Yesterday, I was sitting in the bar, watching that IAM TV station. Now I'm not sure if you’ve ever seen this, but it’s basically a station that only shows action sports (or extreme sports, I don’t know what they're calling it these days). Kind of like FuelTv except they show more obscure things that you probably didn’t even know was a sport. For example, I got a little tutorial on the wild world of pogo sticking. Yes, this does exist, and let me tell you the people are pretty darn good at it. I mean there were pogo stick races, jump contests, I even saw a couple guys try hitting some rails, no joke. Now far be it for me to hate on something as awesome as pogo sticking, because anyone who’s ever tried one of those knows how difficult it is. But the whole “sport” got me to thinking, what really makes a sport legit? I mean what makes it ok for me to laugh at something like under water basket weaving, yet find skateboarding the most legitimate sport out there.
Well my small and probably incorrect theory on this, is that it is about doing something entirely new. By that I mean not just taking an object (i.e. a basket) and doing something even more spectacular with it (i.e. weaving under water), but rather inventing something totally new (i.e. a wakeskate) and doing things that boggle even the most cynical persons mind (i.e. W2W frontside flip). That is what I think makes our sport so special. Were not strapping on our fruitboots because were too afraid to hit rails on our skateboard. And were certainly not picking up a pogo stick, just because we never knew how to ollie. We are doing something entirely unique, that I truly believe any outsider can respect. We took off our bindings and replaced them with shoes. I mean we actually downgraded the supplies and technology needed, and created a new, seemingly endless sport.
Basically my point in all this ranting is just to note that I think the sport is headed in a positive direction, very far away from wakeboarding, and I hope that doesn’t change anytime soon. Finally there are people out there worrying more about how there tricks look, rather then just mobbing them so they can have something to brag about. People are putting lines together instead of just trying varial flips 50 times in a row. Winchin is starting to become more and more prominent. And the biggest thing, people are starting to open new doors about what is truly possible on a wakeskate, like Walton with his footplant, or Chris Kallas with his crazy amount of flats biggerspins. These are all things that people just a short time ago would have thought nearly impossible, yet today, are all too real. And it is all of this progression that is truly going to help legitimize wakeskating, and seperate it from wakeboarding once and for all.
I saw an interview with Scott Byerly once in which they asked him why he wakeskated and he simply replied “Well, I can’t kickflip my wakeboard..” I think those few words say everything about our sport. It’s different, unique, and not just some kooky variation of wakeboarding. So lets keep it that way. Start thinking outside the box of what is truly possible instead of looking to others for guidance. Don’t learn late shuvs just because everyone is doing them, think of something new that is going to keep our sport alive. Jump on the trampoline, see what you can come up with. Get creative, because by going through the monotony of copying what everyone else has done, you’ve really accomplished nothing except making things that much more boring to watch. And the next time you think about trying that W2W backroll (don’t hate me Ross), just say to yourself “isn’t this just copying wakeboarding?”….