Focal Point – Bucket Lists
Italy has always been on my bucket list. With an Italian last name and a love for lasagna and Ferraris, how could it not? Over the years I’ve been fortunate to travel the world, but those travels never led to the land of Caesar, the Pope, and the Corleones. Last year though I was able to take an incredible vacation there with my wife and check it off. What made the trip extra special was getting to go to Lake Como and stay at the small hotel owned and operated by Massi Piffaretti’s family. When we were originally making plans for this vacation Como was not part of them. But when I asked this month’s cover boy for advice on things we should do when going to the country for the first time he told me that we had to go to Como, so we put it in the plans and finished our vacation hanging out in one of the most picturesque settings in the world. As soon as we arrived I was already thinking about coming back – with Massi and some other riders for a wake trip. It was too perfect and surreal not to.
Fast forward just ten months and somehow it was already happening. With the help of Red Bull U.S. and Red Bull Italy, Massi was able to put together a trip to his homeland that would feature not only his stomping grounds of Como, but new, unridden gems as well. Of course it was awesome. It wasn’t without some major hiccups and hurdles to overcome, but it truly was awesome, and you can read all about it on page ____. Going back to Italy for a wake trip not only showed me new, unique parts of the country I didn’t get to see on my first go-round, but it also showed me great things about our sports. I’ve said it before, but I feel like it bears repeating. Wakeboarding is a truly global sport these days, and there are people all over the world pushing it in their own way. In Italy I was introduced to folks like Claudio Ponzani, Enzo Molinari, and Emilio Rebenga who are all passionate about wakeboarding. Ponzani, who owns CNVS Wakeboard School on Lago Del Salto, has spent years harnessing his passion for wakeboarding to teach others – like Massi – and help them progress. Enzo Molinari runs a wakeboard school on Lake Como and also played a large role in Massi’s growth and success. He had just been delivered a new Wakesetter VLX and not only made sure it was ready for us to use when riding on Como, but drove it himself and provided a chase boat as well. The driver of that chase boat was Emilio, a young wakeboarder himself who has bucket-list like dreams of making a living doing it. Emilio teaches kids to ride, and has even spent time learning from and teaching with Dean Lavelle in Florida. Want to meet a guy totally stoked on wakeboarding? Hang out with Emilio.
This entire year I’ve seen and heard about the global passion for wakeboarding continuing to grow in amazing ways; from kids learning to ride for the first time at a Tigé owners’ reunion in Australia, to fans turning up in droves to watch the big air contest Munich Mash, to a video dedicated to winching in Russia, and much more. I’ve also seen riders check off bucket list items of their own, and in doing so continue to help wakeboarding grow and progress. Back to the cover boy, Massi, and his cover shot. That dam has been on his mind since he was a kid riding Lago del Salto, and the Red Bull trip finally allowed him a crack at hitting it – and ultimately checking it off of his list. There are plenty of other examples of bucket list items getting checked off within this issue. Take Brenton Priestley and his Real Wake gold medal. With an all-out effort, a childhood dream of competing in X Games and winning came true for the Aussie. Or look at Wes Jacobsen and The Coalition movie. Wes’ vision and approach to wakeboarding are some of the most creative we’ve seen in years, and he’s putting it all into a full length video in hopes of spreading his crew’s unique approach even further. A bucket list item like The Coalition movie wouldn’t be possible without another bucket list item though: Valdosta Wake Compound. Quinn Silvernale and Luke Tilt put everything they had into creating the wake park of their dreams. These days that dream is a reality and the park is making waves and pushing wakeboarding in new, amazing ways.
As your summer closes out I’d encourage you to think about some of your bucket list items and do what you can to check them off. Sometimes that process might take a while – from learning a new trick, to getting to ride in a far off land, to even building your own private park – but in the end it will be more than worth it.
Enjoy the ride,