Do you think we’ll see a Move of the Year come out of Defy?
There are a lot of heavy tricks going down in the movie, so I definitely think there will be a lot of entries from Defy. I can’t promise that one’s going to win, but from what I’ve seen go down, yeah, we’re going to have a lot of solid entries from a lot of different aspects of the sport.
Do you think videos are the best way to push wakeboarding?
I think it’s important to have both contests and videos. When I was a kid growing up wakeboarding, what got me most inspired was watching videos. Watching Hit It! and Spray and MayDay and all those movies are what inspired me to become a pro wakeboarder. I think videos showcase wakeboarding to the world and get people inspired to ride, so that’s why I like doing this. Unfortunately, there haven’t been too many wakeboarding videos out in the past year or so, so hopefully this will remind people how cool these videos are and we can keep doing them.
Your riding has led the way in a lot of different aspects over the years, especially with double-ups. Where do you want to take your riding next?
I think the double-up is such a huge catalyst for progression in wakeboarding. You get that extra time in the air, and it’s one of the coolest aspects of wakeboarding because you have to really read the double-up and be able to adjust. I like that it’s a little different every time. In my own riding, I’ve been focusing on a lot of different double flips and really dialing in some big spins. I’m trying to figure out how to do some double-corked maneuvers where it’s almost like a corked double flip. I’m just really trying to keep pushing the sport. I think that as much as we’ve been pushing the spin side of things, the double flip and the double cork kind of maneuvers are what’s coming next. I really just want to keep trying to do stuff that’s new and exciting.
How about the 12? Have you landed it a second time, and is that a direction you’re interested in going again?
I’ve been trying some 12s recently. I made the one 12 that was documented, and I’d like to make another one, so that’s definitely something I’ve been trying as well as some other big spins. But I’m really always more focused on doing stuff that I’ve never done before. I’m definitely still trying 12s, and I want to try to get a really big clean 12 for the movie, but I’ve been focusing a lot more on double flips where you can grab the whole rotation.
Where do you get inspiration for stuff like that?
I think the way snowboarders are hucking right now is definitely inspiration for wakeboarders because they have so much time in the air and so much freedom to go everywhere they want to go. I definitely watch a lot of snowboard videos for inspiration. I watch a lot surfing too. I get inspiration from a lot of different sports. Wakeboarding is its own thing though, so you can get inspiration from other places, but it’s a totally different ballgame when you’re getting towed behind the boat.
Within wakeboarding, which riders inspire you?
There are a bunch of guys. All the young kids coming up are riding insane. Guys like Harley Clifford, Steel Lafferty, Bob Soven, Adam Errington and all of these guys coming up are definitely pushing the envelope and doing stuff I never thought was possible. It’s inspiring to see the next generation really going full-bore. Then there are guys like Erik Ruck, who has been coming out and filming with me. Parks Bonifay and all these guys are still doing stuff that is totally unique, and that’s really inspiring to see as well. Ben Greenwood is another guy I look to. He can make wakeboarding look legit, and everything he does is focused on the style factor. Dean Smith has definitely been inspiring me lately.
On the flip side of that, do you see a lot of guys looking to your for inspiration?
Yeah, I think so. A lot of stuff I’ve done over the years, people have either done similar tricks or taken that and added even more to it. So yeah, I definitely think I’ve been able to influence some of the other pros.
How about while filming Defy? Did those guys look to you for motivation?
I’m basically saying, “Hey guys, come make a movie with me where we’re going to be pushing the envelope.” So when we get there, people are definitely looking to me to give the green light. A perfect example is Radar Lake [in Washington]. We got there and everyone was psyched just being there, but then it came time to actually hit what we had built. I went first and guinea-pigged the setup. Once everyone saw that it wasn’t as gnarly as it looked at first, everyone got super-pumped. Then they started doing things I hadn’t done, so I wanted to get back out there and step it up again and we ended up building bigger kickers and getting pretty gnarly by the end of it. I was definitely inspired by those guys, and I think I inspired them too.
Do you think we’re going to see anything in Defy that’s going to take the sport in a new direction?
I think people have seen some of the stuff we did at Radar with that pool step-up, and I think people are going to see that and get even crazier with different elevated pools. I think people are going to see some of the double flips and other things we’ve been trying and people are going to start trying some things they hadn’t thought of previously.
Where do you see wakeboarding going?
It’s hard to say. It’s been a big year of progression with some of the contest runs that are going down and some of the rails guys are hitting. I think the System 2.0 is really changing the future of the sport. In Defy, I think we’re going to be just scratching the surface of the direction the sport is heading, but that’s kind of what we want to do with wakeboarding. Hit all of the different aspects of wakeboarding and do some unique stuff that gets people’s wheels turning and keeps the sport progressing.
What are your post-Defy plans?
I’m probably just going to keep filming and get back on the Pro Tour next year and do more contests again. We’ve also had some talks about doing a Ronix team movie. I’m not 100 percent sure, but I’m definitely going to continue to push my own riding and push the sport as much as I can.
What do you want to do when you’re done riding?
No matter what, I think I’ll always be involved in wakeboarding somehow, especially with Ronix. I would always like to work with Ronix and be a part of the brand. I definitely love wakeboarding, so I don’t ever think I’ll disappear from the sport all together.