For any aspiring pro rider, his fate, unfortunately, comes down to one thing: Either you have it or you don’t. And I’m not talking about wakeboarding. We’ve seen plenty of pro-caliber riders in the Junior Men’s division at contests, but you can tell if a guy has a chance before he even pulls his first move. Just look at his demeanor, his vibe, body type, the stickers on his board, the way he takes off the dock, who his friends are and how much fun he’s having.
From the minute I saw a young Adam Errington slaying the rails on the cable at Orlando Watersports Complex, I knew he had that certain something. Upon leaving, I saw him just standing there, chilling with his friends and checking his cell phone. He had a Byerly-esque quiet/cool thing going on. I told Paul O’Brien from Ronix about him and Paul said he had never heard more industry buzz at one time about an up-and-coming rider. Adam soon had a contract with the budding brand.
Jimmy LaRiche, coming through the South Florida scene, had it a little different. Adam and Jimmy were best friends, but Jimmy had to get noticed through contests and on visits to Orlando. He was young, small and breaking through his growth phase. I wasn’t sure about Jimmy at first, but I’ll never forget seeing him stomp a backside 720 at the end of a Junior Men’s contest run in Acworth, Georgia. He was so pumped that he screamed all the way back to the dock. He definitely had the pubescent, voice-crackling scream going on. He kept pumping his fist, yelling and smiling. Any time a rider has an exaggerated, prolonged celebration, it usually gets annoying. Instead, Jimmy’s vibe gave me the feeling there is no one else in the world who likes wakeboarding as much as he does. His energy was contagious and refreshing. I wanted to ride with the guy, get good photos and put him in the magazine.
Fast-forward five years and Adam Errington and Jimmy LaRiche are probably the most deadly duo in wakeboarding. The coolest part is that having top sponsors, titles, fame and money hasn’t seemed to change them a bit. They’ve remained best friends and truly define all that is good about wakeboarding and being a pro rider.
Jimmy had the idea for a shoot near his hometown to get some unique photos in front of the Miami skyline. So we sent our top shooter, Bill Doster, to nail it like he always does. The trip kind of turned into a soul-searching reflection for Jimmy and Adam, and the following photos reflect that vibe. — Kevco
Photos: Bill Doster