In case you haven’t heard already, and I find that about as likely as not being aware your face is on fire, Scott Byerly signed a deal with Hyperlite this March. It was a move that definitely drew a collective “Whaaaat????” from the wakeboarding populous. After all, Scott’s name and legend status had been born and solidified at Wake Tech during the early years, which was Hyperlite’s main competition.
But all that’s old news. In the race to keep up, Wake Tech fell behind, and Scott’s riding suffered because of it. He needed someone to step in and support the goals he had set for himself: To be the best wakeboarder he can be, and to design signature products that he has full control over and a belief in. Enter Hyperlite. They offered Byerly the deal he was looking for, and the deal that has given this legend a new lease on his wakeboarding life.
On the day of this interview, just a week after the deal went down, Scott was already riding a prototype board that was pretty close to what the public will be seeing with his name and graphics on it. The turnaround speed is mostly due to Byerly’s shaper, Scott Bouchard, who lives and shapes in nearby Melbourne Beach. Bouchard will be designing all of Byerly’s signature boards over the course of his contract with Hyperlite. A contract which, according to both Scott and Paul O’Brien of Hyperlite, was not about the biggest paycheck (he had other offers), but about giving him the freedom and control he wanted over designing the products with his name on them.
How did this all go down?
Well, like six months ago I stopped getting paid by Wake Tech. I was kind of over it, and I just decided I had to go my own way. So I started talking to people, looking for a long-term thing. I wanted somebody that was going to be around for awhile because I, you know, plan on being around for awhile (laughing). It took a lot of thinking. But this wasn’t at all about a big money deal. I wanted somebody that was going to make my boards and make them right, the way I wanted them. Somebody that wanted me to make new stuff all the time … Hyperlite.
When you realized that Hyperlite that was going to fit that bill, was there any hesitation on your part?
Well, I never thought that I was ever going to ride for Hyperlite before. But now that I look at it as what I do for a living … I mean, I really thought about it long and hard, and I thought that it could work. They said that I could do whatever I wanted to do: Ride contests, whatever. They sounded like they were going to give me the freedom that I wanted, with boards and everything. They’re going to give me complete final approval for anything with my name on it: boards, graphics, boots, everything. So I jumped on it, and I’m stoked. I think it’s the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time.
Do you think you want to do contests?
Oh yeah, I’m going to do contests. I’ve always planned on it. I was bummed with Wake Tech for quite a few years, you know. They were doing stuff behind my back: changing graphics, not telling me stuff. I’ve been a nice guy and didn’t say anything about it, but now it’s time for me to move on. They wanted me to ride for them again, and they wanted to keep Randy around. They wanted everything to be right, but it just wasn’t going to happen.
So how long is the Hyperlite contract for?
It’s long term. That’s all I can say. But it looks out for me, and it’s in my best interest and theirs too.
How is it in their best interest?