Matters – Wrapped Up
by Derek Cook
Growing up on the west coast style was everything: long grabs and smooth poked-out spins. Being really good at wakeboarding was a goal but never my main goal, it was always about making it look proper and floating out your tricks. Around the time I started focusing more on my personal style (2001) Naturall Born Thrillaz came out. Randall’s section in the movie still blows my mind to this day. His massive wrapped spins off the double ups at mach speed changed the way I thought of wakeboarding and the tricks I wanted to pursue. Randall Harris was the first person to really utilize wrapped handles in order to grab differently and grab longer – and in my opinion is hands-down the best rider to watch ride in person.
The first time I rode with a wrap handle I was in a boat with Kyle Murphy, Aaron Aubrey and Josh Smith. Talk about a good time to learn with that crew on board – and if you don’t know who they are, you need to get on Google. Now. All of them had different and unique wrapped spins and I was amped to add a new way of doing tricks to my riding. That day I learned a couple different wrapped spins: indy toe 5, indy heel 3, and a tail heel 3. I was stoked! It was so much fun to spin while holding grabs twice as long and through entire 360s.
Dylan Miller holding a tail grab all the way through a wrapped 360
To me, being able to hold grabs all the way through spins is what wakeboarding was supposed to feel like. It just felt right. Using a wrapped handle doesn’t just open up a whole world of new tricks, it also opens up entirely new ways to do old tricks. An early grab indy toe 3 became a wrapped indy 5 that I could grab the whole way thru. A switch tail backside 180 became a switch melan backside 180 that landed me my first cover photo. My goal has always been (and will always continue to be) to grab as long as possible. The wrap handle allows me to do that.
I seriously feel lost on my board if there’s not a wrap handle on the rope. I can’t do over half of my tricks if there’s not a T-bar. My riding has evolved in ways I could have never imagined because of the wrapped handle. So much so, in fact, that I added a shorter T-bar to my Follow handle. For different tricks I like having different line tensions throughout the trick, or being able to slightly tweak where I place the main handle behind my back. Having two options for wrapping up allows me to do that.
These days I am stoked to see so many riders utilizing wrapped handles and incorporating wrapped tricks into their riding – from wakeboarders, to wakeskaters, and even to riders at cable parks. The best part about wrapped tricks is you are only limited by your own creativity. I’ve recently seen Bob Sichel do a wrapped truck-driver 3 that is pretty insane (p. ___) and definitely not possible without a wrapped handle. JD Webb is doing double grabbed toe back 3’s thanks to a wrapped handle. I’ve been able to do a variety of rewind style tricks because of my wrapped handle. This list could go on and on because there is so much cool stuff being done with the use of handles Randall helped pioneer almost 20 years ago.
If you’re looking to add some variety and fun to your riding, one of my first suggestions is to go out and get a wrapped handle. Read up on some instructionals so you can get pointers on how to best edge into the wake wrapped and to get a feel for riding a different one. Once you get a few tricks down, the sky’s the limit. Maybe you’ll never be the rider who can do a whirly 5 or a toe 9… who cares?!? You can be the creative one on the boat doing tricks nobody else even thought of. All you have to do is try, and I guarantee once you do, you won’t ever look back.
Bob Sichel uses the wrap handle to really mix things up – like with his signature hand-through-the-handle truck driver 360