It’s not like you’re too far from everything, though. No, not at all. I mean, if I lived on the lake it would be sweet because right before dark I could go fish or take a real quick set, but then you’re just always home. I like to leave home to go out and get shit done. It’s like getting up and going to work in the morning — OK, sometimes it’s more like noon — and taking care of business like a real adult, except my office is way more exciting.
It’s like people who work out at a gym rather than at home. Yeah, if you were at home you would probably just take one set and be super lazy because you would just say, “Oh, I’ll go out later or tomorrow” or whatever. When you’re leaving your house to wakeboard, you’re putting a bit of effort in so you want to accomplish things and make real progress when you’re out there.
You’re also into a lot of other stuff. Tell me about your band. We’ve been kind of slow lately, but last winter we charged it really hard and we’re back doing some stuff this winter too. It kind of turns into an offseason thing, because we all get so busy in the summer. But music is awesome because you’re never too old to rock. You can go out and see some 70-year-old dude playing at the bar who is still ripping and thinks the ladies love him. One day I’ll get there.
So, your music career is in no rush? No, it’s endless. The days of wakeboarding are limited physically, you know? Music is something I plan to do forever. I have friends in bands who I’ve played with before who are now signed and touring and they’ve mentioned to me about playing with them, so hopefully somewhere down the road there will be opportunities.
Would you pursue it? If that opportunity does present itself, I think that would be rad. Yeah, I would. I actually think my sponsors would be stoked. I’m going to bail and play on the road for a couple months and get back into it after that. I don’t know; it’s good to be diverse with whatever you’re into. I’ll always have my drums. There’s nothing better than hearing your own music after making a recording. To have Danny Hampson and Aaron Reed use our songs in Washed Up (Before We Were Has Beens) was really sick, and seeing it in the movie was really cool. Then, I was at Surf Expo this year and I kept hearing our band on the setup day when everyone was putting up their booths.
Where was it coming from? I don’t know. Someone must have been playing the Devise and Conquer videos or something. And I said to one of the Slingshot dudes, “You hear that, man? That’s my band.” It was an awesome feeling.
Let’s talk about Slingshot. You’ve played a big part in growing that team and brand. The whole Slingshot thing started right when I graduated college and I was riding for Gator Boards. I was making a paycheck at Gator and everything, but the opportunity with Slingshot really just came at a perfect time for me. If they didn’t approach me and I didn’t say yes, I might be out of the sport completely just from being fed up with the bullshit of chasing money. It was definitely a risk, you know? Slingshot didn’t have any reputation and no one knew what to think. When the president, Jeff Logosz, called me, he just blew me away. He was talking about all the possibilities, and with his passion and the way it builds products, it was enough for me to go out on a limb. It was a chance a lot of riders may never get, so I would have been stupid not to take it. It was risky, and it was a make-or-break-type of decision, but it was also a chance to step into the spotlight as a pioneer of something new that would hopefully change the way the industry thinks. The first time I rode the board was one of the most exciting moments in my 15 years on the water. It was when I knew for sure the decision was right. Finally, someone was pushing boards in the right direction. Up until the arrival of Slingshot, everyone had been making the same shit for forever, and everyone was changing their product just for the sake of changing it. I felt like product design was going backward. People were starting to do things to their wakeboards that was just so ridiculous and unnecessary — molded fins out the wazoo and molded flame designs on the tops. Looking at this gear, all I could think was, “This is why we look like bozos to the rest of the action-sports world.” Boards were nothing but another piece of foam wrapped in fiberglass and no innovation. So yeah, as you can tell I’m obviously passionate about the choice I made with Slingshot and now I’m doing everything I can to put them in the spotlight.
Did that rejuvenate you in terms of riding? Totally, but the first time I rode the board I ate shit. I literally got bucked into the air, landed and caught my back edge and was like, “Oh my God.” It was crazy, though. Before it was always you and the wake and your board reacting was never a factor. It used to be that your board was just a stiff platform you stood on and now with the flex it added a third factor into the equation. It actually has energy and reacts more to what you’re doing. Yeah, I fell on the first jump, but I was smiling ear to ear because it was actually working. At first, no one believed the boards could be any good because they didn’t understand how the flex worked. But after the first time I rode one, my goal was to ride the board as best I could to prove these were legit boards. They were not just for rails, and they were not just a fad.
How has it been since? The last couple of years have been awesome because I’ve been able to help shape the team and our overall direction as the team manager. I see the guys who will help us the most and who we want to have on our team in a perfect world, then we go after them. It’s funny because there are people who used to see me coming down to the dock with a “flex board” and were like, “What the hell is that?” Now I get calls from those same people wondering if there’s room on our team because their sponsors aren’t treating them right. It’s funny to see how attitudes and opinions have evolved.
Is this the first year they put your name on the Response? Last year was. Yeah, once we picked up an entire team, no one was riding it. Since I was so hooked on the flex thing above anything else, I figured I’d try to give it some love. I just carved for three whole passes the first time I rode it, basically until my legs were shaking and couldn’t take any more. I became hooked on it, and I was the only one riding it on the team for a couple years, so it just kind of became my board. It’s been cool. I got to design the graphics last year and this year and while I was working with the art director I was like, “Yeah, and just throw my name on there” (laughs). They did it and were cool with it.