Inside – Chad Lowe
AW: You’ve been one of the West Coast’s most consistent ambassadors for boat riding over the years. During that time is there any particular moment that stands out to you?
CL: I am not sure I can say there is a particular moment. The one thing that does stand out for me is seeing all the kids that I’ve been able to coach or ride with through the years making a living out of wakeboarding and have an influence on the direction of the sport. Guys like Trever Maur, Jacob Valdez, and Josh Twelker to name a few from the west coast.
AW: In life age does have its realities. How have you been able keep pace considering you’re one of the more senior athlete / ambassadors?
CL: I am truly blessed to still be riding and progressing at 39. I feel that my choice of direction for my career allowed me the ability to stay active and riding as I’ve gotten older. I feel that in order to be a good coach for wakeboarding you still need to ride, so I’ve made it a point to live a healthy lifestyle, eating clean, going to the gym, and looking after my body in order to continue doing what makes me truly happy: wakeboarding.
AW: Do you feel a sense of responsibility in giving something back to the wake community considering the amount time you put into world travel coaching and putting new people on boards?
CL: I do feel like it’s my duty to give back to a sport that has given me so much over the years. One thing I’ve never done is try to take the fun out of wakeboarding for people. I believe it’s really important to see what the rider wants out of their wakeboarding. I always say “the best wakeboarder on the boat is the rider that has the most fun”, and I really believe that.
AW: This past winter you caught an illness that literally almost killed you. What was it and how are you now?
CL: I had Lemierre’s syndrome, it is very rare – about one in three million. Basically it develops as a complication of a bacterial sore throat infection, which can lead to bacterial clot in the jugular vein. It’s really too long of story for this interview, but I spent two weeks in the hospital and then four at home with a PIC line in my arm and giving myself blood thinning shots twice a day. I lost 20 lbs and all my strength. And my left Jugular vein is gone, there was a lot involved. But I made a full recovery.
The biggest thing I learned from that experience is to enjoy life. My last ride before I got sick was a demo set in AZ; it wasn’t the best ride and I was bummed. I got in the boat and was apologizing for not riding great and feeling kinda lame. While I was in the hospital bed I thought to myself how small and petty I was for being a downer that day, that could have been my last wakeboard ride, and instead of finding the good out of being on the boat with awesome people I was feeling dejected about a mediocre ride. I made a goal that day in my hospital bed to find the good out of every ride, even it’s just one hit out of many. You never know when you’re going to have our last ride.
AW: Like any brand coming into or back into the wake category, what is HOVEN’s short and long term plans?
CL: Short term we would love to see Hoven being worn by wake riders and create some buzz around the industry by providing top of the line polarized sunglasses, and introducing the wake community to our floatable technology. Long term we want to be the first name in optics in wake. I want every rider wanting to be part of the team and every parent wearing our glasses while their kids ride.
AW: Given your experience, what opportunities does HOVEN see that the current optic brands aren’t fulfilling on?
CL: Everyone wears sunglasses in the boat, or at the cable. Wake is the best board sport for optics. Go to any lake and cable park and you’ll see everyone that isn’t riding has sunglasses on. The idea of optic companies pulling out of wake, just as wake is making a push back to the mainstream (network TV, ESPN, X-Games) seems very shortsighted. We are coming into wake at the best time, and we will be here to help push wake to next level.
AW: There’s more talent between boat and cable right now then in the sport’s history, we have to assume you’re putting together a team of special athletes?
CL: We are assembling a team as we speak. We won’t be the “sponsor everyone” team. To have a Hoven Team sticker on the board will mean something. We will probably have a male boat, and cable rider, along with a female boat and cable rider, and that’s about it.
AW: What lasting mark do you want to leave on the wake industry and given the opportunity with HOVEN, do you have the resources to meet this goal and how will you get there?
CL: I am not sure if there is a way to answer that question. I think that will be up to the wake community. I’ve always wanted to help people achieve their goals, if it’s their first flip, or just getting up on a wakeboard. If I leave and they have a smile on their face then I feel like I did a good job. Joining the Hoven team is going to allow me the opportunity create a program that can grow with wake for years to come.