Han Solo & Chewbacca, Rob Dydrek & Big Black, Don Quixote & Sancho Panza … whether you’re flying the Millennium Falcon, making T.V. magic, or just in search of adventure, having a good right-hand-man is Muy importante! The same holds true for wakeskating. A good riding buddy can help you progress, tow you, and be a reliable source of gas money.

Here, we celebrate the riding buddy by highlighting four pairs. We find out from some of waterdancing’s elite why the riding buddy is important; we get the dirt on who’s better, and we see if some of your favorite riders are more like Batman & Robin or Rick James and Charlie Murphy.


Reed Hansen and Matt Manzari

How long have you guys known each other?
RH: “We have probably known each other for about four or five years (give or take a few light years).”
MM: “Long before wakeskating decided to find us.”

How often do you ride together?
RH: “We try and ride together as much as we can, but it usually only ends up once or twice a week.”
MM: “When we started, we only rode together. Now, it’s just whenever we can.”

Why is it important to have a good “Riding Buddy”?
RH: “With most ‘riding buddies’ you have been riding together for a long time and you know what tricks they can do. So when they land something new (or vise versa) you can be super pumped for them.”
MM: “Reed knows exactly how I ride, knows how I do my tricks, knows to tell me if something is bad or good. When you have a close friend that you ride with a lot you learn to understand their riding a lot more. You can break it down a lot better than some random person.”

Whether in sports, TV, movies, music, life, etc, who made the best duo of all time?
RH: “Batman and Robin. I mean they had gadgets, cars, bikes, hovercrafts, hiphopskitvhnopers,etc. Who wouldn’t want to be on there side?”
MM: “The Boondock Saints for sure. If I can do a trio?? The father, son, and the Holy Spirit.”

Are you guys more like Zoolander and Hansel (rivals who become friends) or Starsky and Hutch (friends who aren’t really rivals, but have distinct personalities)?
RH: “I would say that we are like a shoebox and a bowl of potatoes. I mean you can’t have one without the other. Unless you are a nocturnal. Then, we are like, two pees in a pod…flowing mastery of the wakeskate arts.”
MM: “Like peanut butter and Jelly. It’s much more delicious. I’m going to make some. God bless AMERICA”


Nick Harlos and Evan Reid

How long have you guys known each other?
NH: “Not sure?! I’ve lost a lot of brain cells over the years of knowing him…he’ll know!”
ER: “A few years. I probably would have hung out with him sooner but my parents never let me hang with him cause he’s kinda sketchy you know? But they were wrong. Harlos is cool. I was gunna buy a third hand wakeskate like 4 years ago but snaky Harlos went and bought it behind my back, so then we split it, and he gave it to me at the end of the year. We’ve always rode together, since the beginning.”

How often do you ride together?
NH: “Well since Evan is not a bum like me and works Mon to Fri, I’d say anywhere from 3 to 5 times a week.”
ER: “Sometimes more.”

Is it important to have a good “Riding Buddy”?
NH: “Uber important! Just as important as owning a wakeskate, because you can’t ride by yourself. It will also push your riding if you find the right partner. Trust is also a huge factor…you wouldn’t get married to a girl you didn’t trust would you? Well, I wouldn’t let someone tow me I didn’t trust!”
ER: “A good riding buddy will help you out and let you fall as much as you want, like Harlos does for me for instance. The best part about Harlos as my riding buddy is that he has a Sea Doo and a Winch. All I have is a jerry can that helps em run sometimes.”

Are you guys more like Stockton & Malone (team mates) or Bird & Magic (rivals)?
NH: “I think a little of both at times. When we ride in the river, we’re always trying to land something better than the other. At contests, we stick together and try and keep the other wakeskater on the podium.”
ER: “We’re more like Ricky Bobby and Cal Naughton Jr. friends as team mates, but then not friends as rivals but then friends again. So ya – we’re both, except he beats me more. If ya ain’t first, you’re….2nd or third…..”


Danny Hampson and Aaron Reed

How long have you guys known each other?
DH: “I have known Mr.Reed for five of the best years of my life, ever since he snuck into my room while I was staying at the wakeboard camp. Keep it quiet.”
AR: “Since Danny was 14.”

How often do you ride together?
DH: “I ride with Reed every chance I get. He is, in fact, pretty much the only person I ride with while I am in Orlando. We have been both traveling a lot lately, and I have been in the Keys a lot, so we have not connected as much as we like to. Hopefully we will be together a lot more coming up, pretty much attached at the hip.”
AR: “Now that D lives in Orlando, we get to ride together almost every day. It’s my dream come true!”

Why is it important to have a good “Riding Buddy”?
DH: “It’s important so you have someone to stretch you out before your set and then cool you down afterwards. In my case, my riding buddy has given me a career, taught me all I know on the water, taught me how to take photos, and still constantly motivates me to wakeskate.”
AR: “Someone that pushes you, no … that’s too cheesy. I’d say it’s someone to have fun with. If you are really “buddies,” it seems to me that you would hang out off the water too. And everyone needs friends.”

If wakeskating was a band, it would be the Beatles. As such, of you two, who is Lennon and who is McCartney? State why?
DH: “That’s really hard. I don’t know what to say…Reed would be Lennon, but I don’t want to be McCartney. I’m Ringo Starr.”
AR: “Danny is Lennon, he’s way more dramatic than me.”

We all know that Street Fighter II was the greatest video game ever made. Was Ryu truly better than Ken?
DH: “I don’t know what your talking about really. Ken sounds real tough and American though and he probably wears a flag for a karate belt though, so I’ll go with Ken.”
AR: “What the hell are you talking about?”

Has there ever been a better film duo than Tango & Cash?
DH: “yeah Milo and Otis. Don’t act like you have never seen this movie cause you have. I love it”
AR: “Kurt Russell is awesome!”


Nick Taylor and Stu Shinn

How long have you guys known each other?
NT: “I’ve known Stu since 6th grade, so like 6 years now. We used to dominate the trumpet section of the middle school band. We probably could’ve taken the brass section by storm, but we figured wakeskating was more conducive to our lifestyle.”
SS: “About 6 or 7 years.”

How often do you ride together?
NT: “Well, we both just moved out away from Manateeland, so we haven’t been able to ride together as much, but when we were both living at home we rode at least 3 or 4 times a week. And even if we weren’t riding we were always hangin out.”
SS: “A couple times a week.”

Why is it important to have a good “Riding Buddy”?
NT: “No matter what you do in life, it’s always easier and more fun to have someone next to you the whole way, and with wakeskating’s progressive aspect, to have someone to push you to progress and to help you always improve on yesterday, it’s just the perfect set up.”
SS: “Keep the progression going. if you always have someone there pushing you to do better you will progress a lot faster.”

Apparently, Stu is a gifted eater. When Joey “Jaws” Chestnut beat his arch rival Takeru Kobayashi at this year’s Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, was that not the greatest moment in American sports?
NT: “’Taking the eating contest back where it belongs: AMERICA’ – Stuart Shinn (tear rolling down his cheek).”
SS: “I would say that was the greatest moment in American history to date. Bringing the trophy back home to America.”

If you had to compare Reed Hansen and Matt Manzari to a famous duo (from either sports, entertainment or history) who would that duo be? State why.
NT: “Rick James and Charlie Murphy. They’re always slapping each other around, getting in arguments, and forgetting that they ever did anything against the other. Glory.”
SS: “Batman and Robin because Batman and Robin were always fighting but they always were still best friends just like Matt and Reed.”

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