Words: Erik Ruck Photos: Bill Doster
Over my past decade in wakeboarding, I’ve seen a lot of really, really good riders. Some simply came and went while others lifted the sport to places none of us thought possible just a few short years ago. After spending quite a bit of time with Adam Errington on the water, on the road and just plain hanging out, I know he belongs in that latter group. Adam is part of what I like to refer to as the third generation of true pro riders. Since the first was the Byerly era and the second was the Pointless era, Adam and his contemporaries have quite a large responsibility on their hands. Namely, keeping the progression of wakeboarding alive. One of the coolest things about watching this new generation of riders is seeing their passion and their ideas for where they can take the sport. So I was amped to sit down with Adam and talk about what our great sport really means to him. P.S., we got into some shenanigans too. Enjoy.
So Adam, you were born in Scotland, right? This is true.
When did you move to the States? I was about 4 years old. It’s actually a funny story. There is a drawing, similar to a lottery, throughout Europe, and it’s for a green card to America. My parents just happened to win it. So I’m thinking my chances of winning the lottery are really good or really, really bad at this point.
Why did your parents choose Orlando? It’s a funny thing because they were actually looking at California. You know, the American dream of moving out to L.A. and living the life! But they went on vacation with some friends from Scotland to the Florida Keys I think it was. I was on this trip, but I barely remember. Anyway, my parents fell in love with Florida and made the call!
How has your Scottish heritage influenced your life?
Is haggis a typical dish served at the Errington family table? My dad is definitely a haggis eater.
Just to make this clear, what is haggis exactly? It’s a mixture…Of blood and guts?Yeah, pretty much, just cooked up a certain way. I’m pretty sure I have eaten it at some point in my life.
Do you ever wish you held on to your Scottish accent? Absolutely! For a few reasons, Ruck. Reason number one would be for the females. They love the accent.
So you’re saying you would get luckier if you were rocking the full Scottish accent? 100 percent.
Last Scottish question: Is Braveheart one of your favorite movies? Incredible movie.
All-time! All-time and it jazzes me up when I watch it. Being from Scotland and having that history and that culture, it’s heartwarming. I love where I’m from, but I also love America. I’ve basically lived here my whole life.
What made you first want to wakeboard? The first time I ever saw wakeboarding was with my dad and a good friend of his, Scott Fader. He would come out in the boat with us, and this was when I was going through my tubing and kneeboarding stage. We never really skied much, but we just loved being out on the water. One day Scott brought over a wakeboard. I think I was about 13. Scott and my dad spent the whole day just trying to get up on this wakeboard. Throughout the day, I was saying, “Please let me try wakeboarding, please,” and they kept saying, “You should stick to your tube and kneeboard. If we can’t get up, you’re never going to be able to.” Finally, my mom stepped in and said to give me a chance. So they did, and boom, I popped up on my first try, and they couldn’t believe it. I actually think they were kind of pissed off because they tried all day, telling me I was never going to be able to do it, then little old me popped up first try! After that, I was hooked, and the rest is history.
You got good really quickly. What was behind the rapid progression? I have no doubt in my mind it was OWC. I was 13 years old, and it hit me right in the face! It was the most interested I have ever been in anything in my entire life. I went to OWC every single day for a whole year — rain or shine! After school until sundown and in the summer I was the first person there and the last person to leave!
I remember showing up to the cable with Shane Bonifay and asking, “Who is that little shrimp?” That’s exactly it! I was a little shrimp cable rat. At school, I would just sit there and watch the clock count down until I could go to the cable. I learned all the basics and how to hit rails, but I had no idea about boat riding until a year later when I met Mike Ferraro. At that time, it was Mike’s Place at OWC, and Mike kind of took me under his wing. The first time I rode the boat with Mike, I learned basic rolls, tantrums and some spins. I think Mike was kind of blown away. That was when I started getting coached and taking the sport more seriously. The more I learned about the industry, the more I wanted to make a career out of it.
How did you meet and start riding with Jimmy LaRiche? The first time I ever saw Jimmy ride was at one of OWC’s Slider Spectaculars, which was a series of rail events OWC put on. I was 15 or 16, a full-on cable rat and totally thought I was a badass. This was my home park where I rode every day.
So you wanted to represent! Yeah, it was my home ground! So it was the day before the event and I fell off this kicker. I’m swimming back and I see someone cranking into the kicker and it was Jimmy. He busts this ridiculous toe back 5, and people weren’t even really doing those then. I was like, “What?” I had no idea who this kid was.
You were like, “Who is this kid? Who is this shrimp?” Fully. I was like, “Who is this little shrimp, just shrimping on my shrimp grounds right now?” But I think it went down more like, “Are you riding tomorrow?” And he said, “Yeah, I ride down at Ski Rixen. My name is Jimmy. You’re Adam, right?” That conversation turned into, “Hey, we have a day until the event. Do you want to shred?” That was it. We started riding together and became great friends.
How would you say you and Jimmy influenced each other on the water? I think we basically started wakeboarding together and since we met each other, we’ve just been on the same level.
The same mental level? Same mind-set? Well, I wouldn’t say that. You know Jimmy! But as far as passion for the sport and skill level, I think we feed off each other in good ways. He has tricks he’s good at that I’m not and vice versa.
I have a side question. Why don’t you guys do front flips? What’s up with that? It’s the weirdest thing. Tantrum tricks are so weird to me.
But I didn’t say tantrum. I said front flips! But still tantrum.
No! OK, front flips. Let’s talk front flips,
Because if you’re saying a tantrum is the same as a front flip, then you’re throwing frantrums! I am throwing frantrums, that’s the thing. I’ve never been able to front flip. I don’t know why, and I don’t know why Jim can’t do a front flip. Probably for the same reason I can’t do one.
Because it’s an old-school trick. Anyway, I heard you’re moving next door to Jimmy. I’m moving into The Hood. I have a lot of friends in The Hood. It’s a funny story: A house comes up for sale, and it just happens to be next door to Jimmy and previously owned by Daniel Watkins. Daniel owned two houses next door to each other, he sold one to Jim and now I’m getting the other one. I’m super pumped to be moving in. It’s just a good crew and good vibes out here.