out. Options are always a good thing. And having multiple companies making multiple boards of varying size, shape material, and cost allows each of us to find a balance between what we want and how much we want to pay for it.

Keep writing hateful stuff on the message boards. If wakeskating ever wants to be considered a legit sport like skate or bmx or snow or whatever, the kids HAVE to keep posting ludicrous criticism and insults on the blogs. Every other sport does it and we should too. We don’t want other sports thinking we’re a bunch of intellectuals. Or even worse, a bunch of free-loving, tie-dye wearing hippies who don’t shower or cut their hair.

Respect. Respect killer riders. Respect different riding styles. Respect the photographers and filmers who spend countless hours shooting and editing. Respect women. They’re wakeskaters too. Respect your lake. Don’t pollute and clean up after yourself. A wakeskater’s lake is his castle. Respect wakeboarding. It’s its own sport. You don’t see skaters talking mad shit about surfers. They don’t have to. Skateboarding has proved itself. Wakeskating has its roots in wakeboarding, so respect those roots and have enough confidence in your sport to know that it is making a name for itself without having to put anybody else down. And most importantly, respect yourself.