No Filter – Chris Abadie
No Filter: Chris Abadie
By Garrett Cortese
You and and the guys have been on quite a ride the last few years: Drop the Gun, Rider(s) of the Year, Video of the Year, Jamboree, and of course Real Wake double gold last year and bronze this year. Has much changed for you professionally in that time?
I really wouldn’t say much has changed. It is nice to feel a sense of satisfaction in accomplishing some of the top achievements in our industry. We have put so much effort into our vision of the sport and kept at it over the years. Slingshot has been awesome through out, supporting our ideas since the beginning. Did you try to grow you profile or get new sponsors after winning? We’ve had a couple of companies hit us up. I think I’m just not much of a go getter or hustler in that regard. The time is probably now though. You’d think after that many big accomplishments in a short period the companies would be hustling for you. Do sponsors maybe not fully understand the winching aspect of wake and/or see the marketing value in it? Yeah, sometimes I wonder if companies feel we’re a liability or promoting dangerous and unsafe practices. We don’t really travel as much as contest riders either, so maybe that has something to do with a smaller sponsor list than other big names in wake.
What do you see as the value in winching and what you guys have done over the years?
Hopefully we have set the bar high and established some kind of standard for winching. We aren’t the first to winch or the only sole winchers out there, but I do feel Shredtown has pushed it to a new level and hopefully inspired others to push themselves and incorporate winching into their riding. How much pressure did you feel coming back and trying to defend your gold medal in Real Wake? I felt a little pressure. Winning wasn’t what I cared about going into it; my main focus was to build a part that represented my vision of wakeboarding to the fullest. The most pressure and anxiety came from knowing what it took last year to put together a part in under 21 days. I knew there were going to be injuries, soreness and every day I was going to wake up and do something gnarlier than the day before. I basically tried to recreate the same video as last year but with all new spots. Some were expecting you to maybe mix in a little boat riding, why didn’t you? Yeah, I really thought hard about mixing some boat in, but having such a short window with our scheduling put boat riding at the bottom of my priorities. I didn’t want to throw in some rushed mediocre boat riding without taking the time to really dial it in. Do you think Real Wake has placed more of an emphasis on choosing one discipline in wake or on doing them all and being well rounded? At the moment it’s been good showing all aspects of wakeboarding, but in the future I think it will be narrowed down to the more creative, rail building, urban, park style of videos. At least I hope so. It’s just what looks good to me when done properly and keeps my interest. Do you think we’ll see more or less winching in the next couple years? I think it should be the next step once you have mastered the cable or just want a new challenge away from the norm. It should be a highly respected aspect of wakeboarding and if you want to get gnarly, throw some winching in your video project. It is very difficult and sometimes doesn’t look the best if you half ass it, but if done properly, I believe it’s the most rewarding and visually pleasing to people. I think it’s a big reason why we got Fan Favorite for Real Wake both years.
Where do you see professional wakeboarding in the next four or five years? I really see it growing through the cable scene. The accessibility is undeniably more convenient and lures riders into the sport that would never have access to a boat. The more talent we have in wakeboarding, the bigger and better it will be. The learning curve on a cable is so mellow when you have the chance to ride all day and practice tricks over and over. It’s great for getting comfortable, but that’s where I believe winching and building your own rails can separate you from others. It’s just the next step and so much more creative and different in my opinion. Where do you see yourself in relation to that vision? I really don’t know what my future within the sport holds. I will keep pushing as long as I can keep inspiring others and feel that I am contributing to wakeboarding.
Where would you be without Shredtown bros Andrew and Davis? Would wakeboarding have still been a professional pursuit? Ah man, I don’t believe I would have pushed myself to become a pro rider without those guys. Being from east Texas there’s just not many people to ride with, especially back in 2008 when there were no cables within five hours of us. Shedtown never would have become a thing if we didn’t have each other. I loved wakeboarding from a young age, but going pro and pursuing it just wasn’t really a thought. I would still hardly say I chose wakeboarding, wakeboarding chose me. What do you see as Shredtown’s legacy for wakeboarding and what do you want it to be? It’s hard to see anything while in the moment, but I really feel we impacted the industry as whole. We have dedicated ourselves to this sport and put extra effort into every project we’ve taken on. I think being legit and not taking shortcuts on things should be a lesson here. What we have done throughout our career may not have been directed towards the mass of the wakeboard following and we didn’t care. We took what we thought was legit and stuck to it. Everyone is entitled to his or her own vision and if you don’t like what we’re doing, that’s fine. Just know that Shredtown cares about our sport of wakeboarding and we want it to be as creative and cool as we can make it through our vision.