The first time I saw Phil Aslinger ride, I remember everyone on the boat going silent. It was the summer of 2008, and Scott Byerly, George Daniels, Wes Brisco and I were on the road for the inaugural Byerly Bus Tour. One of our first stops was a lake in Nashville, Tennessee, called J. Percy Priest. Phil had heard about our demo that day from Byerly regional rep Jeremy Baker, and he drove down from his home in Chattanooga to ride with the boys. If it helps paint the picture, I still don’t know what foot forward the kid is. Before the tour started, Scott mentioned to me that we needed to find a Junior Men’s rider. After Phil hit the water, we knew the search was over. This winter, Phil got the opportunity of a lifetime — to live in our tour bus and ride every day on Scott’s home lake. Phil brought a great vibe to the lake. Even though he’s our team’s rookie, he’s respected by us all and is extremely mature for his 18 years. He has actually pushed me to pick up my wakeboard more often, because he always looks like he’s having so much fun out there. He’s already made some big moves on the Pro Tour, scoring a few podium finishes in the Junior Pro Men’s division this season. Keep your eyes peeled for this silent aquatic assassin as he makes the jump to the Pro division next year to ride with the big boys. — Ross Gardner
How did you get into wakeboarding? My Dad and brother got me on a board for the first time. I didn’t even like the lake that much until they made me wakeboard. I loved it right away, and I’ve wanted to go every day since. From there, my friend from home, Aaron Hale, was always a good rider. He pushed me and inspired me to take it to the next level. He still does every day.
How and when did you end up in Orlando? Well, I finished up my credits a semester early for high school and moved down there the on first of January. Scott and Kim Byerly let me stay in the tour bus for free all winter. It was a great experience. It’s thanks to the Byerlys, because it wouldn’t have happened without them. I plan on coming back down this fall as well.
How did you hook up with Team Byerly? I went to Nashville to help Jeremy Baker, the Byerly/Hyperlite rep, do some clinics. The Byerly Bus Tour was there as well. So I got to meet Scott and the team for the first time over those couple of days. I was smart enough to jump on the Monarch and take a set. I loved the board, and Scott was pumped on my riding, so he just told me to take the board. I kept in touch with Scott and all the guys, and Scott invited me to come to the catalog shoot at the Delta last July. It was unreal how it happened. I couldn’t be happier.
What’s the best part of riding for Byerly? We’re a smaller team than most, which makes us all really close. We all love the brand and would do anything for it. Plus, we get to hang out at Scott’s all the time. They really take care of us, cooking us dinner and stuff like that. We’re like a family — that’s definitely the best part.
Who influences your riding? All my friends from home. Scott and the rest of the Byerly team really push me too. I’ve always looked up to Danny Harf as well, because he’s so good and he’s always coming up with new stuff.
What’s your best move? And the one you’re working on? I guess my best move would be a switch heel 9. I’ve been working on mobe 5s a lot lately. I’m getting real close on moby dick 5s.
What’s your favorite place to ride? At home on the Tennessee River.
What are you doing when you’re not riding? Just hanging out with family and friends. I work out a little bit — anything fun.
Photo: Bryan Soderlind