Free Skiing with Collin Wright
After spending a few good years as a pro wakeboarder and a wakeskating pioneer, Collin Wright more or less fell off the radar. Now Collin is living the good life, and has a new venture: free skiing. Always a pioneer, he is inventing the sport as he goes along, and was kind enough to share some of his secrets with us. Will free skiing be the next big thing? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Alliance: How long have you been free skiing?
Collin: Well I started skiing when I was 12, so 19 yrs ago. However, back then I was trying to hit 38 off on the slalom course. I have been freeskiing for 2 seasons now.
Colin: Slalom skiing is all about going 36 mph and seeing how short of a rope you can use and still get around all 6 bouys. Freeskiing is about “soul.” I am out on the water just tryin’ to dip my elbow on every turn. Freeskiing is living for a perfect glass water run. It’s like taking a epic powder run on your snowboard, I go out there and just become one with my ski. The 2 of us connect and I lose track of where my feet end and my binding starts. It’s just totally me and the glass, taking deep rythmic turns and basically getting as close to heaven as I can without killing myself.
Alliance: What is your set up and where did you get it?
Collin: Well I am on the 1992 Connelly Concept 68 in. with double boots. I picked it up off craigslist from some lady who divorced her husband and wanted to hurt him by selling this epic ski for 60 bucks. My rope is a acurate 70 foot mainline with no sections so I customize the link on feel, I just use my arm span count it off 5 or 6 times depending on my vibe that day and tie it off. I got the line at Big 5 sporting goods on sale for 10 bucks, and my handle is custom home made. I can’t give too many secrets away on the handle, cause the handle is the key.
Alliance: Have any brands expressed interest in sponsoring you?
Collin: Right now I am keeping my freeskiing totally real by staying un sponsored. I think a couple of the big companies would love to sign me up but i just got sell my soul like I did with wakeboarding. Freeskiing is about me and the water, sponsors would totally pollute that!
Alliance: Do you ever wakeboard/wakeskate anymore?
Collin: I take my annual wakeskate run once a year, and that one time varies on what day it is depending on when it feels right. I wakeboard all the time in the summer, I use my 15 ft. boston whaler and try to only go when there are a lot of boats on the water so I can launch off their wakes. Once I quit all my sponsors and took a year completely off the water, wakeboarding totally kicked ass again.
Alliance: Do you think free skiing will catch on? How long will it take?
Collin: I think freeskiing will stay underground for a long time. I’m sure the day will come when Danny Harf films a few shots for his video part and then everyone will do it and the sport will get diluted with kooks. But ’til then I am taking full advantage of the fact there is no one on the water at dawn and dusk and just cuttin up all the glass I can.
Collin: So I am retired now, I live life like a happy and healthy old man. I wake up early and work out, then I decide (mostly depending on what time of year it is) what board i want to ride that day — you know trip to the mountain to hit the snow, a skatepark mission, or good old boating time with a slalom set. I take a nap in the afternoon, eat dinner, and watch my favorite shows on TV in the evening. But I have gotten a little bored with the easy life, so I am going to college this fall, first classes since I graduated high school in 1996. It has been one hell of a 15-year summer vacation, but it might be time to grow up.
In closing, I would like to thank the water god for setting me up with epic glass every evening and my brother Gar for towing me. Gar you rock!