Matters: Stay True
by Dylan Miller
Bob Sichel flexing his creativity. And his bravery Photo: Cortese
As a rider and also a huge fan of our sport for over 15 years, I’ve seen and heard so many of the most talented and well respected riders talk about trying to make the sport more “legit”. This is something that I think about on a day-to-day basis while I watch skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing in comparison to wakeboading. Yes, I compare them, because I do them (some more than others). It’s hard not to compare and base what we do off of things that have come before us and directly influenced us. Obviously what they have done is working (for the most part). Their industries are strong and continue to grow.
So what is wakeboarding missing? In my opinion… nothing. Wakeboarding has every tool required to keep growing and become something great. Hell, it already is great. Wake parks are being built all over the world. New tricks are being invented and the expectations of being a professional rider are seemingly being raised every single day. I believe the biggest obstacle we need to overcome is ourselves. As long as we stay true to what we love and keep doing our thing, there’s nothing stopping the sport from growing to be just as big as any other action sport.
Bad things happen to everybody though. Life isn’t perfect. Whether it’s riding in particular or other issues within the industry that cause us to reflect on a career or decision and the path we chose to go down, not everything is easy or lined up for us. All of us have different ways to deal with those lows. Personally I like to think back to the first year I started to ride. I specifically remember having a great session; getting dropped off on shore and just thinking to myself “I’m going to do this for the rest of my life”. Sure it sounds cheesy (trust me, it feels even more cheesy writing it down) but that’s the reason we all do this shit, isn’t it? If it’s not than I suggest you step back and re-analyze the path you chose.
If we as the riders that represent the sport don’t think it’s “cool” then who the hell else is? We are all guilty of losing faith when we see something that we don’t personally approve of getting love within the industry. But we have to remember that everything/everyone has to start somewhere and when that something or someone grows to be great they won’t forget who their “haters” were from the get go.
Trevor Bashir likes to wakeboard his way. And he’s damn good at it Photo: Cortese
In some ways I almost feel as if I’m writing this as a letter to myself. I (like many others) am quite opinionated when it comes to what I do and don’t like seeing within the sport. I know I’m not alone when it comes to this type of thing. We all have opinions, and expressing them is just another way to show passion for what we love. But the keyword there is “love”. If wakeboarding isn’t fun anymore, or you don’t love it anymore, or all it is for you is a bottom line and a top dollar, then you aren’t helping anybody, especially the sport.
Wakeboarding isn’t a baby anymore. There are people from all over the world that are more stoked than ever on riding and getting involved. As long as us, the riders, are taking pride in everything we do legitimacy will always be present. Above all we need to avoid self-deprecation and keep doing what we’re doing. No, it’s not always going to be easy. And yes, there are going to be hard times, things we want to complain about, or aspects of being a pro we can make fun of. But we love it, right? Where would we be without wakeboarding? If we stay true to this we shouldn’t ever have to ask ourselves the “Is this legit?” question. Besides, if you’re asking yourself that question, there’s a good chance you already know the answer.