Rider of the Year 2013 – Bob Soven
by Garrett Cortese

Bob getting boosty     photo: Cortese


Editor’s Note: Leading up to the announcement of the 2015 Rider of the Year we are re-releasing pieces of each of the past 14 ROTY articles from the magazine. Bob Soven came into his own in 2013, and not just because of a short-lived reality TV show. His riding was amongst the best in the game and his ability to connect with and encourage fans to ride was second to none.


Truth be told, I never would have expected Bob Soven to become an Alliance Rider of the Year. I didn’t know if his riding could ever be as heralded and groundbreaking as a Parks Bonifay or Randall Harris, if he could have the dominating success of a Danny Harf, or the unique impact of a Ben Greenwood or Tom Fooshee. The talent was always there, that was never a question. The real question was if Bob ever cared enough.

Ginger Lake Lion     photo: Cortese

For Bob he always seemed happy to just make everybody else happy. He was different, odd, goofy, and had the genetic makeup of Mad magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman. And he embraced all of it. Seriously, if McDonald’s could recast Ronald, they would go with Bob. There was a time where Bob and his shenanigans were everywhere – almost to the point where the character and personality began to overshadow the wakeboarder. This, as Bob puts it, put him in the territory of “loose cannon” – a lot of noise, but not necessarily on target.

Bob decided this was a good idea… the consequences would have been deadly     photo: Cortese

A lot has changed with Bob’s riding and approach to the industry over the last couple years though. He’s just as funny, but he’s got a lot more focus – and more than anything it is obvious just how much he cares. These days Bob’s riding isn’t just among the best, it is among the most unique, and he is successfully working every day to be known as one of the sport’s elite all-around riders and biggest ambassadors. He is still a loose cannon, but this time only in terms of when it will fire, rather than where. Our suggestion is to keep watching, because you’re not going to want to miss the show when it does. Suffice it to say, the answer with Bob is the same as it always has been: expect the unexpected.


Bob’s ROTY cover     photo: Reid