“…some of the boat guys tried to bridge the gap with over-the-top productions and smoke bombs instead of trying to be more creative with their riding…” photo: Soderlind

As both a business owner and a rider, Quinn Silvernale, the co-owner of Valdosta Wake Compound, wants to see wakeboarding grow. Not afraid to speak his mind though, Quinn’s quest to break wakeboarding out of its mold and push it to new heights has also rustled a few feathers. One thing is certain, Quinn sees a bright future for wakeboarding and he’ll continue to work hard keep it that way.

Alliance Wake: Define the vibe of VWC and how you see it correlating with the current state and progression of wake?
Quinn Silvernale: Overall it’s a pretty laid back environment, friendly and comfortable for everyone, whether they are here to shred or just hangout and chill. We have a good mix of features for everyone to learn on, but then we have the pool/land gaps and 2.0’s if you want to scare yourself a little bit, so it’s definitely as progressive as you make it. We want to be able to push everyone no matter what skill level they are. I think that’s where the VWC vibes would correlate to the state of wake or whatever. Progression on a wakeboard is all about learning and testing your capabilities by stepping out of your comfort zone.  First time riders to futuristic pro super prodigies should always be learning new ways to ride their boards and I think that more and more riders than ever are pushing the possibilities of wakeboarding right now, which has me really stoked on the current state of wake and where it can go from here.

AW: Do you expect more parks to start embracing the DIY style of VWC? Is that style sustainable as a business?
QS: I’m not too sure if other parks will embrace it, that’s really up to each park and their situation.  It’s definitely sustainable if you have a crew of knowledgeable and passionate hard workers. We’re really fortunate to be surrounded by creative, hardworking people and everyone pushes to help make the park better.

AW: What can cable parks do to help wakeboarding grow even more?
QS: Give everyone a reason to come to the park, build features that are unique to just your park and once everyone has shredded them, change ‘em. Parks should always be moving things around, modifying features, and experimenting with what can be put under a cable.

AW: What is the biggest problem right now with full size cables?
QS: A lot of cables are pretty on point these days, if anything maybe some of cables out there could skinny up the really wide, flat rails that are kind of in between a “box” and a “rail” to make them more technical and difficult. I’d also like to see future parks design their lakes with more grass stuff and natural pool gaps.

AW: You expressed some strong opinions during the Real Wake videos, especially about the boat riding. What is your stance on it?
QS: (laughing) The infamous Real Wake post! I was really heated when I wrote that, we had a squad of homies watching all the videos and the first four we watched were the boat videos because that was the order they were on the site at the time. I was thinking of it from the perspective of the average X Games fan: someone who has seen Real Snow, Street, or Ski, but doesn’t really know modern wakeboarding. They would be holding those edits to the same standard that the “Real Series” has already set. The guys in those other sports are creatively pushing new limits and terrains, not to mention putting their lives on the line sometimes, so if you were a Real Wake athlete I would imagine that you would really feel the pressure to step up. Limiting yourself to just the boat in that competition was a disadvantage from the start, especially knowing that there were other guys that were going to ride boat, cable, and winch for their parts. A boat-only edit can only compete with the kind of diversity that some of those guys have if it’s straight forward and banger after banger all linked together. Dowdy’s edit killed it, good production and just insanely tech lines, he makes it look like he’s riding a halfpipe out there. The other boat guys really could have gone about it two ways. There’s the Dowdy approach: no bullshit just ridiculously progressive boat riding; or the Rathy approach: adapt to the progression of wakeboarding and join the cable rats and sewer kids to push their riding to places people wouldn’t expect. Granted, Rathy has always been really diverse, but some of the boat guys tried to bridge the gap with over-the-top productions and smoke bombs instead of trying to be more creative with their riding. But that’s my opinion, I just happened to voice it publicly. I definitely crossed the line in the heat of the moment, but it was never anything against boat riding. I saw this as the public’s introduction to wakeboarding with those particular videos in the context of that particular contest and I reacted. I kind of got painted as a boat hater from that and a lot of people who I really respect got pulled into that whole thing for no reason, so it sucked to have them think I was disrespecting them and wakeboarding’s roots.

When VWC is your backyard you go play a lot...   photo: Soderlind

When VWC is your backyard you go play a lot… photo: Soderlind

AW: Would you ever build a boat lake at VWC?
QS: We’ve got a lot to accomplish before that, we definitely don’t have a boat lake in the foreseeable budget, but if someone wanted to come in and build one out here I wouldn’t stop them. We’re in Phase 2 of our master plan, but I think we’d need to be in Phase 6 to 8 by the time we build the boat lake on our own.

AW: What is the future for the Coalition video series?
QS: Just to keep pumping ‘em out and to keep building and trying new things. Wes just got a new camera so we just started filming again. We have been doing a lot of planning and we’ll be shooting “The Coalition: The Movie” this year, so I’m really hyped to keep pushing with that.

AW: What has you stoked on wakeboarding right now?
QS: The future. I think wakeboarding has more potential than ever right now. There are so many rippers of all ages getting out there, thinking outside the box, and having fun.

AW: What has you bummed out or fired up about wakeboarding right now?
QS: I couldn’t be happier with wakeboarding right now, but I guess if i have to be bummed it would be from hearing about industry sponsors pulling their wake funding or seeing friends have to get out of wakeboarding to pay the bills because their sponsors can’t support them enough to justify chasing a wakeboarding career and the real job can’t allow them to risk getting hurt.