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Five minutes with Thomas Horrell

April 2, 2000
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Thomas Horrell isn’t kidding when he says that skiboarding sucks. It comes across the same way any of his other colorful off-handed commentary does – rolling-on-the-floor, clutch-your-gut funny. But, this time, he isn’t joking. Thomas hates skiboarding. Period. “It’s sucking the soul out of this sport. I’m almost embarrassed to be a part of it.” Pretty intense words from a guy who exploded onto the pro scene during the ’95 world championship finals – just another skiboarding contest if you subscribe to Thomas’ belief that competitions aren’t really about wakeboarding anymore. “They’re just contests run by skiers for skiboarders who are trying to make money for their skiboard companies.” Obviously Thomas doesn’t pull any punches on, or in this case off, the water. He’ll tell you what’s up if you ask him. As for wakeboarding, he remains true to the sport by refusing to sacrifice his style for the sake of winning any amount of money or prestige. That’s the difference between Thomas Horrell and any of the current tribe of so-called skiboarders riding on tour. At least, that’s one.

State your name, age and where you are from, for the record.
Thomas Horrell. 19. Winter Haven, Florida.

What are you doing in Seattle? Aren’t you in the wrong part of the world? It sucks here.
I’m up at Full Tilt working on new stuff and trying to ride as little as possible ’cause that’s what “Seattle style” is all about.

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So what kind of stuff are you working on?
Everything from boards to soft goods and trying to figure out why the skiboard companies make more money than we do.

Speaking of skiboarding, how the hell do you feel about that stuff?
I think that it is pretty funny and too many people don’t know the truth about it.
What about wakeboarding? What’s that all about?
It’s something fun and special that skiboarders don’t know about.

What do you mean?
I mean the people that are in the sport only for competition and money.

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So who are these wakeboarders that you are referring to?
I’m not going to name names. They know who they are.

Since skiboarding has such an influence, where do you see the sport in 10 years?
Uhhhh, I’m trying to be optimistic about it, but when all that people know about wakeboarding is what they see on TV, it makes me sad. (He’s crying now.)

Who do you look up to in wakeboarding – besides Scott Byerly?
I’ve gained a ton of respect for little Randy. After spending more time with him, I can’t even believe how well he rides. Props out to Igor, Schmaltz, Dewy, Nelly, Josh Smith and Jason Messer – the rad guy on the wake skate.

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What about that trick-in-controversy I saw you land six months ago and now Keith Kipp wants to claim it?
I don’t know that much about it, but I think it should be named toeside roll to blind.

Enough about wakeboarding. Don’t you play football and lift weights all of the time?
Absolutely.

Aren’t you into those crazy, demon-worship records?
Absolutely.

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What about the sex, I mean,
X Games?
It was pulled behind a Hyperlite Se … I mean X Star.
What about the skating? And I don’t mean inline.
Mad props to anybody that skates professionally. Or as an amateur. Skateboarding is the coolest sport in the world. I don’t care what anybody says.

How do you like the Redmond Brewing Company?
It’s a pretty good place to eat, but there is this snot-nosed bus boy who’s always hitting on the chicks instead of filling the water glasses. I think that you know him.

Do you think that this interview is coming off good?
Absolutely.

When did you get your lip pierced?
Last night. Dumb, dumb. You were with me, or have you forgotten already?

What about God?
My Lord and Savior is Jesus Christ. I wish I was a better Christian.

What about ads and graphic design?
I really get into graphics and stuff like that. Full Tilt is rad because the riders get to do all their own ads and everything from the T-shirts to the board bags. There isn’t another company out there that is so dedicated to their riders.

Any ups to give?
Yeah. Thanks to God, my family, my sponsors (Full Tilt, Quiksilver, O’Neill, Arnette, Reef Brazil and Christian Family Ski School), Wake Boarding magazine and you, Scott, for doing this interview.

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