Editor’s Note: This is the “Matters” column from the April issue of Alliance. Read along to find out how Derek Cook keeps his stoke up in the offseason without having to use too much ointment…


Scratch the Itch

by Derek Cook

Itchy and scratchy with Collin Harrington.  Photo: Jason Lee

Itchy and scratchy with Collin Harrington. Photo: Jason Lee


If you’re reading this article anywhere in the northern hemisphere it is probably still winter. And if you live anywhere in the U.S. outside of Florida your boat has probably been put away until spring comes. Let’s been honest – you’ve most likely got a serious itch to ride and and all that ice and snow outside only makes it worse. So the question is, what should you do during the time you’re off the water to stay motivated for your wake season – and to hopefully help alleviate some of that incessant itching.

I’m a big fan of board sports. I like to skateboard and snowboard when I’m not on my wakeboard. In my opinion the three overlap in different ways, which allows me to take influences from one and apply them to another. I also think the physical skills can overlap and help with progression. While the edge control and body movements can be very different from one to the other, there are some basic principles and balance that can transfer between all the board sports. Truthfully, anything done on one board can be adapted and transitioned to another (except for tricks like kickflips and shuv-its, obviously). Sometimes it just takes a little creativity and trying things a lot of different ways – but in the long run that’s how your riding can continue to progress in a unique way.

Other than riding my snowboard and skateboard a bunch in the winter, I also watch a lot of videos. Whether they are wake, skate, snow, surf, or moto it doesn’t matter to me. It’s always rad to see what everyone is doing out there and the ways each sport is being pushed. The stoke and progression I see from athletes in other sports charging it for a video section just adds fuel to my fire and makes me want to start the season even earlier so I can try new things. Even if the videos you are watching are 100 times above your level it is still a great way to scratch your itch. Just because you can’t do what the best snowboarders or surfers in the world can do doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate it and be stoked and influenced by it. Plus, it’s been said that imitation is the best form of flattery.

During my time off the water in the winter I also like to set goals for the upcoming season. I do this for myself and with the students I coach at Nor-Cal Wakeboard Camps. No matter where you are at with your riding there’s always room for growth. If you write down ten new tricks that you want to accomplish and you regularly make the effort to check them off the list, I guarantee by the end of the season you will be a better rider, even if you didn’t learn all of the tricks consistently.

Sometimes it’s also nice to not be fully consumed by one thing. In that vein the downtime of winter is a nice break from riding, too. My body appreciates having a few months without all the hard impacts of wakeboarding. It also allows time to refocus on other things in life. Spend time with the people in your life that you really care about. Go play golf or ride a bike, or whatever you want, really. Sometimes separation from the things you really enjoy is a great way to stoke the fire for the next year.

Excelling in your “off season” comes down to your own self motivation to want to get better the next season. You can hit the gym hard to make sure you’re in top shape, study fundamentals and techniques, jump on a trampoline to practice your sweet, sweet moves, ride a snowboard or skateboard, or just read mags and watch videos. There are numerous ways to scratch the itch of riding your wakeboard – just don’t ask your bros for any leftover ointment.


Cook will even ride in a shredded wetsuit if the itch is too much to bear