This story starts with me sticking my arm through the handle up to my armpit the day before I left Orlando to fly to Seoul, South Korea. I knew it was going to be painful to travel, but the idea of getting to hang out in such a cool place was too hard to resist. I met up with Melissa Marquardt at LAX and our overnight journey began.
We were picked up at the airport and immediately told how good-looking we were. Seriously. Now I know this may be hard for most of you to wrap your heads around, but I don’t hear that from strangers every day. Shocking, I know. Melissa and I quickly learned that the Korean culture is one that overflows with politeness and helpfulness. This, my friends lays the groundwork for what proves to be one of the coolest trips I have ever been on.
Pater and Pak (or 2-Pac as Melissa decided to refer to him) were our hosts/bodyguards that work for the Liquid Force distributor over there. They worked closely with the best shop in town, Lab Works, and the owner Sun-woo to make sure that we were as comfortable as humanly possibly. Mission accomplished.
We were whisked away in a pimped out van that just so happened to have LF videos playing on the flatscreens. The city of Ulsan was the site of a big ol’ Korean style water ski/wakeboard contest. Melissa and I were there to do some demo riding, but with my new Barney-appendage, I was limited to some 180’s and 360’s… okay, maybe I did a few upside-downers, but my arm ended up swelling even more after, so I was sidelined for the rest of the trip. Melissa showed her years of pro experience by straight killing it… and winning over the hearts of all the Korean guys there. Local pro Kim was the standout rider for sure, and we were all waiting to watch his partner in crime KK on his wakeskate, but they were too humble to show off for us.
Back in Seoul, we were checking into the nicest hotel I have ever stayed in. Apparently Korea’s “Dane Cook” was checking in along side of us… cool. Our last full day was packed with meet-and-greet, interviews, pictures, an attempt at putting on a demo, eating at the highest grossing Korean BBQ restaurant in Seoul with the owner, then an after party at a full blown hip-hop club. The next morning we said our goodbyes and made sure that they knew that we wanted to be invited back. I think they got the hint and I can’t wait for next year.