A man and his worldly possessions. photo: Davis
Vinny Knapp is definitely not your typical wakeboarder. Or wakeskater for that matter. This highly talented, innovative, and super ballsy honorary member of the Homeless crew can winch better than pretty much anyone you know, strapped in or not. But when he’s not busting flips down sketchy gaps, Vinny doesn’t go home to take a set on his $50,000 boat. No, he usually sleeps on the floor. He is a great representative of the new wave of wake athletes who are proving you don’t need money to love the sport.
Interview by Sawyer Davis
Vinny goes fast. Photo Davis
1) Vinny, how old are you, where are ya from and what’d ya do, if anything other than ride?
I’m a fresh 24, from Woodstock, GA and I’m a tower hand (he works on cell phone towers.)
2) Since We’re just Skiing released are you working on any other video parts?
Aside from finishing up any footage for Change is Good, not really.
3) What are some influences to your style of riding, and are they the same for both wakeboard and wakeskate?
Well skateboarding influences them, that and girls. No really…. it is a great release for me, I just do what feels normal. Honestly Kyle Walton was a big inspiration/influence and pushed me to the next level winching. My mom inspired me to follow my dreams.
4) Who are your favorite people to ride with?
The La Sewer Crew, the Wide Open crew, Edgar Perez, Jennifer Perez, Jamie Brown, Russell Brightwell, Jenna Hamel, 420 Films, Levi Dills, Johnny Campbell, Eric Rutledge, Jeff Hobbins and Chris Moore. (Thanks for all the pulls!)
Thread the needle! photo: Davis
5) Who are some of the young and coming riders out there that you think we should keep our eyes on?
Andrew Adams with the Shredtown Crew, Edgar Perez, Chris Moore and Ben Watts is a young gun on the wakeboard and wakeskate.
6) What’s been your favorite winch trip?
The cross country trip from my home in Georgia to your house in Alabama, to Aaron Reed’s in Texas, to Kyle Murphy’s in Cali, up to Humbolt and to Kyle and Funk’s in Bellingham, Wa. I think I experienced the limits of every emotion possible on that trip too.
7) What’s your favorite winch spot, wakeboard and skate?
On a wakeboard definitely the L.A. runoff spot because it’s so big and gnarly.. it’s do or die, but Watcom Falls was bigger.. still the L.A. spot is my favorite. On a wakeskate; Tallassee spot because there are so many options and the water is flowing so hard with you. I just love that spot.
8. So what did it mean to be named La Sewer’s rider of the year?
It was the coolest thing ever! My mentors made me feel apart of their “group.” The people that taught me to winch accepted me as an equal. They saw the change in me, and saw me grow as a rider and as a person.
9) Do you have to change gears in your mindset at a spot when you go from wakeboard to wakeskate?
I feel the spot out more on the wakeboard, but try to incorporate the style from my skate background into my wakeboarding. Then I get on my wakeskate and really just try to relax and to have fun.
Auburn frontflip. Photo: Davis
10) You were nominated for trick of the year at the 2009 wake awards. In your eyes was that your best trick of the year?
No, it was not because I did the same trick, but switch at the L.A. runoff gap and it was like 10ft bigger. My favorite trick of the year would have been an indy front flip of that waterfall outside Auburn, Al.
10.5) To clarify this though… at different instances, you knocked your front teeth out at the Cali spot and compound fractured your right arm on the Bama spot.. both the spots you hit your best trick of the year and favorite trick of the year.. that’s pay’in for play’in huh?
Damn Straight! You can’t be afraid to get too wide open, otherwise you’re always going to be wondering…what if???