Getting out of his brother’s shadow, dropping the Billion Dollar Baby 540, and growing a ‘stache.
Interview: Jennifer Ross Photos: billdoster.com
1. How did you become pro? Actually, right now I’m a junior pro, so I’ve got one more year competing in the Jr. Men’s division. Then hopefully I’ll be going pro next year, but that’s uncertain. I got into wakeboarding through show skiing. My mom was a show skier, so I became a wakeboarder after show skiing.
2. What was your favorite trick when you first started riding, and what’s your favorite now? I’d have to say the Billion Dollar Baby because I invented it. It’s kind of my claim to fame. I’ll stick to that for both.
3. Who is your favorite rider and why? I’m gonna go with myself. I’m a humble person, but I feel like if I had to choose one person I watch on video the most, it would be myself.
4. What is the hardest thing about being a wakeboarder? Just always being in the limelight and under pressure. I always have to look my best. I’ve been trying to get my mustache up to par, but I can’t really grow facial hair that well, and to be a good pro wakeboarder, you’re supposed to have a mustache. So that’s been a big flaw in my whole repertoire. It’s a huge requirement, and I’m not doing so hot.
5. What would you be doing if you weren’t a pro wakeboarder? Going to school from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. I’d probably just be a scholar — 100-percent focused on school. And I might even do better with girls since I’d have more time to spend with them. I don’t know.
6. What is your biggest goal to accomplish this year? Win the Jr. Pro Tour, but not necessarily sweep it. I just definitely want to win it this year and get that number one seed.
7. What are you most proud of in your career so far? Breaking out of my brother’s shadow. Breaking out from under Phillip Soven.
8. What’s one thing you couldn’t live without on a daily basis? Water. I wakeboard on water; I drink water; I bathe in water. I know that’s kind of common ground, but it’s essential.
9. Any pets? My parents have a dog, Rowdy. He just wants to party. He’s a Chinese Crested Powderpuff.
10. Who are your sponsors? Liquid Force, Nautiques, Body Glove, Dragon, Performance Ski & Surf and Orlando Watersports Complex.
11. Is it hard to be so good looking? Do you get mobbed by the ladies? No. I do get compliments though. Once my ‘stache comes in it’ll be good. I think I’m going to have to wear a pair of those glasses with the mustache on them to cover my identity in the meantime.
12. When’s the BDB 5 dropping? If it were to drop in ’09, I wouldn’t unveil it until the Wake Awards. And no one’s really going to know if I will until the Wake Awards. I’ll pull a Danny Harf with it.
13. Any video sections coming up? What should we expect from that? Right now I’m filming for a Body Glove film. We don’t know the name of it yet, but it’s all about the Body Glove scene. We’re doing four house boat trips, so it’s going to be a killer video.
14. Any new tricks we should know about? Can they sneak into your Tour run? Wait and see. Actually, I don’t really have any.
15. What’s it like having the Pro Tour champion as a brother? Ask him at the end of this year. It’s humbling, but at the same time, I kind of have a personality reign over him that’s always blown me over him, so it’s not too bad.
16. There’s another Soven sibling, right? What’s wrong with that one? Why doesn’t he dominate wakeboarding? He might do good in boys this year, but he’s a little more timid. He hasn’t fully developed into the wakeboarder he should be, but he’s got potential. He’s 11 and his name is Jason.
17. What are your plans for the Pro Tour this year? I’d like to ride every day, but I just won’t be able to do too much during the nighttime. If I do get to go out at night, I just want to meet a nice lady and just go from there.
18. Who or what is the biggest influence on your riding? It’s a mixture of style and competition. I grew up in the competitive scene and just always wanted to win competitions, but now I’m finally realizing the big picture of wakeboarding and how it’s supposed to look, so I’ve been working on my style for the past year and a half or two years.
19. You’re in high school, right? How do you fit that in with wakeboarding and riding on Tour? I’m a straight-A student, so it’s not too bad. It’s just hard to balance spending time with my friends from school and my wakeboarding friends. Most of wakeboarding is being friends with everybody; you can make a living that way. So definitely the hardest part about it all is just balancing it out.
20. How do you come up with such groundbreaking trick names? They have a motivational basis. I mainly pursue my names through long meditation, looking into space and just seeing all the stars align. It really just helps me clear my mind and think of what the perfect name for a trick would be.
Final Words: If you ever get invited to a birthday party, don’t bring a phone with you cause that’s just rude. Jason said it when he was probably four or something in an interview. It got stuck in my head.