Inside – Josh Cantor
Owner: Carlsbad Lagoon / California Watersports / Wakesports
Alliance Wake: How did you first get involved with wakeboarding?
Josh Cantor: I was super into water skiing. I was actually out at a private little ski lake in the desert with my parents. One of the other skiers had this cool blue Skurfer Rage so in between my sets I gave that a try. I continued to do both for the next 10 years or so until the ski stopped being brought along.
AW: You’ve been involved with a variety of brands and jobs in the industry over the years, what were the best and worst ones?
JC: The best is hard to narrow down. I will give you the top three. My start in the industry was with an amateur contest I put on in San Diego called the SoCal Wakeboard Event. We had three contests a summer, pulling up to 100 riders in the day. It was geared more toward the kids and the super novices and it was awesome. This was done through the best wakeboard shop I know of: Wakesports.
Another great gig was the summer I drove the Liquid Forces Trip Across America. I was given a 40-foot RV, a brand new Super Air Nautique, all the new gear, and the top pros trading on and off with me for a week or so at a time. Then on top of that they paid me. It was an amazing summer of fun teaching all around the country. Still to this day some of my best friends in the industry came from those weeks we spent together on the road.
Lastly there is what I am currently doing, which is owning California Watersports at the Carlsbad Lagoon where we run a shop and a full time wakeboard school. Like everything else I have ever done my passion is bringing people into our sport. Our school follows this same philosophy. We introduce and teach thousands of people how to wakeboard every year, while still providing a place for many pros and industry folks to come and ride.
AW: The Carlsbad Lagoon is known as the “birthplace of wakeboarding” but almost disappeared all together. When did you acquire the business and how did it all come about?
JC: I purchased California Watersports on the Carlsbad Lagoon 10 years ago and I would love to tell you I had some great strategy to do this, but that would be a lie. I truly believe this is the plan God has for me and he guided me along the steps to purchase this gem at the age of 25 with really no money behind me. That’s the only thing that makes sense to me. I mean really; 25 years old, a couple bucks in my pocket and a whole lot of faith. That’s how I came to own a little piece of water paradise in Southern California.
AW: The southern California wake scene has been through a ton of ups and downs. What’s the biggest change related to wakeboarding in SoCal these days?
JC: No water. I am not sure if you guys heard but we live in the desert. Then to make matters worse the one big fresh water lake San Diego does have they decided to close to redo the dam about six years ago now. That’s what makes the Carlsbad Lagoon so awesome. It fills and empties two times a day, every day; making the water super clean and always there. Having it controlled by a wakeboarder helps it survive too, instead of a bunch of dumb fisherman like the rest of the bodies of water around here.
AW: You have a lot going on at the Lagoon with SUP, PWCs, boats, etc, but you always seem to be incredibly supportive on anything wake focused, though it’s likely not the most lucrative part of your business. Why?
JC: I love wakeboarding. I make money from the other things but that’s it. I don’t have the same passion for those sports. Wakeboarding and water skiing is what I have done since I was six years old. It is what I do with my wife and kids. There is no better way to raise kids than on the boat. I want to do anything I can to facilitate that for others. Let’s be honest; the wakeboard industry is full of guys and gals that could be making way more money doing something else.
AW: What’s your favorite thing about working at the Lagoon every day?
JC: Seriously!? We don’t have time for that list! I go to work every day at a place where people can’t wait to get to on their days off. This is paradise and I never forget that. I am so blessed to have this be what I do, I will never take that for granted.
AW: What’s a typical day like for you now?
JC: Usually get a ball thrown at my face around 6:00 AM by my stud of a son, Wyatt. Then it is time to make sure Wyatt and Savanna, my daughter, have their Cheerios and milk while watching some “Jake and the Neverland Pirates”. Then for the next couple hours I’m trying to do whatever I can to make my beautiful wife Caitlin’s morning better, before she has to wrangle the little monsters for the majority of the day while I get to go work on the beach. Around 9 I walk down to the Lagoon (oh yeah I live at the lagoon too… I know, rough, right?) Then for the next 8-10 hours I just try to control the chaos that is summer at my business. Once things calm down at the business I head back to the house for more time with the family and try to survive the kids’ last couple of hours before bedtime at 8. After that it’s an hour or so of just chilling with the wife before it’s time to do it again.
For more info about the Carlsbad Lagoon check out www.carlsbadlagoon.com