July 2018 | Cory Teunissen Interview
Cory dropping in at his home away from home of Lake Jessamine
Words & Photos: Jeff Mathis
Cory Teunissen has been a huge name in competitive boat riding for years now and for good reason. The kid is so damn good. He’s so consistent whether it’s linking together double flips or sticking 1080’s in contest runs. It looks like a video game any time Cory gets on the water. He’s a force to be reckoned with and is usually one of the guys you see on the podium at the end of an event, if not the guy on top. So what keeps him motivated to not only push the sport but himself? With sponsor obligations, trips, contests, photo/video shoots, and whatever else, getting out on the water for the fun of it might not happen too often but Cory makes a point to maximize his time when he can. We caught up with Cory to get the low down on his riding, his attitude, and how he sees the sport that we all love so much.
Alliance: Cory! How’s it going dude? For those out there who don’t know you outside of your PWT runs, tell us a little about yourself!
Cory: What’s up bro! I’m doing good. Pretty simple really…my name is Cory Teunissen, I have one older brother Brad, and I’m just a normal 20 year old dude from Australia. Like 90% of wakeboarders, I call Orlando, FL home during the summer and I’m just living the dream!
A: How old were you when you started riding? Has your family always been into watersports?
C: I first hit the water on the boom from my parent’s ski boat when I was about 3 years old. My dad had always waterskied when he was younger and had loved it so much that it was only natural that by the time my brother and I came around, he threw us out there as soon as possible. But it wasn’t till about a year later that we moved out to a lake house called Somerset Dam where there was a sick crew of young shredders that got my family into wakeboarding. Naturally, I gave it a shot. It’s kind of funny and not a lot of people know this but I actually hated wakeboarding in the beginning. I always just did it because the older guys did it and they were a lot cooler than me so I just followed in their footsteps for a while.
A: You’re mostly known as a contest rider/robot. Do you like being seen as a contest rider or do you want people to see a different side of your riding? How would you classify your riding?
C: Yes and no. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great being known as such a strong force in competitive boat riding and with how crazy competitive wakeboarding is right now, having half a name in it is an achievement in itself. And also it’s what I grew up doing, that’s the path I carved for myself and it worked for me but these days, competitive boat riding is such a small part of what wakeboarding has to offer. There are so many different outlets to market yourself whether you are riding boat, cable or winching which is something I want to do more of in the future. But I also feel like the difference between rail riders and boat riders is so big now that it is almost 2 completely different sports. I want to be able to go to a winch spot and hit a 15 foot high hand rail or a concrete wall, but if I get f*cked up and smoke myself, I can’t compete and my contracts disappear. It’s just not worth it for me at the moment.
A: With your hectic schedule, it’s pretty difficult for you to find time to focus on anything other than your contest riding. You came out with a part full of hammers last year with NUMB, do you have any plans to film a another section so people can get another glimpse of you outside the contest scene?
C: First off, thanks bro! *laughs* NUMB was a mission. Myself and Lewy Watt (my roommate at the time) had set out to film for a whole season and get everything from start to finish. But in between injuries and Lewy having to go home for surgery, we only had 3 weeks to film the part so it was balls to the wall. As of right now, I am not planning on filming another big part for this year. Filming a piece like that takes a toll on you. If I were to film another piece like that it wouldn’t be strictly a boat riding part. I’d be calling on some buddies and I’d be going on a bunch of winch trips and making it legit. Maybe it’s something to think about for next year, whether it’s a 6 minute piece done privately or for a Real Wake section. Either way I don’t want to be putting out shit parts. If I’m filming an edit, I want it to be the best I can possibly make it.
Cory likes to boost…
A: You’ve been living the “endless summer” for a while now. Is it tough being away from your friends and family for half of the year?
C: It definitely is man! Every year I feel like I gain closer friendships with people back home and I have some of my closest friends back there. Plus, Australia is home for me and always will be, it’s always hard leaving something you love. But I feel like this year was the hardest so far. I had just become an uncle only 3 months before I had to pack up and head over. So, missing out on watching my brother’s little dude grow up is heart wrenching and every time I facetime the family back home, it kills me. And I’ve never felt that until this year.
A: What keeps you motivated to keep pushing your riding? Is there anyone out there that gets you pumped to get out on the water?
C: Simply put, I just love wakeboarding. I was so burnt out last year and started hating the sport and was super against it. It wasn’t good. After taking a bunch of time off during the off season, I started appreciating it a lot more. Since then, it’s been easy to stay motivated to go ride, I just want to. Staying motivated competitive wise is a little harder. I’m lucky enough to have met some incredible people through my journey from other athletes and coaches and they are constantly helping me and I gain so much inspiration from them. I’m definitely lucky.
A: Where’s the coolest place wakeboarding has taken you?
C: Every place is so dope in its own way. Just depends on what way you look at it. I am actually lying in a bed in Idaho writing this right now and the north west is insane. I’ve travelled a little through Europe and visited Massi Piffa’s home in Italy on Lake Como and that place is almost indescribable. I did a boat, winch and surf project with Red Bull last year in Portugal which was pretty rad. But I’ve always said it, nothing beats riding on my home lake at home. It’s too good!
Another day, another set…
A: Looking at the contest scene and wakeboarding in general, is there anything about either that’s bugging you right now? What about anything that you’re stoked on?
C: Competition is staple in every sport. It’s a must in my mind. Other people might disagree with me but you have to have a stage to compare one rider to another, whatever way it might be. But what other sports have done very well is adapting with time. I feel wakeboard competitions are very similar to what they were like 10 years ago. If you look at sports like skating, snowboarding and surfing, they are continually coming up with new ways to showcase their sport to the general public. That’s also why I think the level of competition is at a all time high at the moment is because it has been the same for so long, we have gotten so good at doing the same thing it’s only natural that the limits will be pushed. I think events like the Yardsale I and II have done a great job of doing this.
A: When you were 15, you became the youngest person to land a switch t/s 1080. Wake to wake and in a contest no less….what happened that day leading up to that? Is that one of your best memories on the water?
C: I wouldn’t necessarily say it was the best moment on the water. I think I couldn’t really enjoy it fully because I was in so much pain. I had torn my meniscus a week before that and hadn’t been riding. So I was just busy icing and downing Advil just to numb the pain. But once I had calmed down after all the craziness then it was definitely pretty cool for sure. It was also my first PWT win so I partied pretty hard that night *laughs*.
A: What do you think about the people’s constant need to see what’s happening in a pro’s everyday lives? Do you see it more as a nuisance or is it something you thrive on?
C: I mean there’s definitely pros and cons to the whole thing. I guess it is our own little stardom and fame. And let’s face it, it could be a lot worse. We definitely aren’t pro basketball players or football players or whatever. Let’s just say we aren’t constantly in the eyes of the media. And I’ve seen the media ruin people’s career with one little slip up. We have a lot more freedom compared to other top athletes. I love everyone that follows. They send me some incredible and inspiring messages and its great and I am thankful for them.
A: You offer free online coaching for riders all around the globe. Is that something you do to give back to the wake community or how did that idea come about? Is it pretty difficult to keep up with?
C: Yeah that’s exactly it bro. It’s cheesy but wakeboarding has given me everything. I mean it’s all I know. I first started at 4 years old and it’s all I’ve done. When I was younger, I didn’t get coached a lot. It was just always my brother and I riding and we sort of just coached ourselves and worked it like that. So it is my little way to give back to everyone around the world that is struggling and wants to improve. I want it to get bigger and better for sure, I’m trying to get monthly prizes and things like that but it is definitely hard to keep on top of it. I feel bad because I sit down every night for 2 hours and go through it and I’m only getting through a fraction of it. So anyone waiting to hear back from me, I’m getting to ya! If you don’t know about it, just post on your Instagram accounts with a video of you trying a trick or landing a new trick with the hashtag #corysonlinecoaching and I’ll respond.
Contest killer and rad style Get you a dude who can do both
A: You’re a part of the new generation of Australian riders that are just always killing it. What is it about the Aussies that makes you guys so damn good?
C: I think it’s a combination of a couple of things mate. Firstly, the Australian wakeboard scene has always had a really strong grommie program. We have a lot of grass roots contests and there is always someone new coming up which is super sick to see. But the major thing that helps us is it’s such a big commitment to move to America and do a season. We leave school for 6 months and it’s super expensive to do it. I think on average, it’s about $20-$30K AUD a season. So, it’s a huge commitment from the parents. If we are going to do it, we want to take it and make the most of it.
A: In order to stay at the top of your game, you must be on a pretty strict training regiment. How do you break up your time on the water compared to your time in the gym?
C: I generally enjoy every time I strap on a board or my gym shoes. Itt’s more of the fact I want to do it rather than going to “train”. I guess I just look at things differently now compared to past years. But I try and get serious a week out before an event and zone in and work hard to get ready.
Double ups aren’t dead
A: How often do you go free-riding when you’re not training for a contest? Is there such thing as a “chill set” for you?
C: All the time bro. It’s fun to just go mess around with a boat full of some of my best buds. Ride doubles, wake surf, whatever! It’s great. I’m a lot more laid back this year compared to other years. So whether I’m going out doing multiple doubles back to back to back or just doing 3’s or something, I’m down either way.
A: What is your favorite feeling trick?
C: Any trick that you can do multiple ways bro. Just keeps things fresh. Like backside 180’s or 3’s. You can do them so many different ways that It’s fun to get weird with it.
Cory’s version of a toe 3