Roots run deep for Greg Lawrence. Growing up in lake-infested central Texas he first discovered wakeboarding at 15 when he met Jimmy Redmon. Soon, he was out on the water on the early Redline designs, carving up Lake Austin. After a brief period of traditional high-school athletics, he rediscovered wakeboarding a few years ago while working at Sea World of Texas. Since then, he has been going full bore in the sport. Last year he was only landing three inverts and now has mastered an arsenal of 17. As part of O’Brien’s Texas pro team he rides often with Pat McIlhenney, Billy Garcia and Todd Weatherhill.
What’s the best thing about wakeboarding?
This may sound corny but I think it’s sort of a natural high. When I go out on the water I pour all my energy into it and get this feeling of elation.
How would you describe your style?
I like to have fun but I’m pretty aggressive. I think the best way to learn a trick is to go out and do it. You’ll never make it if you don’t try. You may slam a few times, but soon or later you get it.
Are you competing this year?
Definitely, I plan to do all the tour stops, the X Games Challenge and hopefully the Wakeboard Open. I competed at Shreveport and Portland last year, but I didn’t do that well. This year will be different.
What do you do when you’re not riding?
I skate, both inline and skateboard. And I do gymnastics, which I did at Sea World. There’s also a bunch of hills here in the west side of Austin, so I mountain-bike too.
What are you studying at school?
Marketing. I have one year left at Southwest Texas State University. I ski on the ski team there, but they don’t have wakeboarding, so I use my wakeboard and compete in the trick ski competitions. I don’t usually get full credit for tricks because I’m on a wakeboard. I guess they don’t like that.
Who are your favorite riders or people you look up to?
Shaun Murray, Scott Byerly and Dean Lavelle – Dean’s got a lot of class on the water. I would also say I look up to Todd Weatherhill and Jimmy Redmon. Todd has been the biggest influence on me. He’s helped me so much with everything: tricks, sponsors, basically life in general.
Any other good wakeboarders you’ve seen?
Around here Chip Van Norstrand is really good. He’s been riding with me for a little while and throwing huge inverts. Kyle Alexander is another guy who has no water-ski experience and is now is hitting some big-air tricks.
Are you in any videos coming out?
They’re working on the O’Brien video now, I’ll be in that. It should be coming out sometime later this year.
Name some places where you’ve ridden. How do the scenes there vary from Texas’?
Orlando, Louisiana, California, Oregon. I’d say it’s more established in Florida as far as the amount of people who ride. But, as far as ability, I see Texas riders doing a lot of the same tricks you’d see elsewhere. California riders have a lot of style, they’re fun to watch.
Last book read?
Celestine Prophesy by James Redfield. It’s on existential philosophy.
Any props to give?
I just want to say thanks to my mom aand dad for the support they’ve given me. They’ve been there at the contests and provided me a boat to train with and everything. I owe them a lot. Also thanks to my sponsors, O’Brien, Wake Zone, Dragon and O’Neill. Oh yeah, and my favorite driver is my girlfriend, Elizabeth.
What are the 3 best things about riding and living in Texas?
Sea World nearby and able to get water time there. Large amount of lakes. Large amount of good riders to go out with & interest in the sport.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully still having fun wakeboarding. If I’m not competing I still want to be involved in the industry, maybe a sales position as a rep or something.
Does people in Texas really think their state is it’s own country?
Texans don’t think were better than anyone else, just that we’ve got it better than anyone else. All we lack is a good mountain to snowboard on.