This is the Reason article from the May issue of Alliance, written by Matt Manzari. Matt’s insights into wakeskating are unique and we are sure you’ll enjoy what he has to say.
Everyone has a passion. More times than not though that passion includes a vision ending in personal gain. But what happens when you put the passion you love in front of yourself? Place the cause in front of your personal goals, needs, and wants. Take a step back to watch others step forward and be a part of something much more important than you ever thought possible when you were just playing around on some board that you couldn’t get enough of.
Reed Hansen’s passion lead him to pour his blood, sweat, tears, and bank account into building Battle Falls. The sport has changed and progressed immeasurably because of it. Photo: Garrett Cortese
Why is it that wakeskating has defined itself like never before in the last few years? Why has the response and respect for the products, media coverage, contests, and every aspect of wakeskating been so monumental in such a short period of time? To put it simply: the riders! The riders have taken their sport and begun to mold it into what they love. Last week I woke up and called my best friend Reed, but could hardly tell it was him through the raspy, sick voice on the other end. He continued to tell me how he was out at the Projects, hours after midnight working on the Toe Jam set up for The Wakeskate Tour. Don’t most sports have teams that are hired to build stuff like this? Plus, didn’t Reed just take his own money and dump it into an insane setup last year to create Battle Falls? Wait a second, let’s keep going back; I remember it wasn’t long ago that I was at Ben’s house for a month laying sod and clearing ground with his entire family. Isn’t Donna Horan doing enough by letting us hang around, build pools, concrete skate things, and whatever else we want, that she shouldn’t be out there laying sod for Retention? Even before that, Ben wanted to give kids a chance to hit a pool who never had before, so he built Raging Pull, a full day where anyone could ride and it wasn’t about winning, but sharing wakeskating. This cycle keeps going, all the way to Scott Byerly wanting to hit a gap with his friends on his birthday.
Ben Horan built Retention not for himself, but so that others could experience riding a pool gap/drop setup. The sport has changed and progressed immeasurably because of it. Photo: Garrett Cortese
What about the actual act of wakeskating? That’s an area to focus on yourself and your vision for your riding, right? Well the Pastura brothers didn’t think so. Don’t get me wrong, those boys love to ride and it’s obvious when watching them, but they focused on building boards they love by starting their own company. Speaking of that, what’s going on with Silas Thurman? I mean I love the guy but, has he lost it? First he dumps a bunch of his time and money into starting a board company, then takes his personal van and sends a bunch of hippie wakeskaters around the country in it, knowing they will probably trash it. To top it all off, he tries to build a tour where wakeskaters can hit cool stuff in a jam session format, all with almost no return to him. What happened to self-centered athletes looking out for themselves?
Silas Thurman went out on a limb to follow his passion of wakeskating and started Remote. He then got a van his team could tour around in to spread the gospel of the sport, and the sport has changed and progressed immeasurably because of it. Photo: Garrett Cortese
I think we are finally getting somewhere in this search for what happened in wakeskating. Selflessness happened; riders putting the future of wakeskating, and helping others to experience the sport, ahead of just landing tricks. I remember when Reed and I were just learning how to shuv out off the lip. We watched Sfumato every morning to get pumped to ride, never imagining this is where wakeskating would be today!
Smashing my face on the rocks last year forced me to step back and slow down a little. It drove me to watch from a distance and see where our sport was going. I had time to witness the progression that was taking place. This whole time I’ve been talking about the construction of wakeskating and what’s solidifying the foundation. As a result, we’ve seen more new creative tricks go down in the last couple years than in any other year of wakeskating’s history. Each contribution is allowing riders to have opportunities like never before. Seeing a kickflip to front board get beat out by a kickflip back lip didn’t even seem real. I thought I was at a skateboard contest! It wasn’t too long ago that a backlip could win at a gap contest, or a flats bigspin could be a full-page shot. Now everyone is seeing the progression and motivated by it. This is allowing wakeskating to take bigger strides than ever before. It’s amazing to see everyone harnessing their strengths to help wakeskating move forward. Our sport is becoming so dynamic and unique it’s amazing. Whether you’re a skateboarder who loves to winch, an old wakeboarder sick of bindings, or even a rider who came from the cable like Leo or Daniel Grant, it doesn’t matter. All those backgrounds are contributing to where we are today. Many of the key contributions have been in the works for a while and finally, it is all paying off.
Thanks to Scott Byerly and his passion, determination, and toes, wakeskating has changed and progressed immeasurably. Godfather, indeed. Photo: Garrett Cortese
Now more than ever before, wakeskating is being presented in the light we all hoped for when Thomas and Aaron showed us we could skateboard on the water. Whether it’s from some guy with a camera living on his buddies’ couch, or a giant cooperation, everybody is doing their part and allowing the riders to have a voice. The best part of it all is this is not some climax to a long journey; a goal that was finally reached. Really, this is just the beginning!