Thomas Horrell

Thomas Horrell's wakeboard career has gone through many stages in a few short years, from promising youth to leader to anarchist to exile and back again. Needless to say, Thomas has a different and somewhat enlightened perspective on the whole wakeboard cesspool. Throughout his evolution, he has had the opportunity to put some thought into who he is, where he stands and what he stands for. The following are just a few of the chapters that make up the ongoing story of Thomas Horrell.

Chapter 1 - Individuality
"I think there is definitely a lot of room for people to point the finger at me. There are people who need someone to put the blame on for water skiing not being the mecca for everything that goes on behind a boat. Hyperlite is basically the main instigator of all of that; there have been a lot of things said and a lot of things done. When it comes down to it, there are people who run water skiing who have tried to push things off on me and tried to push me out of the sport. Tried to say bad things about me. It doesn't really bother me that much. But it seems like the more I do and the more I am myself, the more they want me out of the sport. It doesn't matter if it's me or someone coming up behind me to have seen what Schmaltz has seen and what I've seen. It doesn't matter who it is; they're always going to try to push you out because they don't want the sport to go in that direction."

Chapter 2 - Respect
"The wakeskate thing has just started. Messer and his whole scheme has just started to unfold as he thought. He's totally right on when it comes to that. It's going to go huge and totally break through all of the barriers that have been up against wakeboarding in the last three or four years. There's a lot of respect held back from wakeboarding basically because of its lack of technicality and its lack of difficulty. Some of the skateboarders that I talk to ask me, "Why is it that if
you get on a wakeboard and ride every day for two years you are automatically pro?" I'm like, uhh. It's a different kind of sport. It isn't as demanding a sport;
it isn't as gnarly as dealing with terrain, pavement and riding something
you
aren't attached to. To
a lot of people from different sports, when they look in the magazines they see wakeboarding as being easy. There are 14-year-olds who have been riding for two years and are pro and ripping on everybody. That's all they see. It's a pretty safe observation. I can totally see where they're coming from. It's all about who practices the most or whose mom and dad can afford to give them a boat and a gas card so they can ride eight times a day. I like to see people out on the lake getting into the sport, just ripping around. I just don't like to see a lot of the attitudes that come along with a kid that has a couple of inverts under his belt. It's funny. Little rippers who don't respect anyone that came before them, the people that had a hard time inventing the things that they all learned in a year."
Chapter 3 - Relationships
"It seems like the normal wakeboarder relationship is where nobody needs anything unless you have something for them. It's pretty basic; it's like a business relationship, I'd say. I call a lot of these guys friends, but I wouldn't call them friends that I can depend on or friends that I could call to talk about something. You are pretty much alone if you are anybody. It's like business when it comes to that. We have people that we go and ride with, but it's weird. There are so few people who have stood for anything in this sport, when it comes down to it there are few people that would bk any side of wakeboarding."

Chapter 4 - Mutiny
"It's really cool riding for someone who understands and that I have looked up to for so long, as far as being a leader in the sport, especially idea-wise. It totally works. Things were shaky for awhile, though. It wasn't a matter of me not wanting to ride for them; there was just a lot of stuff said. You would not believe the number of people that tried to get me not to ride for Mutiny. It was crazy. There's some serious pull in this sport by the people that run the dark side. You know, if that had happened, I would still be happy. I wouldn't take it as if it were the end of my life. I'd go be a janitor before I signed with Hyperlite. I've always felt like Mutiny was for real, but I didn't really know how serious they were about trying to change the sport until I went out there and saw it. I had talked to Erich a number of times before that, and I talked to him the whole time I was riding for someone else. It was just a matter of us seeing eye to eye the whole way, and then when the opportunity came up, they did the right thing and I am stoked. It's going to blow up. Mutiny is what every other water-ski-based wakeboard company wishes they were. When you look at what's really going on, the only rider-based company that's totally run without any water-ski-based interest at all is Mutiny. There are ones that front like that and act like they are but they aren't. They are not purely wakeboard interested or they wouldn't be having their boards made by water-ski companies or they wouldn't deal with them in any way. I'm not even saying anymore about it."

Chapter 5 - Sarah
"If we had both had sponsor problems at the same time, it would have sucked, but fortunately it didn't work out that way. It's weird; that's the problem about our profession. We have bills to pay and not all of us live in our parents' houses and have a bunch of money in the bank. It's weird sometimes; think about it - you are at home with a person every day, all day, and you are out in a boat with that person. It's like going to work with a person you live with. I basically see her 24 hours a day. We have twice as much time together as normal people. We really actually get along really good and we work pretty well together. She's a nice person. I dig her. She will always be Sarah Cline and she's a different person than me, but that's what I like about her."
Chapter 6 - Exploitation
"No matter which direction the sport goes in, there is always going to be someone there to try to over-market it and try to make tons of money off of it and turn it into some ridiculous thing. People like Dishman (Sean) and Pat (Panakos) are trying to run contests for the good of the sport. I feel like they are doing it with their hearts in the right place. If someone builds a super-duper slider park and has a contest there with a $50,000 purse, I am sure I will want to be there, but it is one of those things where everything you do someone is going to make money off of and totally exploit it. I think it would be good if the direction we are trying to take was expanded into the contest scene. I just don't think a lot of these people would go there based on the liability, and if they do, they are going to do a real funny job of it."

Chapter 7 - Movies
"I've been listening to a lot of music every second that I've not been doing something. I've been working on this video part for Mutiny. They sent me the camera down here, and I've been filming everybody. The Mutiny video is going to be sick. It's total punk style, chaos, what they are all about. It's pretty cool. I've been pretty impressed, actually. I'm stoked to get to do some work on this video. People who make movies like Rook have opened up all these doors. It makes me realize that there's so much to it that goes into the videos, so much more than what people see, and it's so cool, but the videos could be so much better. If you look at the skate videos that have been coming out recently, it's a joke; our videos could be so much better. I don't really DJ that much any more, but we're going to mix a lot for this video. The sound track will be sick."

Chapter 8 - History
"There are things that riders have been saying for years that people were afraid to pr

int or were scared to say. I've never written an article trying to call people out or anything like that. It's just that people have heard what others have said from a different side of the sport, which I try to represent or at least look up to. I guess I've been targeted as the person that's been saying everything for so long, I guess I just realize that there is a lot more than what's in the magazines and television. A lot of kids don't even realize that. They just think that Thomas, Chase and Matt have a beef with this whole other side of the sport, as if this group just evolved over two weeks or something. Just putting a name to it is totally crazy. I never tried to split anything or try to cause a bunch of controversy. I just want people to understand that there are different sides to this sport. It was taken all in negativity, and that was never, ever, the intention. It was just a matter of getting the information out that there's a lot more to wakeboarding than what you read and what you see."
Chapter 9 - Religion
"My parents never really pushed religion on me. They supported it but never really pushed it on me. As a kid we went to sort of a normal church, where everybody was sort of bummed on everything; everybody had long faces like they didn't really want to be there. It was kind of a routine thing. I never really dug it. I didn't like it at all. Then I went through some weird times in my life where a bunch of crazy things happened. Then I went to this other church with one of my buddies, and it was totally different. We thought is was pretty weird and outrageous, but we kept going. I started to take God a little more seriously, but it took a different setting. Religion isn't for everybody. I don't think that pushing anybody into religion is the way to convince them. I don't think everybody can get into something like that, but for those that have always known only this little bitty piece of religion, there's a lot more to it than that. It's been kind of a weird road for me in relation to where God wants me to be or what I'm supposed to do with this part of my life. I think that I came to the realization that it is just about me having fun and being happy."

Chapter 10 -Wakeskating
"I think wakeskating is going to be a lot bigger than it is right now. I can't say what decking is best. I know that I like to skateboard and that the closest thing to that on the water is grip tape and shoes. It's a little weird at first, but a bunch of people have been changing over. The only thing that limits you about the pads is that you can't put your feet all over the board. Drew tried my wakeskate and totally dug it because he could put his feet wherever he wanted. You can change your actual stance in the air; you could land fakie or even switch. The concepts are unreal. It's so much more a dynamic sport, and more doors are being opened every day. After you ride it a few times and find out that you are not all clumsy out there, it's kind of like a skateboard. I am not trying to compare it to skateboarding because it's a lot different than that, but it's a lot more like skateboarding than wakeboarding. It can't be ridden work on this video. People who make movies like Rook have opened up all these doors. It makes me realize that there's so much to it that goes into the videos, so much more than what people see, and it's so cool, but the videos could be so much better. If you look at the skate videos that have been coming out recently, it's a joke; our videos could be so much better. I don't really DJ that much any more, but we're going to mix a lot for this video. The sound track will be sick."

Chapter 8 - History
"There are things that riders have been saying for years that people were afraid to print or were scared to say. I've never written an article trying to call people out or anything like that. It's just that people have heard what others have said from a different side of the sport, which I try to represent or at least look up to. I guess I've been targeted as the person that's been saying everything for so long, I guess I just realize that there is a lot more than what's in the magazines and television. A lot of kids don't even realize that. They just think that Thomas, Chase and Matt have a beef with this whole other side of the sport, as if this group just evolved over two weeks or something. Just putting a name to it is totally crazy. I never tried to split anything or try to cause a bunch of controversy. I just want people to understand that there are different sides to this sport. It was taken all in negativity, and that was never, ever, the intention. It was just a matter of getting the information out that there's a lot more to wakeboarding than what you read and what you see."
Chapter 9 - Religion
"My parents never really pushed religion on me. They supported it but never really pushed it on me. As a kid we went to sort of a normal church, where everybody was sort of bummed on everything; everybody had long faces like they didn't really want to be there. It was kind of a routine thing. I never really dug it. I didn't like it at all. Then I went through some weird times in my life where a bunch of crazy things happened. Then I went to this other church with one of my buddies, and it was totally different. We thought is was pretty weird and outrageous, but we kept going. I started to take God a little more seriously, but it took a different setting. Religion isn't for everybody. I don't think that pushing anybody into religion is the way to convince them. I don't think everybody can get into something like that, but for those that have always known only this little bitty piece of religion, there's a lot more to it than that. It's been kind of a weird road for me in relation to where God wants me to be or what I'm supposed to do with this part of my life. I think that I came to the realization that it is just about me having fun and being happy."

Chapter 10 -Wakeskating
"I think wakeskating is going to be a lot bigger than it is right now. I can't say what decking is best. I know that I like to skateboard and that the closest thing to that on the water is grip tape and shoes. It's a little weird at first, but a bunch of people have been changing over. The only thing that limits you about the pads is that you can't put your feet all over the board. Drew tried my wakeskate and totally dug it because he could put his feet wherever he wanted. You can change your actual stance in the air; you could land fakie or even switch. The concepts are unreal. It's so much more a dynamic sport, and more doors are being opened every day. After you ride it a few times and find out that you are not all clumsy out there, it's kind of like a skateboard. I am not trying to compare it to skateboarding because it's a lot different than that, but it's a lot more like skateboarding than wakeboarding. It can't be ridden like a wakeboard. Once you spend enough time on it, it's two separate things, definitely. I seriously never thought this sport could be as fun as it is now, and I never thought it could be as wide open or as crazy as it has gotten. It's gotten out of hand, and it's going to get even nuttier in the next year. Drew's been trying a bunch of crazy stuff that's pretty much mind-expanding tricks, I'd say - some stuff that totally makes you think about what is going on out there. He is really creative. Some day soon there will be an all-wakeskate company, and it's going to be a totally different thing; it's going to be sick. People will triple-take on it; it's going to be massive and people won't know what to think."

Chapter 11 - Professionalism
"Wakeboards should not cost $800, and the riders should not be paid so much. I can't believe some of the things that are coming out of these peoples mouths about how I don't get paid this, and how we should get together on this and make them pay us all more. That's such greed and such selfishness. They're robbing the heart of the sport, tak

ing away everything that makes it cool. You don't have to try to make a million dollars at this; you don't have to do anything except have fun and have a good life and treat people honestly and fairly."den like a wakeboard. Once you spend enough time on it, it's two separate things, definitely. I seriously never thought this sport could be as fun as it is now, and I never thought it could be as wide open or as crazy as it has gotten. It's gotten out of hand, and it's going to get even nuttier in the next year. Drew's been trying a bunch of crazy stuff that's pretty much mind-expanding tricks, I'd say - some stuff that totally makes you think about what is going on out there. He is really creative. Some day soon there will be an all-wakeskate company, and it's going to be a totally different thing; it's going to be sick. People will triple-take on it; it's going to be massive and people won't know what to think."

Chapter 11 - Professionalism
"Wakeboards should not cost $800, and the riders should not be paid so much. I can't believe some of the things that are coming out of these peoples mouths about how I don't get paid this, and how we should get together on this and make them pay us all more. That's such greed and such selfishness. They're robbing the heart of the sport, taking away everything that makes it cool. You don't have to try to make a million dollars at this; you don't have to do anything except have fun and have a good life and treat people honestly and fairly."