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Shredtown: Pro Spotlight

December 21, 2016
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Shredtown Bryan Soderlind

When the Texas trio of Andrew ­Adams, Davis Griffin and Chris ­Abadie entered the scene, it wasn’t a gradual process. The first few videos launched on the blog they dubbed Shredtown were of three dudes hitting gaps and winching spots in Texas that were bigger and gnarlier than anyone had ever seen. Their name spread like wildfire, and the general consensus was that these guys were doing things completely differently than any wakeboard crew had before.

While winching wasn’t anything new, they used it as their ­medium to creatively find spots to put themselves on the map. Then ­entered Pat Panakos, a System 2.0, and a piece of property outside Dallas. With the addition of a compound acting as a blank canvas for them to showcase what they called wakeboarding, the Shredtown crew continued to pump out edit after edit of riding like no one had ever seen.

Even when we may have thought their creative juices peaked after their full-length ­release of Drop the Gun, which combined winching and creative park riding, they delivered once again.

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Creating and hosting the Jamboree, an invite-only event held at their illustrious property, has been their passion for the past couple of years. Sharing what they’ve built and saying thanks to those who inspired them was the next logical step, and the Jamboree is now one of the most talked-about events of the year. We don’t really know what they’ll do next, but that’s probably the best part.

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Shredtown Bryan Soderlind

What is Shredtown?

Andrew Adams: I guess it’s just three friends with a shared vision for the sport of wakeboarding, who like to film and put out content.

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Where did you want to take your wakeboarding?

A.A.: Growing up watching skate and snow videos made me take a step back and ­really compare them with our sport. Wake­boarding just lacked the entire street ­aspect of the sport, which really made me want to get out there and see what was actually possible.

Davis Griffin: At first we just winched in the backyard between some docks, but when we found that big drop we called Winch­topia, that’s when things started to get a little more serious. It felt like we were learning a completely new sport. Winching is so different from boat and cable.

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At that stage, what was the vision for what you guys were all about?

A.A.: At that point, I don’t think I had an overall vision. However, one day I wrote down every­thing that had never been done before in wakeboarding, and made it a goal to start checking them off the list. So I guess my ­vision was to only focus on things that I hadn’t seen anyone else do.

Chris Abadie: Winching. Our winch game was strong, and we were focused on growing the name Shredtown. It was a fun time in our careers. The sky was the limit.

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D.G.: Yeah, I think when the Slingshot guys came and we got our first article and Andrew got the cover, it just started to all come ­together. We’d been making videos and getting some attention, but after that, it was ­pretty clear that we were going to keep winching and taking our wakeboarding in that direction. Street-style wakeboarding wasn’t really a thing yet except for a couple of guys here and there. It has a totally different feel and vibe than the boat scene. It’s more dirty and raw, so that’s what we were trying to put out there, and people were stoked.

What are the must-haves when loading up to go on a winch trip?

D.G.: Hammer and stake, water bottles, rub brick and Gulf wax, your backpack, camera gear, screws and drill, and the list goes on.

A.A.: These days we never leave for a winch trip without two-by-tens, a tarp, and the ­water pump so we have the ability to make our own start pools. It’s really opened up so many doors for us, because we don’t need water at the top and bottom anymore. If there is water in the landing zone, we are good to go.

wakeboarding
Shredtown Bryan Soderlind

When you are strapping in at a winch spot, do you guys have any second thoughts?

A.A.: This is the worst and best part of winching, and it gets harder the ­older and smarter you get. There is nothing better than overcoming the odds and hitting a gnarly spot for the first time.

D.G.: Most of the time it’s like “S—, am I really about to do this right now?” You just have to believe that you will likely be fine and convince yourself it’s all worth it in the end. Most spots aren’t too scary, but there have been a few that had me worried on the drive there.

The word on the street is that winching is a team sport. If so, who’s the captain of the team?

D.G.: It’s definitely a group effort. I think the captain is whoever is hitting the next spot, because it’s up to him to get the crew motivated and ready. Whoever is riding gets the captain’s chair.

A.A.: Yup. We are finally killing it at that team sport. [Laughs.] It really is only possible if you have a crew that is willing to put the time and effort in to get out there and make things happen.

C.A.: Agreed. We all pretty much know what our roles are when we roll up on a spot, but it’s the rider who has say in the setup and has to orchestrate the group to make it work.

What advice do you have for kids coming up who want to get into winching, but don’t have a crew like you guys?

A.A.: It really is all about the crew, and somehow we got lucky and things just kind of fell into place at the right time. But I would say just start getting out there in the local scene and see who has the same vision as you. If there is a local cable park nearby, talk to a few guys about pitching in money for a winch. You have to get out there and make things happen yourself.

C.A.: Find a crew. It really is a lot of fun. Just be safe, kids. Check your landings for debris, and wear a helmet if you’re not confident in what you’re doing.

Behind the boat, there are definitely do’s and don’ts that determine what is legit. Does this go on in the winch world?

D.G.: I’m sure Andrew will have the most to say about this question. If Andrew thinks something’s not cool, he’s usually right. I don’t have very strong opinions on that subject.

A.A.: I see a few things here and there that I am a bit skeptical about, but since the ­beginning, we have always had one rule when winching: Start and end in water. Other­wise, it’s a dock start or just not ­wakeboarding.

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Shredtown Bryan Soderlind

At what point did owning a piece of property with a private park enter the vision?

C.A.: It just kind of happened. It wasn’t some long, multiyear dream or plan. It just all fell into place at the right time.

A.A.: Everything really did just fall into place at the right time. I will never forget the phone call with Pat Panakos when he came to the conclusion that we needed our own private system. I still remember where I was. [Laughs.]

Now that’s it’s well established and built, how does it fit into what you guys want to create, versus winching in an urban environment?

D.G.: When Sesitec sponsored us and said they wanted to give us a cable, it was like a completely new chapter. It kind of felt like when we first started winching and discovering what could be done. We were just all so stoked and coming up with new ideas all the time. Anything we wanted to build and thought was cool was totally possible if we were willing to put in the work. Andrew’s parents have been the biggest supporters throughout this whole thing, and I can’t thank them enough for allowing us to do what we do out here.

Winching or System 2.0? Is there one you prefer over the other?

A.A.: They are both so different. When you are winching, you can find spots that are so unique and could never be recreated under the system. However, the possibilities on the system are endless, with stalls and turnaround features.

C.A.: I enjoy winching more. It’s unique and natural. A ledge or sculpture that’s already built perfectly with different scenery at every location is what draws me in. I also love the road trips and the places winching takes us. We’ve been to some pretty weird roads and places I would never find myself without a winch mission.

Is it tough having a three-man crew all the time? You guys ever feel like you’re lost in a crowd or don’t have an individual identity?

A.A.: Chris Garrison always jokes about how we are just one person. [Laughs.] I’ve never really liked doing things alone, and having that company or brand to create and market has been the most fulfilling.

D.G.: Self-promoting is a big part of the ­industry now. I honestly don’t think I would want to do this if I were doing it alone. Having a crew and brand behind you just feels more comfortable to me.

C.A.: Yeah, I think the way we have worked together from the beginning and worked ­toward making Shredtown bigger is what ­matters.

Is there anything you do to break away from that?

C.A.: I think over time people have learned a little bit about who we are individually — which is cool, but I think having a brand that we’re all working together to grow is cooler.

D.G.: We don’t spend nearly as much time ­together anymore, but it’s never been an ­issue as far as receiving individual attention or getting jealous or anything. I’m just as stoked to see Chris or Andrew get credit for what they do. I mean, I’m definitely not mad that Chris has more Instagram followers than I do.

A.A.: Looking back, that was one of the main things I was stoked about when filming for Drop the Gun: It was going to be the first time we each had individual video parts, so people were going to have the opportunity to learn our personalities, riding styles, and visions for the sport.

wakeboarding
Shredtown Bryan Soderlind

It seems you guys put a lot of thought into what you do. Is that the case? Who’s the quality-­control guy?

D.G.: Yeah, I’m definitely not quality control, but it’s good to have someone like that around. ­Between all of us, we end up with a pretty good work crew.

C.A.: Andrew for sure. I think he’s OCD. [Laughs.]

A.A.: I definitely have the most opinions of the group, but I think we all kind of keep each other in check. We all let the other person know when his s— isn’t up to par. [Laughs.]

Do you guys ever disagree on stuff?

C.A.: Of course. All the time.

A.A.: Every day. If you don’t disagree, then there is no such thing as agreeing, right?

D.G.: I don’t know, Andrew. Agree to ­disagree.

Give us the percentages for what takes up your time these days.

A.A.: It really depends on what we are ­doing that day, but if we are filming on the system, I would say it’s definitely around 70 percent building, 30 percent riding. There are ­definitely weeks where we are legit construction workers.

C.A.: Yeah, it’s different all the time. Every trip or photo shoot has a different purpose and place we need to be. After the Jamboree and X Games, I have taken a little time to ­myself traveling and spending some time with ­family. It’s been nice.

What made you want to put on your own event?

A.A.: Leading up to the first Jamboree, it ­really just made sense that the next logical step of our career was to put on our own event and give back to the sport that had done so much for us.

C.A.: We have this awesome setup out here, and it feels good to share it with the best riders in the world. To make the rules and build how we envision the perfect event is the idea.

What’s the future for you guys? What’s next on your radar?

C.A.: I’m really not sure what the future holds. I just want to keep pushing as long as we’re inspiring others to push the limits of wakeboarding.

D.G.: We’ve been talking about doing ­another winch trip soon, but with no expectations or time limits. Just winch for the sake of winching and enjoying the random awesomeness that road trips create. We used to do that all the time but have been caught up with other things recently.

A.A.: Yeah, the past two years, things have been really business-oriented with the Jamboree, so I really want to take time to get back to the roots and wakeboard for me again. It’s hard to not get caught up with all the other things that being a pro wakeboarder ­entails, and some people would laugh at that ­comment. However, our careers are quite different from the average.

Anything else before you go? Each of you, throw us out a life lesson or something.

A.A.: For sure! Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us three to talk about this thing we created called Shredtown. We appreciate it. Cheers!

C.A.: Yeah. Get off your ass if you’re on it. Make sure you’re experiencing life to the fullest. Everyone has a different idea of that, but there’s so much going on out there worth ­exploring and learning. Don’t worry about little things.

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