So you never actually had a wakeboard boat?
Collin: Hell no! I pretty much learned behind a 10-foot McKee Craft with a 30-horse Johnson on it and that was what we rode, you know? Living in the Keys there was nothing to do but go on the boat all day, and we would just tube and wakeboard and that was that. I remember learning a backside 180 behind a Jet Ski.
Like wake-to-wake behind a Jet Ski?
Collin: Yeah! I was stoked!
Did you do any flips behind those things?
Collin: No. My dad ended up getting a 23-foot inboard. I don’t even know what the hell it was. It was just fully open except for the center console that he rebuilt. We would literally put in two 50-gallon drums filled up with the hose and we would tie a pole 10 feet up in the air with like very springy stretchy rope. You would edge out to one side and just fully lean, and then it would just spring you back into the wake, but it had a better wake than anything else.
And that’s where you learned your first flip?
Collin: Yeah. First flip was a tantrum.
Makes sense considering you have one of the best tantrum-to-blinds of all time. Would you say that you could still school Shane in an inline skating contest?
Collin: Absolutely. Bring it on, Shane!
So how could you have been into such cool stuff as surfing and yet stumbled into wakeboarding, when you were so good at skating as well? Was that like kind of a closet thing?
Collin: Well, my dad grew up surfing and my mom grew up at the beach and she used to surf when she was younger. My dad would go surfing, so when I was about 6 or 7 he taught me how to surf. My brother was already surfing at that point. He’s four years older and I was like, yeah, I want to surf. I was actually always kind of scared of the water, but he would bring me out there and put me on the board with him.
Really? At what age were you scared of the water?
Collin: Dude, I was seriously scared of the water till I was probably 14 or so. Like I would go in, but I was always looking around, just thinking something was there.
And then fast forward to what? Two years ago and you’re hired to film sharks for National Geographic, was it?
Collin: Filming with tiger sharks. It was still nerve-racking, but I was a little more calmed down than I used to be.
Yeah, that’s insane.
Collin: It’s funny, because growing up, when I was like 8 years old, I would go out on a commercial fishing trip with my dad for a week at a time. Like 60 to 80 miles offshore and he’s pulling in 100-pound tunas and swordfish that are like 300 or 400 pounds and occasionally pulling up almost 1,000-pound sharks and stuff. So I don’t know if that had something to do with it. I actually saw what the hell was in the ocean and I grew up riding on saltwater my entire life until I moved to Orlando. It was always in the back of my mind.
Since you and Aaron Rathy were doing it some years back, we haven’t really seen a legit run at a dual wakeboard and wakeskate career, until now with Daniel Grant. So my question is, were you actively trying to master everything, or did it just turn out that way?
Collin: For some reason my whole life I’ve been able to pick things up really quickly and get good at them. I don’t mean that in a cocky way at all. My friends used to give me shit when I was young because we would all try to learn something together and I would pick it up really fast. So I guess I don’t like to suck at things. I’ve never really been focused like, oh, here’s my goal in surfing, here’s my goal in wakeboarding or wakeskating. It was like I just enjoyed doing it and wanted to get better at it and that was it.
Right, so it just happened to turn into a pro career?
Collin: Yeah. I literally moved out and said, “Mom, I’m going to go try to do the Pro Tour,” because I thought that’s how you did it in professional wakeboarding.
Well, you were good enough to hang with some of these guys and make some noise on the Pro Tour.
Collin: I guess it just came to a point where I would watch videos and I could do pretty much everything they’re doing. I kind of realized that maybe I can make a career out of it.
Do you think that helped you or hurt you?
Collin: Like not having a focus?
Collin: I don’t know. I mean, I’m happy with where I am. The first guy I ever met in Orlando was Darin Shapiro, and you know he’s kind of a guru, and I rode with him every day for a couple years when I first moved here. He would go out and train and tell me how to train for contests and I would try to put together a run. Never to this day have I done a full run of what I would want to do in a contest. I just couldn’t do it. It wasn’t me.