Watching Gregg Necrason ride, you would think he has the same tormented existence as an artist or musician.
That existence, based on the drive to progress beyond, has left him unsatisfied with the status quo. His emotions on the water are focused and aggressive. Oddly enough, off the water, it's a different dichotomy.
Soft-spoken and extremely funny, Necrason is just the nice kid next door.
Native to the Orlando area, Gregg was raised on Lake Killarney, where he learned to water ski at a young age, trick skied during his youth, and has now evolved into a professional wakeboarder.
Gregg has had a lot of influence on the sport for a guy who didn't start riding until the late age of 18 and wasn't serious until after high school. Then, like other dominant central Florida pros, he began riding on Lake Katherine with Scott Byerly, Drew McGuckin and Johnny King.
"Those guys helped me learn so much so fast," he says. "I was learning like three new tricks a week for awhile. Tony Finn started to hook me up with boards, and it has just grown from there. Those guys really helped me in the beginning. Well, them and my family."
Having a supportive family has been key to Gregg's success. "There got to be so many people over at Scott's that no one ever got to ride. So my dad bought us a Sport Nautique and I started to ride at home more. Now I pretty much ride with two or three people and get more time to learn."
Being able to progress seems to be the driving force in Gregg's life, a desire matched by his natural talent. "I'd like to win a stop or two this year. What I'd really like to win is the Masters. It's the Super Bowl of water skiing, the most conservative contest ever, but they are totally into wakeboarding now. Winning a Rolex would be bad," Gregg laughs.
"This year is going to be big. There are now like 20 guys who have the ability to take it any weekend. Personally, I think this is Shaun's year, but I'd like to be top 3 or top 5."
People often think Gregg is cocky and self-centered, but it's more a misinterpretation of his introspective and quiet persona.
Often perceived as being serious at contests, Gregg says, " I look at competition more like an exhibition with everyone, not against anyone, you know? It's not like I have to compete against that one guy; it's more like I have to compete against myself."
But, unlike some other riders who take that self-lashing and spoon it out on the public, "Everyone makes mistakes and falls; you just have to move on and not throw an attitude.
People who can't do that are killing the sport. I think the attitudes of a lot of the riders are just s%&*#$. I just wish that some of the riders would realize how little our sport is, and the more people we can expose to it the better."
Gregg's good attitude and work ethic have gotten him a slew of supportive sponsors: Liquid Force, Sony, Nautique, Duffs, Rip Curl and DNA. In the past few years, these sponsors have sent Gregg all over the world to promote the sport and their products.
More than anything, riding well is what drives Gregg to get up each morning. Right now, wakeboarding is what it's all about.