Nathan Strange

Nathan Strange may not be a name you know in 1998. But it's someone you won't forget. A strong rider with a varied arsenal of moves, he comes from an area not known for its wakeboarders - Mississippi. He's the kind of guy who is constantly joking, but behind his laid-back demeanor, he's focused.

What is riding in Mississippi like?
Pretty cool. There's about 50 guys in my area who are really into it. People don't really know that we have a lot of places to ride; it's really growing.

What do you do in the off season?
I ride when I can but I also jump on the tramp, skateboard, shoot pool, work out, go snowboarding if I can afford it.

I heard you hung out with Jenny McCarthy?
(Laughs) Yeah, that was when I visited my brother at college in California. As a joke we both tried out for MTV's Singled Out game and made it to the finals. We didn't win though.

You're doing some hard tricks. What do you think about when you're trying a difficult move?
I sometimes try to think about how pumped I was after seeing Rage Against the Machine live. I felt like I could do anything after that. I guess I replay Rage songs in my head.

Hardest move you're doing now in 1998?
Crow mobe or maybe a switch vulcan.

I heard you play drums in a band;
what's up with that?
Yeah, we're called Slow Children at Play. We released a CD and toured a little and got sponsored by Bizo. We do all our own stuff - it's a mixture of rock styles, it's fun.

Are you concerned that 20 is old to turn pro in wakeboarding these days?
Not really. People are starting at all different ages because the sport is still new. If you charge, age doesn't matter.

How's the sponsor scene going since winning second in junior mens at the Worlds?
It's been a little slow. I'm still calling around because people don't know me that much yet. So far I've hooked up with some good people, but I'm always looking for new sponsors 'cause I'm broke.

What's your DJ name?
(Laughs) Probably DJ MC Wacky M. My friend Matt makes up all the names.

What's the M stand for?
MWabinski. But the "M" is silent (Laughs).

What are your future plans in wakeboarding?
To open my own wakeboard store here with my friends Heath Davis and Matt Robinson. We'll carry wakeboards and skateboards.

Name the riders that influence you.
Ty Hill locally, and with the pros probably Greg Nelson, Shannon Best and of course Byerly.

Last chance, let's hear the thanks list.
Definitely thanks to Mom and Dad, my bro, Ty, Liza, Wolfgang, Todd Weatherhill, all my friends and my sponsors O'Brien, Rainbow Fins, Black Flys, Huck Threads, Wileys, Bizo, MasterLine, Skylon and Spoon.

That's my Great Dane. He's bad.