Texas Ski Ranch played host to day two of stop two of Byerly’s 2007 Toe Jam on June 8. The riding was done behind the boat, and as usual, Brian Grubb came out victorious. Rather than rehash it myself, I caught up with contest organizer Scott Byerly, local rider Bret Little, runner-up Reed Hansen and victor Brian Grubb himself to get the full story on what went down in Texas.
Alliance: Why did you decide to make the Toe Jam a tour this year?
SB: It wasn’t on the Pro Wakeboard Tour anymore, so we needed to do something. It was time for wakeskating to have it’s own thing, not be a part of the wakeboard tour.
A: How did you pick Texas Ski Ranch as a stop?
SB: They had the cable, and the wake for the boat. We added the cable part to the Toe Jam this year. We just wanted to get out of Florida, so our for our first stop out of Florida we did the ski ranch. We’re going to go back to Orlando in September for the final one. We’ll go to the OWC for that part and then the Projects. They just had a good facility and they wanted to be part of it so it worked out pretty good.
A: How has it gone in Texas so far?
SB: It’s been good. We had a little wind in the qualifying day, but everybody pretty much rode pretty good. It should be really interesting tomorrow with the weather being a little nicer. I think a lot of good stuff’s gonna be thrown down. Today the boat contest was really good. Brian Grubb again won, showed everybody that he’s the master on the boat.
A: Who have you been excited to watch this year?
SB: Everybody! Everybody’s pushing it. Of course Reed Hansen and Nick Taylor. Out here on the cable Bret Little, he’s from Texas, he’s super good on the cable. John Ruark, he didn’t make it through, but he’s really, really good on the cable. Everybody’s really good this year. There’s not one person who’s not good.
Tom (Bret’s roommate) for Alliance: State your name, your age, date of birth, all your stats, your girth.
BL: Bret Little, I’m 23 years old, born March 12, 1984, I am 5’11” inches, 150 pounds with a girth of about 4’3”.
Tom: Tell us what you think about Toe Jam here at Texas Ski Ranch.
BL: I think the Toe Jam in generally is just sick and pretty much exactly what wakeskating needs right now. To have it here in my back yard at Texas Ski Ranch is pretty much amazing. It could have come at a better time seeing as how I just hurt myself, but I seem to be doing pretty well so far, having a good time. It’s just sick riding with all these people. Legends like Scott Byerly and Brian Grubb and everybody. It’s just an awesome time.
Tom: How is the wakeskating contest cooler than the rest of them?
BL: It’s better than the Pro Tour and what not because this is a wakeskate contest put on by wakeskaters and that’s what needs to be done. We’re the only ones who know exactly how a run needs to be done and what’s best for the riders themselves. That and Scott really knows what he’s doing and how to put a contest on.
Tom: What do you think about the Toe Jam being held on the cable?
BL: I think cable is gaining a lot of popularity lately in the whole wake industry and it’s good to include it and do things like this. Some of us only have the opportunity to ride cable, we don’t all have boats and a lot of money. It’s kind of nice to bring in another side of things.
Tom: How do you feel about the rails we have that we dropped in for the Toe Jam?
BL: It’s sick. It’s nice to have a couple of smaller things to get crazy on on a wakeskate. It’s just like a big skatepark out there right now.
Tom: That’s what I’m trying to rep. Keep it krunk Bret Little.
Alliance: What did you think of this contest?
RH: You put ice down my pants.
A: So it was good?
RH: It was a good contest, until you put ice down my pants.
A: How did you feel having to go against Grubb in the finals?
RH: I’m not answering questions, you put ice down my pants.
A: So you were nervous because he’s won pretty much every wake contest ever?
RH: Ice! Pants!
Alliance: How did today go?
BG: It went really good. It was a really good boat contest. The format out here at Toe Jam, I really like it, I think a lot of the other riders really like it. It’s not like a wakeboard event where you know who you’re riding against in the heats the night before. Here you show up, draw names, you don’t know until right before you ride who you are going to be riding against. It’s like that every round, so you can’t really expect anything until it happens which is kind of cool. Especially today, I got Drew Danielo in the first round and he’s a really good rider, so I knew that was going to be a tough one. I was glad to make it through that, we both rode really, really well and we both would have breezed through any other heat of the day if we weren’t riding against each other. I was kind of bummed that I took him out because he rode really well, but everything kind of felt a little bit easier after that. I knew I had to step up to get through his heat. All the other heats went pretty well, I had some lucky breaks, rode well enough to get through, and I’m just happy with the way the day went.
A: What was your final run?
BG: I did a heelside stalefish, toeside indy nose poke, heelside nosegrab, frontside 180, toeside stalefish and then a heel side backside three. Then a heelside frontside three first trick in my second pass, then fell on a toeside shuv, then I did a toe side shuv right into the beach. I ended up falling on my double up but I got pretty booted so that was pretty fun.
A: What do you think of riding at Texas Ski Ranch?
BG: I like it here, a lot actually. I got here a couple days early just to get ready on the cable. Knowing that I had to qualify in on the cable I just wanted to get out there and try and learn some lines and stuff. I learned a few things. It’s definitely different than any other cable I’ve been to. It’s kind of smaller than Odub and CWC in the Phillipenes and stuff. Their rails are kind of built a little bit more for wakeboarding, they’re real wide on the cable so you have to edge into them a lot. We put a real fun incline and a flat bar to really change it up a little bit and made it really fun. The incline especially is really, really good, we’ll probably see a lot of tricks go off that in the cable event for sure.
A: Who do you think will excel on the cable?
BG: There’s gonna be a lot of good riders, tomorrow’s gonna be pretty crazy I think. Hopefully this wind will die down a little bit and people will really ride to their fullest potential. I don’t know. Bret Little rips out here, that kid Andrew Pastura rides really well out here. BT and George, everyone’s kind of got their spot on the cable that they do really well. The guys that can do really hard tricks off all the rails are gonna do really well in the comp.
A: Since Toe Jam is a tour this year, does that change things at all?
BG: It changes it a little bit. This contest totally doesn’t fell like Toe Jam at the Projects at all. It has that Toe Jam feel just because all the riders are here, but it’s out first time not being at the Projects. Obviously it’s gonna feel a little different. I think it’s all just kind of growing pains. We didn’t have much of a crowd today, hopefully in time we’ll have some people that are into wakeskating that don’t all do. It won’t be all riders here. It’s still a super young sport– this is our first year. Hopefully we’ll have a better turn out up in Washington for the next one and I think the Orlando stop is going to be crazy!