How To Rule Winch Spots

April 19, 2010

In this wakeboarding how to, Justin Fisher and Nick Valliere of The Winch Mob pass along their top 13 tips on how to rule winch spots.

Winching has become a lot more popular these days, and it all goes back to the Cassette crew pioneering this wonderful device. From there, La Sewer (led by Kyle Walton and company) pushed winching even further by creating the first winch-specific wakeskate videos. Soon after that, the Winch Mob was coming together with Justin Fisher and Kyle Murphy leading the way, taking wakeboarding to an urban setting with natural gaps and business park jibs. Currently there is a DVD called We’re Just Skiing, and you have probably seen the Shredtown buzz all over the Web. Now you’ve caught the bug. Here’s some advice on winching from our years of learning the hard way.

1. Check and prep. Eye out your line. Find a good place to start. Sliding in, as opposed to a deep-water start, is always better. Make sure the path of the rope won’t be near people or bushes, etc. Also walk the landing. This is serious, very serious. You never know when you could take a header into a boulder, fence post, shopping cart, etc. We’ve seen it all.


2. Leave the beers and devil’s lettuce at home. Simple as that. If you don’t know what we mean, then you’re already one step ahead of the game.

3. No defacing or destroying property. No graffiti, tagging, stickers, etc. Believe it or not, these are violations of the law even if you are bad-ass.

4. Keep the group tight. Bring only people you need. You don’t need any more attention than you are about to create. Make sure each member has a job: winch driver, rider, photos, video, rope hand.


5. Get in and get out. Immediately get to work. Do what you came to do and bounce.

6. If it ain’t your spot, don’t make it hot. If you’re hitting a spot that you know someone else has discovered and prepped for ideal winching, don’t be a fool and ruin it for everyone. This happened in the Bay Area of Cali and now the water district and the police are keen on winching and eager to ticket.

7. Pack it in, pack it out. Clean up after yourself. Water bottles, broken boards, fingers, etc. Anything left behind is evidence.


8. Protect yo’self. Helmet, wetsuit, booties — whatever it takes to allow you to stay in one piece. Slingshot makes a nice liner in its boots which comes out and acts like a shoe. Or you can rock a pair of neoprene socks: O’Neill makes some durable yet thin socks for under $20.

9. Google Maps, Google Earth and Maps Live are your friends. Use all three in conjunction with each other to get the best idea of what the spot is like and how big or small it might be.

10. When people come to watch, talk to them. Don’t make it seem like you’re doing something wrong. They might even tell you about another spot right around the corner. Not to mention it will help out your hood-star credibility.


11. Have a reliable winch and gear. Ever had a chain pop off when you’re ridin’ up on a heavy drop? We haven’t; that’s because we rock a Pulldozer. Boards with 100-percent flat bottoms help when sliding concrete and other surfaces and in shallow water. Have tools, and stakes and ties, to repair and secure the winch.

12. Driver is key. A bad driver will get you broke off. We like to look at a trick by percentages: 60 percent rider and 40 percent driver. If you’re on the same telepathic level, magic’s gonna happen.

13. When getting busted, remain cool, be respectful. Don’t be a jackass to anyone. We know you just finished listening to “Cop Killer” by Ice T but this is 2010 and being a tough guy with the police won’t work. Be ready to explain winching; Ben Horan likes to have a prerecorded message to play for the police that saves him time and a headache.

Remember to keep it safe, know your limits and most importantly, have fun.

By: Justin Fisher and Nick Valliere Photo: Rodrigo Donoso


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