Things with Shannon Best aren’t always as they seem. Sure, he lives a rock star lifestyle – partying till 4, sleeping till 4, hob-nobbing with the who’s who of wakeboarding. And he sure looks the part – long hair, cell phone, good-looking girl or 10 always around. He’s constantly in a good mood, continually looking for gossip, never forgets a joke, and he’s always telling you about how hard he’s training and how strong he feels. But spend a day with the guy, and, well, … things may be exactly as they seem.
It’s 50/50 that if you spend a day with Shannon you’ll actually see him ride. You’ve got a better chance of seeing him sleep till noon, or better yet, play Nintendo for two hours with various friends. But after being sidelined for seven months with an injury, the guy is “training” with newfound energy. Of course, he won’t ride on any timetable you try to establish – the stars pretty much have to be aligned just right (read: bad light, crappy photos). But I will give the guy credit for hopping off the dock on a cloudy afternoon and whipping off an impressive set before jetting off to “work.”
Work for Shannon on this particular day meant trying to get from Winter Haven to West Palm to shoot an interview with an Austrian television channel. Shannon doesn’t own a car, nor does he plan to buy one any time soon. (“I’ve got better things to spend money on.”) So, in order to get there, he took the train. “Jeff Heer told me about it. Actually, he raved about it. He said for $20 you sit in the bar car and drink for three hours. Works for me.” So for three hours he sits in the bar car drinking Budweiser from a can, playing cards with Heather Reynolds (Darin Shapiro’s girlfriend), whom he bumped into by accident at the train station. Of course, Shannon could be pissing in a toilet in Iowa and he would know the guy standing next to him. That’s just the kind of guy he is.
It’s now 5 p.m. and Shannon is finally awake and “home.” He’s at the Rixen – the cable in Pompano Beach that spawned his American career – and he’s hanging with Rixen buddies catching up on gossip. He’s conducted the interview, signed autographs for his fans and taken several spins around the cable. Of course, I had to laugh, ’cause it’s been over a year since Besty rode the Rixen, and the guy is R-U-S-T-Y. There’s a fat dude taking a turn pulling Raleys twice the size of Shannon’s. But Shannon’s laughing about it. Well, that and he’s already knee-deep in invitations to go out that night. Within the next hour, he’s showered, changed and is sitting at the bar, ready to start his “day,” the majority of which involves food, drinks, friends, girls and a prolonged stop at Diamond Dolls. Of course, that makes sense with the other constant in Shannon’s life: It’s pretty much 80/20 that if you spend a day with Shannon Best you’ll find him sauntering into some gentlemen’s club to evaluate the local talent.
The Army says you’ll do more before 8 a.m. than the rest of the world does all day. Shannon Best lives by that rule. Of course, he’s usually just getting home from the night before.