This is the Matters article from the May issue of Alliance, as written by special guest Bob Soven… enjoy!
I know the Matters column is usually a place for riders to express their opinions about issues within the industry. Some articles have been lined with positivity and optimism, while others written with anger and frustration; regardless, all have had one thing in common: passion. I, however, have no plans to follow that suit, instead I’m just going to tell you a bit about my three favorite riders.
3. Daniel Grant
This little Thai f**k is impressive on so many levels! Whether he is on a wakeskate or wakeboard he will do something that makes you shake your head with envy and wonder, “If I eat that much candy would I be able to do that as well?” The answer is probably no, unless you plan on adding 1,000,000 cable laps to your new diet – then you might have a Thai fighting chance. Out of all the rewinds, change ups, and big flips that this kid does, the most impressive thing to me is his sense of style. To be 15 years old and have that deep of an understanding on how tricks are supposed to look is truly incredible. I can’t wait to see what this kid does with his endless amount of energy and talent.
Daniel, happy to be launching at BSR in Waco, TX. Photo: Ryan Taylor
2. Aaron Rathy
This Canadian junior trick ski record holder has come a long way from toe passes to become one of the “dopest”, if not the “dopest” rider on the planet. Rathy is easily a top three cable, boat, or rail rider on any day of the week. The guy kills it in anything he does with more style than a young Justin Timberlake. Rathy’s drive is undeniable; he is the son of a boxer, an ex-junior Olympic hockey player and he is now focused on making his way back to the top of the wake game after a near career ending knee injury.
Here is a little insight you can’t read about on the forums. Over the winter Rathy spent two months filming an insane video part, it was definitely his best work to date and maybe the best video section ever made. Well, being the visionary that Rathy is he was not satisfied with the section after two months, so they decided to take a break from filming. During this break the hard-drive that held the footage crashed and lost the entire section … probably the worst news of Rathy’s career. It’s hard to try to recreate something that was seemingly perfect, but if Rathy ever finds the energy to try to put the masterpiece back together, I am sure it will blow all of our minds.
Rathy unwrapping under a Lake Ariana sunset Photo: Garrett Cortese
1. Raph Derome
A couple years ago when I used to say Raph Derome is my favorite rider, people looked at me like I was crazy. Nowadays saying Raph Derome is your favorite rider is borderline cliché. Raph is like an indie band that made it big; he wasn’t looking to make Top 10 pop hits with his riding. He just wanted to push his riding to become as legit as possible and in the process flew to the top and became über popular. There is something special about Raph, he can even make falling off rails (rarely happens) look good, it’s almost like a Watson-esque style he possesses, but doing tricks that no one else can do.
If you think the kid is flying high on his riding, you are wrong. Critical is an understatement for the way Raph looks at his riding. Raph looks at his riding like a 19-year-old girl looking in the mirror at her beach body. It’s almost a curse for the most talented rider on the planet – he may never be content with his work. But that is why we all can look forward to Raph Derome writing another page of wake history in the very near future.
Raph getting up Down Under Photo: Chris O’Shea
If you can see the trend with “my top three” they are all multifaceted. The days of excelling in just one aspect of the sport is coming to an end. To be at the top you need to be well rounded on multiple fronts and have an impressive personal style to go along with it. I hope that after reading this the up and coming riders and some pros rethink their own riding and prepare themselves for the future of wakeboarding!