Stuart Shinn Interview
Stuart Shinn is what boat riding on a wakeskate has been waiting for. We were all mesmerized at Aaron Reed’s three shuvs and back bigs wake to wake. we all can appreciate the consistency of Brian Grubb and Nick Taylor. And many have gawked at that wake technicality of George Daniels and Danny Hampson. Stuart has finally rolled all of that up into one big hairy wakeskating machine, and did it with style and ease. I’m talking about three shuvs, backbigs, and switch late front bigs wake to wake every try. That’s not even mentioning the many unheard of tricks that he has landed on any given day out on the bayou behind his house within five tries or less. He also has a pretty damn impressive flip trick arsenal (including being the second person ever to land a front 180 heelflip), and can winch with the best of them (as proven at the recent “Raging Pull” event). Stu has been stepping his game up and moving into the flip trick realm wake to wake, and is more consistent at it than anyone, period. He defines huge, floaty flip tricks off the top of the wake, caught and stomped on the downside. It’s a beautiful thing.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
A: Let’s get started with your name, your age, and why you wakeskate.
SS: Hey Dave. My name is Stuart. I’m 19, I live in Bradenton, Florida. I wakeskate because I can’t really do anything else… no just kidding. Wakeskating is pretty much the coolest thing ever invented so I like doing it.
Alright so what’s the deal with how good all your 941 wakeskaters are?
We breed ‘em.
(Laughs) is that your only answer?
No… I don’t know, we all just hang out and ride and have fun. I don’t know. It worked out really cool.
Who have you been riding with back home?
Nick (Taylor), whenever he’s in town, but he’s not in town very much. So I ride with Travy (Doran), Travy is fun to ride with.
How about when you’re out of town?
Well, I’m usually at a tournament, so I ride with the tournament people.
Alright Stu, what’s the best place to eat in Bradenton?
Best breakfast place is Peaches, for sure. Lunch place is Hungry Howies, for sure, that Double H. Best dinner place is this local place where you go and you pick up whatever you want, and it’s called the Chop Shop, and they have the best, and I’m talkin’ the best, pulled pork sandwiches you will ever find. Ask Keith Lant, he knows.
Fair enough. So Stu what do you plan to name your first child?
Eric. Eric Shinn.
You just made the recent switch from Oak to CWB, let’s talk about why you decided to do that and what you’re hoping to do with CWB.
Oak’s a good company, I just thought that with my current standpoint in my career that it was a good switch, and they (CWB) have a lot to offer. So I think it was the right move. I want to help them get more into wakeskating, like try to push them in right direction, you know, like form my own little thing hopefully.
Yeah, that is good, you’re helping the company out too.
Yeah, try to help them out, and they’re helping me out.
So what are you guys looking to be doing in the future? If you can talk about it…
Ehhh, just wait and see.
Alright, fair enough. What are your thoughts on Orlando?
Thoughts on Orlando… first word that comes to mind: “awesome.”
(Laughs) Now you can be honest…
First word that comes to mind: “rowdy!” No I don’t know, Orlando’s good. It’s a good scene, that’s where everyone is, so that’s it… It’s a good scene. It gets intense sometimes, it just gets like… I don’t know, really intense. Overall it’s good.
Do you think you’re going to end up there one day or do you think you’ll just stay in Bradenton?
I’ll end up in Orlando, but kind of how Reed (Hansen) and Matt (Manzari) are, like on the outskirts. I think me and Reed are going to look for a house on the outskirts. Out in the country, ‘cause we’re country boys.
We get it.
We’re rednecks. We have big trucks.
You’re getting pretty known as a solid boat rider. A lot of people seem to just ride jet or go winching, but it’s good to see someone new in the scene keeping it real rowdy behind the boat. What do you like about it so much?
I don’t know, I guess it kind of comes from wakeboarding, because I wakeboarded for like five years before I wakeskated. I just like the feeling of boosting, it’s a good feeling. Trying to take everything as big as I can, like watching Aaron Reed just boost… straight up boost.
What riders do you think have influenced how you ride now?
Definitely like Aaron and Danny (Hampson) for sure, just pure style and what they’ve done for the sport. And then like Thomas (Horrell) and Scott (Byerly) and everyone. All the originals, the ones who got the sport where it is today.
What are you hoping the future of wakeskating will look like? Let’s say, how about in like 5-10 years, what will be the norm?
I think wakeskating is going more towards winching, there’s gonna be a lot more winching. Maybe not even winching, but more rail riding. There’s going to be more tech skateboard styles. Which is cool, I like that.
How’d the last weekend go at Toe Jam? This is so fresh, the day after Toe Jam!
This is good stuff… good stuff. Toe Jam was nuts, like the talent is ridiculous this year at Toe Jam. You got Andrew Pastura, who is just a freakin’ animal, watch for Fun Boots! for that, he’s nuts, kids. It went really good though, I qualified for the final stop, which is a surprise. It just went smooth. There were a lot more spectators there this year compared to last year. Well, there were more, I wouldn’t say there were a lot. But there were definitely more than there were last year.
Oh, that’s cool, how did the boat contest go?
Good, me and Reed Hansen tied for third in the boat contest, so I was stoked.
How are you hoping to end up your season and your contest year and go into next season?
I want to be known as one who always places, I guess, just get my name out there more.
How about as far as riding wise, is there some stuff you’ve been working on?
Yeah, I’ve got a couple tricks, landed a couple new things in the last week that I’ve been stoked on. Landed a couple things after that 360 bigspin, so I’m pretty stoked.
It’s not all up on Alliance Wakeskate yet?
No, it’s not all up yet guys. You just wait.
(Laughs) From the man himself. So what’s your favorite microwavable dinner?
Oh my gosh, don’t make me choose. Alright, top three. We’ll start at third. I would say, starting at third… Easy Mac. Then, microwavable Hamburger Helper, the single packs. They’re good. Then, Ramen Noodles.
Number one, Ramen Noodles?
Number one. No, this is how you do it though, it’s not just regular Ramen. You don’t use the flavor packets, I mean, you can, but I like to leave ‘em whole. Make it kind of like a spaghetti dinner. You microwave it, drain the water, you butter it, you put garlic salt and parmesan cheese on it… I’m telling you it’s probably one of the most delicious things you’ll ever taste. I’m serious. It’s so freaking good. I do it everyday, that’s all I do.
Also, you were just up at the Raging Pull, how’d that go?
It was raging, we raged. It was awesome, Ben Horan’s town is ridiculously awesome and country, there’s one stoplight in the whole town I think. Yeah, the Huddle House, it’s so effing good.
Well we went there and it took them like 45 minutes to get our food…
Oh, yeah, it did take them a while, but we sat at the bar and Nick’s food was right here in front of him, and right on the other side of his food was where the employees wash their hands, and like so if this is the bar and I’m on the employees side, here is Nick’s glass of milk, and the lady is like washing her hands, and Nick’s milk was like right here (pointing at his nose), and Nick just goes “Ma’am, could you get your face out of my milk?” It was so funny.
(Laughs) was she mad at him?
She just looked at him like “You are such a little shit head.” It was pretty funny.
I know we already kind of hit on this, but what are your thoughts on winching?
Winching is really cool. I wish there was a lot more winch spots around me, I think winching is so sick. I think that’s where the sports going.
Just to get more towards the skateboard look, everyone wants that skateboard type of vibe, and that whole natural setting, so I think that’s where it’s going.
What do you think is going to help separate wakeskating and wakeboarding?
Toe Jam. Toe Jam is probably the best thing right now separating wakeskating from wakeboarding, because I just read this thing Danny Hampson said on contests, and it was like how wakeskating was a side show to wakeboarding, and it really was in every contest. And like now in wakeboarding, you don’t really have to do contests to make a living, which is pretty cool, like you can just do contests here and there. But wakeskating if you want to make a living, honestly you have to do contests, unless you’re like a filmer or something, but if you just want to ride you have to do contests at this point. But like Toe Jam is kind of separating it and making wakeskating its own thing. It’s cool because they have all the different aspects, they have the boat, and the rails, and the winch. I think it’s rad.
Nice, good answer. Have you been filming for any upcoming projects?
Volume Wakeskate Videos is always fun, I’ve been putting a lot of time and dedication into Fun Boots!… I have.
Nice! What are your views on video parts and how do you set your mind to it?
Video parts are cool, I like ‘em. I think they’re good, there’s a lot more all-wakeskate videos coming out now which is cool. I like to see that. I don’t really like “set my mind,” I kind of just go and free ride and end up trying something.
And land it.
Hopefully. That’s what happened when Keith was down.
How would you compare doing good at a contest versus having a really solid video part?
I would say, as of right now… it depends on what the video is though. Seriously, like, if it’s an all-wakeskate video I would say you’re going to get more exposure from doing well at a contest. But if it’s like a team video, like Transgression or something like that, just the pure fact that it does have wakeboarding in it people are going to watch it more, because wakeboarding is more popular, as of right now…
From a wakeskaters standpoint though, not from the public or anything to do with getting your name out, how do you feel people in the industry and people that know about it, how do you think people respond to a video part or a contest result?
I’d rather have a good video part than do good at a contest. To me a video part means a lot more, like you can really showcase someone’s riding in a video part. You can’t really tell how good someone is at a contest. You can tell how consistent they are with certain tricks, but you can’t really tell how good they are at a contest. I’d rather have a really good video part than do good at a contest.
Nice, yeah Keith is really stoked on your part. I think you’re going to get the opener actually.
Oh. My. Gosh. I want a funny dance part.
What do you think “style” really means?
I think style’s huge. Like I’ll see kids ride and they’ll stick a sick trick, but it just looks horrible, it’s like “why would you even want that?” I’d rather see someone go out and do a super stylish basic trick than someone just go out there and huck something ridiculous and kind of get lucky and land it.
How do you think that fits into contest atmospheres?
Hmmm… I don’t know, it’s pretty hard, ‘cause in a contest you have to just go out there and throw everything, you can’t get warmed up really. I don’t know, like I don’t think it’s that big of a deal in contests, because I think you kind of ride the same all the time, your style doesn’t really change… at least I think. I think contests are fun, it’s just like freeriding, I guess like some people need to work on just going out and doing basic tricks, just get your style down. Like do the trick, but learn the progression of tricks, rather than learning like a shuvit, then kickflip, it’s just like… ehhh I don’t know.
What’s your advice to people getting into wakeskating and what’s your advice for people NOT to do?
Advice to people getting into wakeskating is just to have fun with it, if you’re gonna take it seriously go through the basics. Learn lip tricks, don’t just shuv, 3 shuv, backbig, kickflip, varial kickflip, ya know? Learn basics first.
What about besides just tricks though, how do you think people need to be looking at wakeskating?
Super relaxed. Just don’t take it too seriously. If you get cocky from wakeskating you’re a moron. Wakeskating is really small. I was explaining this to a girl last night, ‘cause I was like “Yeah, I got to go shoot photos” you know for Alliance, and she was like “Oh, you’re like Ryan Sheckler!”
I was like, “No… not by any means.” That’s like the difference of me walking into a convenience store and being like “Oh yeah, hey, I’m a professional wakeskater,” they’d be like “What the f–k is that?” Or if Ryan Sheckler walked in and was like “I’m a professional skateboarder.” Wakeskating is so small, just have fun with it, that’s all you can do. Don’t take it seriously, just have fun with it. That’s what I do.
Well that pretty much wraps it up.
Who has helped you out along the way, who do you want to thank, any last words to end the interview?
I want to thank my parents, the Taylor family, they’ve done a lot for me, the Hansen and the Manzari families, they’ve both done a lot. I’d like to thank CWB, Rusty Wake Clothing, the other Hanson family, the “o-n”s, they’ve done a lot. I want to thank Collin Gee for being a badass, for shredding with us in Wisco. Oh, I want to thank Lance Duffett for SO MANY things! That’s it.
Any last words you want to say to your adoring fans out there?
I don’t think I really have any fans…
I’m a fan!
(Laughs) To everyone who sits at home and reads Alliance Wakeskate, thanks for supporting us and the sport, it’s pretty cool. I’m stoked to do this and not have a real job.