Focal Point – 15.5
For 20 years Liquid Force has been about good riding and fun on the water. Shane Bonifay and his method have been there for almost all 20 Photo: Cortese
Chase the Dream
Do you ever find yourself randomly day dreaming about wakeboarding? About getting that first pull across a glassy lake? Landing that trick that’s haunted you for months? Maybe winning a local contest or possibly even making it as a pro rider one day? Wakeboarding has that effect on all of us who ride, and coming from experience, it’s not easy to shake. Riding sideways across the water grabbed hold of me back in 1996, right about the same time photography did, and neither have let go since. That was my freshman year of high school, and I remember just a year or two later telling my friends I was going to be in the magazines one day, as a photographer. That was my dream, and somehow, despite a college degree and the reality that I might not be a millionaire by sticking with wakeboarding, I couldn’t stop pursuing it.
I believe one of the reasons wakeboarding is so special is because most of the people who make the sport what it is are also dream chasers. They too were bit a bug and, for one reason or another, could never stop scratching the itch. Whether it is the pro riders, the guys who build the boards we ride, the creators of cable parks, the people who design products we use, or the dealers who sell them; all of them are in this sport because they love it; and I guarantee most of them would tell you they’re living their dream. When you put that much passion – that much insatiable desire to keep living out a lifelong dream – the end result is going to be special. That is wakeboarding, and that is why we all randomly daydream about it, and why we can’t get enough of it.
Each issue of Alliance is full of examples people both chasing the dream and living it. Most often both attributes are found in each example. This issue highlights a couple of special examples though. First off we have the story of Liquid Force, a brand that 20 years ago when it was started by Jimmy Redmon and Tony Finn, nobody knew how long it would last. But if you want to talk about guys chasing their dreams and working their asses off to make them a reality, look no further than the founders of LF. Today their brand is amongst the biggest and most influential in the industry, it is a brand that is recognized globally and it is a brand that in one way or another has affected your fandom of wakeboarding. The story of Liquid Force is a pretty incredible one, but it’s also full of passion, dedication, positivity, and a little bit of luck. Those are some of the attributes that make Liquid Force what it is today, 20 years later; and they are the attributes that are going to keep spreading the stoke of wake, which in turn ignites the dreams of the next generation of wakeboarders.
The other example of a dream chaser in this issue is Cody Hesse, one of the most promising young riders in the sport today. Cody got on a board early in life and was instantly hooked. He rode as often as he could with friends who had boats near him in northern Virginia, and he devoured every magazine and video he could get his eyeballs on. At some point in his young life Cody knew he had to make his way to Orlando. He had to see if he could make it as a rider in the sport he couldn’t get enough of. While Cody didn’t have the advantage of growing up in a family with connections to the water sports industry, he did everything he had to in order to keep his dream in sight. Whether it was living in much-less-than-ideal conditions, working a full time job to try to afford to ride, or riding as much cable as possible when he couldn’t afford to ride boat, Cody worked to make it happen. Judging by the videos and photos he’s put out the past couple summers, plus the fact that he now lives with Shane Bonifay and regularly hangs and rides with many other top pros, Cody has proved that it can happen. You can dream big, but you have to act big in order to make those dreams come true.
Of course, not everybody who wants to become a pro rider will do so. Not everybody who wants to start a company in the wakeboard industry will be successful. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, or that you have to squash your dreams from existence. Life would be boring if all we did was push dreams aside and just settle for normality. We’re wakeboarders, we’re not normal. Chase those dreams, whether it’s a short term dream of landing your first flip, or a long term dream of making a podium at an event, in the end you will be better off for it having tried. Even if they don’t come true, you will have some great stories to tell along the way. When it’s all said and done that’s all life is anyway, a collection of stories people tell about you.