An injury-free pro wakeboarder is a rare find these days.
Gator, Darin Shapiro, Doug Homan … and the list goes on. I caught up with yet another recovering pro recently in Atlanta to find out about the sport, life and his pursuit of grease.
I blew out my ACL from hyper-extending my knee at the first tour stop last year in Orlando. I was doing a front-side front flip. I had to have knee surgery, and it pretty much sucked.
What have you been doing in lieu of competing this past year?
Besides my knee therapy, I’ve been working with Wake Tech and helping to promote them and the sport mainly.
Are you still managing to get sponsorship support in spite of your injury? Yeah. Besides Wake Tech and NBN Wakeboards/Snowboards /Skateboards, there’s Body Glove wetsuits, Split clothing, Spy sunglasses, FSL sport watches and Performance Ski & Surf Shop.
What are your plans for this year?
I’m hoping to be back 100 percent on my leg by the start of the tour. My knee is strong, but it’s pretty scary getting out on it. Besides that, I’m gonna be doing a lot of marketing with NBN and I’ll probably be the head driver for the Wake Tech van. I really want to see the operation do well. We are going to be setting up clinics around the country with local shops and towing a half-pipe behind the van to do skateboard demos for NBN. I’m pretty stoked about it all.
Do you see your future heading toward the industry side?
Yeah, definitely. I’m one of the older riders (27) and I can accept that. My future is in the sport, if not riding, then working. I’m having fun now doing both.
What’s this riders association you’re involved in?
It’s not WWA, it’s not AWSA, it’s all the riders getting together to try to represent ourselves better, be more organized, getting bigger tours, and building the sport overall. Right now it’s pretty much Cobe Mikacich, Dean Lavelle, Bill McCaffray, Charley Patterson, Shaun Murray, myself and David Meters (of the Baker Leisure Group) trying to put it together.
Who is your favorite rider?
Byerly’s the man. He’s such an creative and innovative rider. I like to watch him most. Also an underrated favorite would have to be Thomas Horrell. Like Byerly, he’s coming up with new moves like no one else.
When you’re not wakeboarding, what do you enjoy doing?
I’d have to say motorcycle riding. That’s why I’m here in Atlanta, for the AMA Supercross Race. I’m a big fan of the sport and have several good friends who race professionally like Jeff (Fro) Emig and Denny Stephenson. Some of them are also into wakeboarding, so it’s pretty cool. It’s a good crossover. I’m also big into water ballet. Oh, and there’s surfing. They wanted me to be a pro surfer, but the paddling really sucks.
What is your typical day like?
I’m up by 11 a.m., at the earliest. Making a bunch of phone calls, towing Weddington
and Cobe, running errands, lifting weights, sometimes riding my bike (he’s got a Honda CR250), hangin’ out with my girlfriend, Lucy. That’s pretty much my life.
Jeeremy McGrath (1996 AMA 250cc Supercross champion) asks …
Are you solid?
Uhhhh. Well … I’d like to think I was solid. Yeah, I guess I’m solid enough.
Mike Weddington (pro wakeboarder) asks … What’s your favorite condiment?
Mayonnaise rules. The more, the better. There’s nothin’ like eating a big pile of lard.
Mack Hudgins (hometown friend, NC) asks … Rate the top three wakeboarders in rental-car driving.
First, Cobe and Weddington make one of the best combinations I can think of. With Cobe at the wheel and Mike on E-break, they are untouchable. Of course I’d like to think I make a strong substitute for either one of them. Second place would have to be Thomas (guard rail) Horrell and Randy Harris. They are the up-and-comers to watch. Thirdly, he’s not a wakeboarder, but Jeff Emig. He’s definitely a strong contender worth noting on our circuit.
Bisch’s diet regimen is followed as closely as his knee therapy, and he swears by it to keep him in shape during the off-season. He won’t give details about his secret diet to keep the edge on his competitors, but this is what I discovered over the weekend.
Friday, 5:55 p.m.
Somewhere in north Florida
Caramel DeLights Girl Scout cookies.
Friday, 9:18 p.m.
Hartsfield Airport, Atlanta
Chicken wings and a beer.
Saturday, 5:22 a.m.
Waffle House, somewhere way-too-far out of Atlanta, thanks to Lucy
Ham and cheese omelet, two sausage patties, double order of cheese hash browns, half a waffle and toast.
Saturday, 2:15 p.m.
Varsity Restaurant (largest, world-famous, 1950s-style grease pit diner), Atlanta
The #4 – steak burger with onions and mayo; chili dog w/ mayo; onion Rings; half of the pork/ham sandwich special, heavy on the mayo; and a Frosty Orange.
Saturday, 9:15 p.m.
Georgia Dome, Supercross Event
Nachos with salsa and cheese, and a Hieneken.
Saturday, 1:45 a.m.
Pink Pony, Gentlemen’s Club, North Atlanta
Eyeing the fries, fruit and porn-star Marilyn, but not brave enough to order.
Sunday, 6:36 a.m.
Waffle House, lost somewhere else in GA
Ham and cheese omelet, two sausage links, grits and toast.
Having taken liberties with John Travolta’s famous line in Pulp Fiction, Bisch says “Grease tastes good!” Whatever works, right?