TFW you get the clip… (photo: Mathis)

Stoked (/stōkt/): slang, adjective – to have a feeling of exhilaration, excitedness, or euphoria

STOKED. The word is synonymous with board sport culture and if you’re in the know, then you know. For those who aren’t though, they might not be able to wrap their minds around it. The feeling is so ingrained in a rider’s mind that it’s almost hard to explain what it means to someone who doesn’t ride. People outside of the sport think we’re crazy for throwing ourselves around off the wake, on rails/kickers, or some sketchy winch setup, but it’s a feeling that we as riders cherish. So whether you get that feeling from landing a new trick, watching a new (or classic) video part of your favorite rider, getting to see all the fresh photos in the newest issue of your favorite magazine (Alliance, duh!), or wherever it comes from, once it hits, you just have to get on your board.

So what does it mean to “feed the stoke”? Well in my mind, it’s getting up at first light to get a shot that I’ve been kicking around in my head. Whether it’s getting a rider pumped to go out and huck themselves around for my camera or just taking some more lifestyle oriented shots, my stoke comes from creating something rad that people enjoy and I can be proud of. That’s definitely not the only place it comes from though. Landing new tricks, even after 17 years of riding, still gets me just as stoked as it did when I first started riding. The feeling you get riding away from a new trick is about as good as it gets. And if you’re not getting that feeling anymore then you might want to reevaluate your life.

One unique thing about wakeboarding is that you have to have a crew to go ride. Skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding can all be done on your own. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice every once in a while to go out and push around by myself, but going out for a shred with your best buddies is what it’s all about. Whether it’s a boat session, some cable laps, or a winch mission, a solid crew is essential to help push yourself to that next level. Wakeboarding is such a mental game and without the good vibes, it’s easy to get frustrated when things aren’t working out as planned.

Another awesome way to keep your stoke levels high is to pack up your car and get out of your comfort zone at a new spot. Whether it’s a new lake where you know someone with a boat or a new cable park that just popped up in your area (or states away), travelling to a new place, meeting the locals, and seeing how they do things is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your crew. Thinking back on my various wakeboarding trips over the years and the good times we had just makes me want to plan the next one. The older we get, the more difficult things become because life tends to get in the way. You know, marriage and babies and things like that. Weird, right? But with that said, those things bring their own kind of stoke to your life so it’s definitely not a bad thing!

Whatever your outlet, and I’m sure if you’re reading this then it’s most likely something wake related, enjoy it and keep a smile on your face. If you’re with the right people then that shouldn’t be a problem. If boat riding has been feeling stale for you, go hit the cable. If you’re not feeling the cable, get back on the boat. If you’re not into any of it at the moment, jump on a skateboard and cruise! Any time spent on a board is a good time. Keep it fresh, keep it fun and keep feeding the stoke!

Stay weird,

Jeff Mathis