Focal Point – Wake Variety
As we put the final touches on this issue of Alliance Wake I was reminded of just how cool and powerful the diversity is in our sports. Not just in terms of what board you ride or how you ride it, but the people and riders that make up the fabric and character of wakeboarding, wakeskating, and wakesurfing. Whether you’re a laid back, freeride type who enjoys a mellow session of carving up some glassy water, or a competitive person who likes to see how they stack up against other competition at a local event, our sports have riders you can identify with and relate to on all levels.
Any activity – and life in general – would be boring if we were just surrounded by like-minded people with similar personalities. Diversity adds flavor, which is way more fun than bland nothingness. You might not like all the flavors, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat them. What makes our sports special is the unifying vein that runs through them all. Riding across the water on your board is the common core amongst all of us. Take that away and there would be some serious personality clashes and disagreements, but because it is such a strong identifier, it is bringing lots of different people together. This issue of the magazine is a great example of the variety of unique personalities.
Start with a guy like Tom Fooshee, the subject of the No Filter interview this month on page 78. Tom is one of the nicest, most upbeat guys you will meet amongst pro wakeboarders. He not only loves being out on the water, be it at his local cable park, behind a boat, or halfway around the world, but he loves interacting with others, talking about the sport, and introducing it to people of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds. To put it simply, Tom is one of the best – and has been one of the best for close to a decade – ambassadors for wakeboarding. I guarantee you won’t find a rider or fan out there that says, “Yeah, I don’t really like Tom.” It’s just not possible. Even when times look a little tough – in Tom’s case losing sponsors Spy and Monster – Tom sees opportunity and silver linings. Take a read through his interview and you’ll see some great perspective from our 2010 Rider of the Year.
In this issue you’ll also read about Dog Dayz, the upcoming west coast based film that you’re not going to want to miss. Not only is it a perfect example of different personalities of riders coming together through wakeboarding and wakeskating, but it is being produced, filmed, and edited by one of the most unique guys you’ll ever meet. Over the past few years Trever Maur has gone from up-and-coming shredder on the Delta with a rad style, to a rider with a pro model board who also makes some of the best wake movies in the biz. Don’t let his unassuming personality fool you either. As famed Delta photographer – and close friend of Maur’s – Rodrigo says, Trever is one of the most determined guys you will ever meet, who sometimes needs to be reminded it’s okay to take it down a notch, or three. But that determination is what propels Trever to not just excel in front of the camera, but behind it as well.
The feature interview of this issue is with none other than Mike Dowdy. I’ve known Mike for several years now, when he was still a Junior Men’s rider blowing people away with his bag of tricks and getting labeled as the next big thing. But there’s a difference between casually knowing another wakeboarder in the sport after working in it for over a decade, and getting to know somebody through an interview. I can honestly say that I’ve never met a guy like Mike Dowdy, and that wakeboarding is lucky to have him and his perspective in the sport. If you think of wakeboarders as ultra laid back, semi-slackers, Mike Dowdy would not be a wakeboarder. Not even close. Mike is competitive and at times hyper-focused – even to a fault, as he will readily admit. Throughout his career he has struggled with self doubt and an onslaught of negative thoughts that he had trouble controlling. When you’re as competitive as Mike, that’s a tough combination to try to manage. And when you’re in your early 20’s living on your own 1,000 miles away from family and trying to live up to sponsors’ expectations, it’s even harder. Be sure to check out Mike’s interview on page 46 and get to know what makes him tick. I know you will come away not just with a greater appreciation of the man Mike is and is becoming, but of the different flavor he brings to our world of wakeboarding.
There are a lot of differences amongst all the individuals that comprise our sports, but there is one common bond: riding. No matter where you’re from, what religion you practice, who you might vote for in an election, or what kind of music you secretly listen to when taking a shower, if you wakeboard/wakeskate/wakesurf and meet somebody else who does, you instantly have something in common and can have a conversation as if you’ve been friends for years. I hope this issue isn’t just a reflection of that, but is also an encouragement for you to get out there and interact with other wakeboarders. Chat up some new people hanging out at the cable park, meet up with a group of riders looking for a third or fourth to ride, go to a contest or demo and see all the different types of riders that are out there. You’re likely to learn some new perspectives, and in turn hopefully come away with a greater appreciation for the sports we all love.
Enjoy the ride,