If 2018 wasn’t a breakout year for Tyler Higham, we’re not exactly sure what constitutes a breakout year anymore. After signing on with the Ronix team, Ty took to a blowtorch to the modern world of professional wakeboarding. Not only was he able to blow the minds of competitors and judges alike in competitions, but his freeriding went next level, as evidenced with his bronze medal performance in X-Games Real Wake. In Ty’s mind, if something can be done on a wakeboard, he can find a way to make it his own. That has helped set Ty apart in his rise through the pro ranks. We decided to sit down with the reigning Supra Boats Pro Wakeboard Tour Rookie of the Year and find out what exactly makes him the rider he is, plus what he’s got planned for his very bright future.

You've come a long way from the Oregon grom who spent a lot of time riding the Delta with Josh Twelker and Trever Maur. What's it like to be living in Orlando full time now and doing the pro wake rider thing from there?
Like everything, it's got its pros and cons, but it's good, I like it a lot! It's really warm year round so that makes it way easier to ride in the winter. But Cali will forever be my favorite place to wakeboard.

Tyler Higham wakeboarding at dawn
Dawn patrol, Tyler style.Garrett Cortese

What's your living situation like in Orlando, and who do you ride with most out there?
So we got a pretty packed house with myself, Guenther (Oka), Max Van Helvoort, Luca Kidd and Sam Brown. I ride with all of them quite a bit, but I also ride with Jake (Pelot), Massi (Piffaretti) and Cory (Teunissen) a lot. It's pretty fun to mix up who you ride with, it helps me with getting creative and thinking of new stuff.

It's apparent that your time with riders like Josh and Trever really influenced how you ride now. In what ways specifically do you think they had an impact on you? What gets you the most stoked about wakeboarding?
Yeah Josh and Trev have literally been there every step of the way, so they have influenced me the most, especially Josh. When that man wakeboards it's unreal - so much style, flow and finesse - it still blows my mind every time. I would say there are a couple things they preached to me quite a bit that helped me a lot. Josh probably influenced me the most by how he was able to make every trick he did look good, even the hard tricks. That is definitely something that has stuck with me. Both Josh and Trev always talked about how being different was huge - making tricks your own - and they both do that really well and it's something I strive for in my riding.

What gets me super stoked is watching riders like Massi, his bag of tricks is just so unique, his grabs are all different and it’s just really sick to watch.

Tyler Higham edging toward the wake
Edging in toward what is undoubtedly a trick he makes all his own.Garrett Cortese
Wrapped KGB
Wrapped KGB: signature Ty.Garrett Cortese

Last year was pretty impressive for you: X Games Real Wake bronze medal, PWT Rookie of the Year, a finalist for a bunch of Wake Awards - including Best Trick when you landed the first ever wake-to-wake switch mute double mobe. How did that all feel when the year ended?
I was happy with how I did for sure. Getting the invite to X Games was insane. Definitely the coolest/most stressful time of my life, but so much fun and totally worth all the work put into it! I would have liked to make a couple more finals than I did, but that's how it goes. Overall I was really stoked on how my rookie year went - definite motivation to keep the momentum going.

Tyler's bronze medal Real Wake section.

With all that you've accomplished the last couple years, and how well you've been riding recently (most notably with that insane heel 10 off the wake), do you feel any pressure to keep pushing the envelope and living up to these new expectations?
(laughing) No not really. I've never really thought in terms of people expecting me to do these tricks or do well in that comp, so I think that helps, for sure. I just wakeboard for me and try to push myself to be the best I can be. I remind myself to enjoy it because I am having so much fun on the board right now!

In case you were wondering how to stomp a grabbed heelside 1080 off the wake, here's Ty showing you.

What's it like being part of the Ronix team and getting to take part in all the craziness at Lake Ronix and Radar Lake?
Being on Ronix is the coolest thing in the world. I absolutely love everything about Ronix; everyone is so cool and fun to hangout with. Being at Lake Ronix is crazy, the setup is insane and so much fun to ride. Some crazy stuff goes down there, both on and off the water (laughs).

You're also one of the newest team members for Supra, and you've got the 2018 PWT boat in your backyard. How's that been?
It's been awesome! Having the SA in my backyard is a dream come true, I've wanted a boat sponsor since I was like 12, so it's crazy that it actually happened and I get to ride it everyday!

Supra SA 550
Ty and Jake Pelot enjoying the 2018 PWT edition Supra SA 550.Garrett Cortese

What's up with you making "welcome to the team" social videos that go viral? You've done that for both Ronix and Supra the last few years.
(laughing) I'm not sure, I just wakeboard, they film and edit. The credit is all theirs for making it look good.

Ty's entrance to Team Supra was a good one.

How often do you hit up a cable park?
In the winter I ride cable a lot, more than I ride boat, actually. But as soon as everyone starts riding a lot I kinda forget about the cable and only ride boat.

What are your goals for the rest of the season?
I would like to stay in the top five of Pro Wakeboard Tour and the Wakeboard World Series. It would be awesome to get my first pro win this season, also to be in the running for a few different things at Wake Awards.

Tyler Higham launches
Style. Tyler has it.Garrett Cortese

Your heel 10 is definitely a contender for Trick of the Year at Wake Awards. Got anything else you're working on?
I may have a couple tricks I want to try before Wake Awards… Stay tuned.

As a rider who's had to work hard for some tricks and save them for big video parts (i.e. Real Wake), but who also has to keep up with the daily demands of social media these days, how hard is it to keep the balance? Do you think riders put good stuff out too fast today, or put up too much "just ok" content?
It's really hard to balance (laughs). I think that saving a couple banger tricks for a web edit is so sick, but it's hard to not just throw it on Instagram because, to be honest, it will probably get more views and traffic that way, which helps you and your sponsors more. I have been trying to put up quality content, but it's hard to do that a couple times a week or even everyday. I mean it would be sick if everyone put up insanely good content every post, but with how much we are expected to post it's not possible to do unless you had a full time photographer and videographer working for you.

Keeping good content rolling through social media isn't easy. Fortunately for Ty and the Ronix crew, they've got Erik Ruck to help them stack clips.

What's on your playlist these days?
Lot's of rap to get me hyped to ride, I used to be into the old school rap, but I have been getting into the new stuff lately and I'm liking it.

Tyler Higham tail grab
We're not sure what rap song Ty listened to to get hyped, but it seems to have worked.Bradlee Rutledge

When you're not riding in Orlando, what can we find you doing?
Hanging out with the boys at the house, we have really been getting into 2K Basketball on the PS4. Spike Ball has been getting really intense lately too (laughs). Other than that you'll probably find me sleeping. I really enjoy my sleep (laughs).

Tyler Higham nose grab
Stay tuned for more from Ty this summer, we have a feeling he's going to be dropping more must-see wakeboarding.Garrett Cortese

Who would you like to thank?
I have to thank my family, I wouldn't be doing what I am without them. Josh Twelker and Trever Maur for the influence and mentoring, and the whole Twelker family for taking me in on the Delta all those summers. And thanks to my sponsors: Ronix, Supra, and Active Water Sports.