In terms of wake-park riders, Steffen Vollert is an anomaly. You’ll never exactly pin down one thing about him that inspires you, because his immense talents in photography, filmmaking and wakeboarding are all world-class. He’s one of the most dynamic people in wakeboarding, and he thrives on creatively showcasing quality riding in any form he can get his hands on. There is nobody like Steffen because, to be frank, it’s tough to say which medium he’ll be focusing on at any given time. He’s constantly staying one step ahead of himself, and diversity continues to be the driving force behind his presence in the global wake-park scene. The most important part of it all, though, is that Steffen is focused on one thing: making sure he and his friends are having fun no matter what. Because if you lose that, what’s the point?
Let’s start with where you’re from.
I am from Ramsthal, Germany, but I currently live in Kempten, which is in south Bavaria.
When did you first ride a wakeboard?
I think I was 12 when I switched from water skiing to wakeboarding.
What draws you to park riding?
Spending hot summer days at the cable with my closest friends is the most important thing to me — riding an endless amount of laps, finding the sickest lines, and even cooling down with a few kneeboard rips!
Who influenced your riding early on? Who did you look up to?
Back in the days before I could do any tricks, I was looking up to my friends who’d just learned their first back rolls and raleys. They were always a little bit ahead of me because my brother and I were the last ones who still ripped on trick skis. After watching the X Games live in our camper van right at the cable back in 2000 or so, I became a huge fan of the whole wakeboard scene and all these superstars. Since then, I’ve wanted to become a part of it.
What does park riding offer that you can’t get behind the boat?
The fact that you are not the only one riding. Behind the boat, I always feel like I am not riding for myself; I am riding for the people who are watching me from the boat. Maybe I am just not used to it, I guess. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like riding behind the boat, but on the cable you can either ride for yourself or have the best time in a session with your friends.
What have been some of your favorite parks around the world?
My longtime favorite park is CWC. In general, Asia offers many great parks.
What are your views on creating the perfect park? What does it take?
Take the shape of CWC’s main cable. A good mix of self-built rails and Unit features; mix those up every two weeks. Offer good food. Have a beach, which will get girls to the park. And have a super relaxed owner who still takes the business seriously so that perfect park will run forever.
What about videos and photos? What will happen in the future to keep that side interesting and unique?
Try to take as much inspiration [as possible] outside of wakeboarding, and try to make your recent edit or photo your personal best.
What drives you to create imagery and videos like you do?
Showcasing wakeboarding in the best and most legit way possible to get more people into the sport.
What are the similarities and differences you see between wake parks, skate parks and snow terrain parks, in terms of their place in the sport?
The crews and the vibe are what’s similar; the differences are obvious.
What’s the one trick you want to try on your new Unit feature?
It’s hard to pick one because it offers so many different fun lines. I think the first thing I want to do is a tranny-to-tranny frontside 360, and what I really want to try or see from other riders are the big transfers.
What has been your favorite country to travel to?
The USA, specifically California.
What does the future of park riding look like in your eyes?
I want it to be like how I have experienced it in my youth. The wake park has always been my second home. I have made some really good friends there and had probably some of the best times of my life. For the wake-park riding itself, I don’t want it to be taken too seriously. Always keep it simple and keep it fun.