Interview: Justine Griffin Photo: Steven Hahn
1. How did you become pro?It took a lot of traveling with my parents at a young age to go pro. We went to a lot of contests just to get my name out there and show off my riding. It was the only way I could really do it. That was about four years ago, when I was 14. I just tried to let my riding do the talking and go to as many events as I possibly could.
2. What was your favorite trick when you first turned pro, and what’s your favorite now? Well, this is my first year on the Tour as a pro, so it’s the same trick. I always like to do backside 180s, no matter how you do them. I always have, since I started riding behind the boat. And still to this day I love to do a big backside 180.
3. Who is your favorite rider and why? There are definitely a lot of riders who I look up to, but the most inspirational to me would have to be Danny Harf. He’s just such a good person and has a good head on his shoulders. He’s so mellow and humble about how incredible he is on a wakeboard, and when he gets out there he just blows us all away, every day. He’s really pushing the sport as hard as he can and he’s always out there to progress wakeboarding. That’s what it’s all about. I definitely try to strive to do things he’s done and be like him.
4. What is the hardest thing about being a professional wakeboarder? Going on long trips and having to live out of a bag. Other than wearing dirty clothes and being on the road for a while at a time, it’s not that tough. It can also be pretty fun.
5. What would you be doing if you weren’t a pro wakeboarder? Right now I’d probably be in college.
6. What is your biggest goal to accomplish this year? I just want to stay consistent on the Pro Tour. This is my first year as a pro so I have a lot to prove. I just really want to do well and hopefully land a few more 1080s.
7. What are you most proud of in your career so far? Definitely landing a heelside 1080.
8. What’s one thing you couldn’t live without on a daily basis? The water.
9. Any pets? Nope, I’m petless. Sometimes I have to tend to Rusty [Malinoski]‘s dogs, but other than that, I don’t have any.
10. Who are your sponsors? Hyperlite, Fox, Nautique, Monster Energy and Spy Optics.
11. What was it like winning $20,000 in one weekend at last year’s BROstock? That was the most unreal weekend of my life. It was my first time at Lake Powell, and that in itself was amazing. It’s just cool to show up in the middle of nowhere and have all of your friends there. It really was one of the best weekends of our lives. To walk out of there with $20,000 was just icing on the cake.
12. How did you get your switch heel 9 so dialed? Steroids? It’s probably just from riding the cable. I started out on the cable and rode it for a long time. The kickers really helped. There was this heelside kicker that I loved to do nines off of, and once I got the hang of double-ups, there wasn’t much of a difference.
13. Any video sections coming up? Any plans for those? I’ve been working on the new Hyperlite video, Rewritten, for a while. We’ve all been working as hard as we can on it, and I’m really excited for the final product. It was a lot of fun working with all of those guys.
14. What are your world-dominating plans for 2009? Well now that it’s almost summer, there’s going to be loads of contests. I’m also looking forward to finishing up the Hyperlite video and hopefully getting out on the water with WBM to take some cool photos.
15. How are you going to take down Phil Soven on the Tour this year? Is it possible? It’s all about getting in his head. I’ve ridden against him maybe three times now, and believe it or not, I sit on the dock with Phil and mess with him as much as I can. I tell him how bad I’m about to beat him. We’re pretty good friends now, so I can mess with him like that. But the more pressure I put on him, the better. I try to get it in his head that he has to beat me; I don’t have to beat him. And we both know he doesn’t want to be beaten by me. It’s all about the mind games. I think I’m going to take him down in the head.
16. Where is the next place you’re traveling to? To finish up the Hyperlite video, we’re heading out to Lake McClure in California to film the last section; that should be right after Wake Games.
17. What’s going to be new and exciting for your Tour run this year? Not too much exciting stuff. I’m just trying to keep everything big, consistent and grabbed. I’m definitely excited to try to step up my rail riding and to try to step up everything all-around.
18. Any new tricks we should know about? Can they sneak into your Tour run? Maybe. We’ll see.
19. What’s your favorite part of being on Tour? Hanging out in new places with all of your best friends. It’s cool when you get to the hotel and check in, to see everyone there. Contests are just a good time. You’re there to just hang out and ride with your friends.
20. So, to make this an even 20 questions, what’s your favorite type of tree? I’d have to go with Live Oak.