Words: Erik Ruck Photos: Bill Doster
Over my past decade in wakeboarding, I’ve seen a lot of really, really good riders. Some simply came and went while others lifted the sport to places none of us thought possible just a few short years ago. After spending quite a bit of time with Adam Errington on the water, on the road and just plain hanging out, I know he belongs in that latter group. Adam is part of what I like to refer to as the third generation of true pro riders. Since the first was the Byerly era and the second was the Pointless era, Adam and his contemporaries have quite a large responsibility on their hands. Namely, keeping the progression of wakeboarding alive. One of the coolest things about watching this new generation of riders is seeing their passion and their ideas for where they can take the sport. So I was amped to sit down with Adam and talk about what our great sport really means to him. P.S., we got into some shenanigans too. Enjoy.
So Adam, you were born in Scotland, right? This is true.
When did you move to the States? I was about 4 years old. It’s actually a funny story. There is a drawing, similar to a lottery, throughout Europe, and it’s for a green card to America. My parents just happened to win it. So I’m thinking my chances of winning the lottery are really good or really, really bad at this point.
Why did your parents choose Orlando? It’s a funny thing because they were actually looking at California. You know, the American dream of moving out to L.A. and living the life! But they went on vacation with some friends from Scotland to the Florida Keys I think it was. I was on this trip, but I barely remember. Anyway, my parents fell in love with Florida and made the call!
How has your Scottish heritage influenced your life?
Is haggis a typical dish served at the Errington family table? My dad is definitely a haggis eater.
Just to make this clear, what is haggis exactly? It’s a mixture…Of blood and guts?Yeah, pretty much, just cooked up a certain way. I’m pretty sure I have eaten it at some point in my life.
Do you ever wish you held on to your Scottish accent? Absolutely! For a few reasons, Ruck. Reason number one would be for the females. They love the accent.
So you’re saying you would get luckier if you were rocking the full Scottish accent? 100 percent.
Last Scottish question: Is Braveheart one of your favorite movies? Incredible movie.
All-time! All-time and it jazzes me up when I watch it. Being from Scotland and having that history and that culture, it’s heartwarming. I love where I’m from, but I also love America. I’ve basically lived here my whole life.
What made you first want to wakeboard? The first time I ever saw wakeboarding was with my dad and a good friend of his, Scott Fader. He would come out in the boat with us, and this was when I was going through my tubing and kneeboarding stage. We never really skied much, but we just loved being out on the water. One day Scott brought over a wakeboard. I think I was about 13. Scott and my dad spent the whole day just trying to get up on this wakeboard. Throughout the day, I was saying, “Please let me try wakeboarding, please,” and they kept saying, “You should stick to your tube and kneeboard. If we can’t get up, you’re never going to be able to.” Finally, my mom stepped in and said to give me a chance. So they did, and boom, I popped up on my first try, and they couldn’t believe it. I actually think they were kind of pissed off because they tried all day, telling me I was never going to be able to do it, then little old me popped up first try! After that, I was hooked, and the rest is history.
You got good really quickly. What was behind the rapid progression? I have no doubt in my mind it was OWC. I was 13 years old, and it hit me right in the face! It was the most interested I have ever been in anything in my entire life. I went to OWC every single day for a whole year — rain or shine! After school until sundown and in the summer I was the first person there and the last person to leave!
I remember showing up to the cable with Shane Bonifay and asking, “Who is that little shrimp?” That’s exactly it! I was a little shrimp cable rat. At school, I would just sit there and watch the clock count down until I could go to the cable. I learned all the basics and how to hit rails, but I had no idea about boat riding until a year later when I met Mike Ferraro. At that time, it was Mike’s Place at OWC, and Mike kind of took me under his wing. The first time I rode the boat with Mike, I learned basic rolls, tantrums and some spins. I think Mike was kind of blown away. That was when I started getting coached and taking the sport more seriously. The more I learned about the industry, the more I wanted to make a career out of it.
How did you meet and start riding with Jimmy LaRiche? The first time I ever saw Jimmy ride was at one of OWC’s Slider Spectaculars, which was a series of rail events OWC put on. I was 15 or 16, a full-on cable rat and totally thought I was a badass. This was my home park where I rode every day.
So you wanted to represent! Yeah, it was my home ground! So it was the day before the event and I fell off this kicker. I’m swimming back and I see someone cranking into the kicker and it was Jimmy. He busts this ridiculous toe back 5, and people weren’t even really doing those then. I was like, “What?” I had no idea who this kid was.
You were like, “Who is this kid? Who is this shrimp?” Fully. I was like, “Who is this little shrimp, just shrimping on my shrimp grounds right now?” But I think it went down more like, “Are you riding tomorrow?” And he said, “Yeah, I ride down at Ski Rixen. My name is Jimmy. You’re Adam, right?” That conversation turned into, “Hey, we have a day until the event. Do you want to shred?” That was it. We started riding together and became great friends.
How would you say you and Jimmy influenced each other on the water? I think we basically started wakeboarding together and since we met each other, we’ve just been on the same level.
The same mental level? Same mind-set? Well, I wouldn’t say that. You know Jimmy! But as far as passion for the sport and skill level, I think we feed off each other in good ways. He has tricks he’s good at that I’m not and vice versa.
I have a side question. Why don’t you guys do front flips? What’s up with that? It’s the weirdest thing. Tantrum tricks are so weird to me.
But I didn’t say tantrum. I said front flips! But still tantrum.
No! OK, front flips. Let’s talk front flips,
Because if you’re saying a tantrum is the same as a front flip, then you’re throwing frantrums! I am throwing frantrums, that’s the thing. I’ve never been able to front flip. I don’t know why, and I don’t know why Jim can’t do a front flip. Probably for the same reason I can’t do one.
Because it’s an old-school trick. Anyway, I heard you’re moving next door to Jimmy. I’m moving into The Hood. I have a lot of friends in The Hood. It’s a funny story: A house comes up for sale, and it just happens to be next door to Jimmy and previously owned by Daniel Watkins. Daniel owned two houses next door to each other, he sold one to Jim and now I’m getting the other one. I’m super pumped to be moving in. It’s just a good crew and good vibes out here.
Do you see a mega-house compound happening? You know, if you and Jimmy just knocked down some walls and made one big Adam and Jimmy lair? I think what you’re referring to is converting the houses into one big, enormous, amazing, lovely, mega-house?
And you’d have Jeff Langley be your maintenance man? Yes, Langley’s role would be appearing, disappearing and doing things nonstop. We’d never know what he was doing, but he’d always be doing something. Unless he is sleeping, then you just can’t get a hold of him.
It’s no secret that you and Jimmy both wear energy drink diamond pendants. What’s up with that? Well, Ruck, I’ll tell you a little about that and by that I mean this.
Hey, isn’t that a Pete Bonifay line? It could be, Ruck, it could be.
OK, moving on, you have one of the smoothest, most relaxed styles out there. How did that develop? That’s a good question. You’re just born with your own style. Who is to determine style?
Yeah, but you have some guys with super-intense style and some who just look like they’re on their own time frame. I’m not saying one is better, but I’ve always been into the relaxed style and making things look effortless. I hear ya. There are guys who muscle tricks around and there are guys who just look natural. There are a lot of guys who make it work, and for some guys it just works for them. I’ve been blessed because things come naturally to me. I feel like that just flows into a more natural style.
What and who influenced you on a wakeboard? Well, it turns out, Shaun Murray and Gerry Nunn lived a bike ride away from me growing up. Two totally different styles of riders, but two very influential riders nonetheless. As soon as I started riding with Shaun and Gerry, I was let loose. I wasn’t just training for the Pro Tour, I was free-riding. That’s what wakeboarding is all about — riding with your friends and riding with people who push each other and influence each other. Riding with Ferraro was incredible, but riding with these guys was a whole new experience. After that, I had a whole new outlook on style and how to look at tricks and wakeboarding as a whole.
What is your favorite part about riding for Ronix? The family aspect. Ruck, you can agree with me that it’s a true family. The thing about Ronix is that every person is involved for the right reasons. Everyone in the company is trying to better wakeboarding, better the products and better everyone as a person.
To better the industry as a whole. Exactly! We’re a small company with a huge impact. If you haven’t seen Defy, see it. That basically sums it up. Our entire team is dedicated to what we believe in. We have everyone from Dieter Humpsch and Reed Hansen, the most incredible wakeskaters, to you and Danny Harf, Parks Bonifay and Chad Sharpe, innovators of the sport. To be a part of that is just the best feeling ever.
What’s your favorite Radar Lake story? So I’m on a golf cart a couple days deep into our Radar adventure, and people are getting crazy on the carts. Parks and Danny flipped one down the back big hill. I was driving out of tent city, which is where we all camp, and it was super-dark, impossible to see. I’m not going to lie, maybe I was a little buzzed up, as will happen in the late hours at Radar. I don’t really know what happened. I veered off the path, ramped off this stump and went fully airborne in the golf cart. I’m all alone because everyone is at the campfire. I fully get laid out and knocked unconscious. Luckily, Chad heard the crash and called my phone. He found my phone in the woods and then found me. He brought me to and back to tent city, where I could recover for the night. That is why we aren’t allowed to ride the golf carts at Radar anymore.
What was it like standing up at Parks’ roast? The Parks roast was the most nervous I have ever been in my whole life. I can deal with nerves very well. I don’t get nervous at contests, but put me up in front of all those people on a stage, and I am out of my element. I’m not a comedian. There were celebrities there and real comedians, and I’m supposed to make fun of the most iconic wakeboarder of all time. I sang a song, which you helped me out with.
Yeah, I remember I taught you how to stay in time. Yes, you did, but all I could think about is, “What if these people don’t laugh?” I was last to go before Parks went and I kept thinking someone will mess up or won’t be funny, but everyone just kept getting better and better. I held my own, though, and it was really fun.
Tell us about Team Tigé and the new TransWorld WAKEBOARDING Z3. I’m so pumped on what’s going on with Tigé. We have a new boat out that’s sick, and Danny Gutierrez has been killing it for the company in every aspect. Aesthetically alone, the boat looks amazing, and the wake is so clean and doesn’t wash out.
What do you want people to think of when they hear the name Adam Errington? We are all here for a reason. We all do this sport because we love it — whether we compete or we free-ride or ride rails or shoot photos. Whatever it is you do in the sport, I feel like everyone wants to leave his mark. I’m definitely in this sport for one reason and that is to make an impact. Whether it’s to influence a whole new breed of riders or to land a new trick that’s going to change the game.
What do you think will keep wakeboarding thriving? Bringing it up close and personal to the masses at arenas with indoor System 2.0 setups. With the new rage of kickers and double flips, the possibilities are endless. Last year, I did that double crow, and that was a huge step for me.
I was with you throughout that whole period of time, and seeing that trick and how stoked you were when you landed it was awesome. Its crazy how double flips are now stylish tricks. Well, kickers and cables are changing all of that, unless you’re Danny Harf or Jeff Langley booting out off of double-ups. The double flip progression will keep growing off kickers. There will be grabbed double mobes and double corks. People say you can’t do double corks on a wakeboard, but I think they have already been done.
What is wakeboarding really about for you? It comes down to one word and one word only, and it’s freedom! Freedom from, almost, reality. I have been involved with wakeboarding from a young age. I grew up with it, and it’s always been there for me. If I’m having a bad day, just 15 minuets on the cable can turn that day around! It’s that itch that you need to scratch. It’s just a release, being out on a boat with your best friends on a beautiful lake doing what you love. There’s no way you couldn’t find freedom in that.
Have you ever had an out-of-body experience that really changed your perspective on a certain subject, like possibly at a concert? At a concert?
Yeah, you know, where you see yourself in a different light and it enlightened your life. No.
OK then, moving on. I really don’t know how to answer that.
What’s the best thing going on in wakeboarding right now? Definitely the whole double flip and cable revolution. New tricks are going down, and I think it has just begun.
What’s the worst? Just how intense everyone has gotten about their image and social media. Think about why you got into wakeboarding — because it was fun. I mean, we aren’t track runners! No doubt social media is a good thing, but it also can be too intense. Think about the first time you rode a wakeboard. You probably wouldn’t be reading this article if you didn’t remember your first time.
If you could take any celebrity out riding, who would it be? It would have to be Adriana Lima.
Who is that? A Victoria Secret model.
Really? Then I’m going to have to go with Selena Gomez.
You blew it! What’s your most memorable wakeboarding moment? It would have to be that double crow. It took a lot of dedication to learn and land that, and after all the beatings, to ride away from that was an emotional moment for me. It meant the most to me out of everything in my career.
Last question: What are your goals in wakeboarding and in life? My goals are to step my game up, step it up all around. Win a Pro Tour stop again and get back up on that podium. The first time I won a contest, I was standing next to Danny and Andrew Adkison, getting ice poured on me. That’s what I want; I want that so bad! Also, like I said before, change the game, revolutionize the game. Make kids want to ride a wakeboard because of my inspiration and because it’s fun!
Well said, my friend, well said.