Photo: Rutledge

Name: Taylor McCullough
Birth date: July 1, 1998
Wakeboarding since: 4 years old
Stance: Goofy
Hometown: Centralia, IL

A: How were you first introduced to wakeboarding?
TM: My parents had a lake house ever since I was really young. I started skiing on training skis when I was 3½ until I got a wakeboard the following Christmas. Ever since I got up on a wakeboard for the first time I haven’t stepped foot on skis. I fell in love with the sport and never looked back.

A: How has moving to Orlando helped you progress?
TM: Ever since I was little I had always come down to Orlando. I’d come down almost every other weekend to be able to ride and work with my coaches, but since I could only ride three days each time I felt like it would always take me a few sets to be able to do all my tricks again and be able to start working on new ones. Since I’ve moved down here I can ride every day and have made a bunch of friends to ride with and push me. Riding behind guys at the cable like Justin and Chad Worrall, Guenther Oka, and other guys who are better than me has pushed me to try new things and work on adding style to my tricks. Also with a lake and a Supra SA 550 being in my backyard, I get to ride all the time with my friends. They are always pushing me to try new things and progress.

A: What’s the wake scene like back home in Illinois?
TM: “What’s that?”(laughs) That’s the normal response when I say anything about wakeboarding at home. Not many people know what wakeboarding is back home.  I’ve gotten a few of my friends to try wakeboarding, but other than that you’ll rarely see or hear anything about wakeboarding where I live.

A: What keeps you busy when you’re not riding?
TM: In the mornings I usually go to the gym or do some school work. My friends love Chick-Fil-A and Chipotle, so we’re there just about every day in between riding. If we aren’t at the cable we all are usually just hanging out at my house watching movies, cooking, or on the trampoline all while being attacked by my puppy! (laughs) My house also seems to be the spot my friends like to bring and fly their drones at as well.

A: Who do you typically ride with in Orlando?
TM: At the cable I ride with Justin Worrall, Jamie Lopina, Raimi Merritt, Adam Whitaker, and Tim McGee. I usually ride boat with Raimi, Jamie, Meagan Ethell, and Charlotte Bryant. I also live with Brad and Cory Teunissen over the summer so I’m out with them all the time!

A: What is your favorite place wakeboarding has taken you so far?
TM: I think the coolest place I’ve ever been was the Philippines. I went in 2009 for a contest and it was amazing! It was completely different from anywhere I’ve ever been, culturally as well as the scenery. I got to travel around through the city a little bit and it was crazy. It was definitely an experience I’ll never forget.

A: Who is your favorite boat rider and cable rider to watch?
TM: I like a bunch of different riders for different things they do, but I think my favorite for boat would have to be Aaron Rathy and JD Webb, I love their style. On rails I’d have to say Raph Derome.

A: How do you hope to impact the sport as you continue to progress/grow as an athlete?
TM: I want to progress and stand out from others by making my tricks different than theirs. I also want to encourage more girls to ride and compete to grow the women’s side of the sport.

A: What are your plans for 2015?
TM: I plan to do all the Triple Crown events as well as most of the boat contests. I mainly want to work on some more video edits as well as learning a few new tricks.

A: What is the best trend right now in women’s wakeboarding?
TM: My favorite thing is that women are starting to grab all their tricks now. It makes them look a lot better and adds a lot more style.

A: What is the best nickname someone has given you?
TM: I don’t really have many nicknames, but if someone calls me a different name it’s usually Tay-lah, just my name… but in an Australian accent. It’s real original! (laughs)

A: Best hype music before you go ride?
TM: Justin Worrall has this playlist on Spotify called “Bass”. It’s a bunch of ghetto rap music but we all jam to that before we go out and ride! (laughs)

A: Any thanks you’d like to send out?
TM: I want to thank my sponsors Jobe, Supra, Jet Pilot, Hurricane Grill and Wings, and for everything they’ve done for me. I’d also like to thank my dad, if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be where I am now.