Dear Wakeboarding :Why shit matters

Shoot, shoot and shoot again. Again and again and again and again.

To whose it may concern; Into the room with the term ‘progression’ walk terms like ‘Zeaching,’ ‘Tindy,’ and ‘Pre-spinning.’ Terms that polarize opinions and often categorize riders. Like ‘em or not, these are barometers, or (dare I say it) rules. But people often get stuck here. “Rules!? F**k that, wakeboarding is not about rules. Wakeboarding is about… fun.” But don’t you think there’s something lacking in this consideration. Onlookers with vested interests get hung up on the idea of calling out this stuff. I don’t get why. Parents mostly, I guess. On the ‘bank’ (pun-intended) screaming “Hater!” every time something that doesn’t stand up is called out. So we’ve devised a good analogy to set this straight….

Let’s put it like this—consider shooting a basketball. Now when somebody says “Don’t miss,” just as it is said “Don’t Zeach,” what they mean is this: “If you miss your shot (read: Zeach) it doesn’t count.” Nobody is yelling at you “If you miss you are no longer in the cool club and you should probably think about not shooting, putting the basketball down, and never coming back here again.” No. Shoot, shoot and shoot again. Again and again and again and again—spend all night on the court if you have to until the ball goes in. So it is with wakeboarding. Consider that a trick done right is worth two points, and if it isn’t done right, rebound and take another shot. You get it? Patronizing mediocrity will only see your daughter running crying as Randy Jackson screams “Woman, what chu doin’? You cain’t sing!”

But who makes these ‘rules’…? Haters on the side of the lake/park/river? Haters who write for magazines? Nope. In fact while I’m on it, let’s lose that term – ‘Haters’ maybe we’ll write something next issue about that how so-called haters are often the ones who love the sport the most, but for now let’s focus on the topic at hand. These are rules that have been decided upon and accepted by other boardsports both older and wiser than ours. Skaters devised their ideas of what was and what wasn’t legit, Snowboarders then took to the mountains and added their thoughts to the discussion. All the while, both of those sports had their moments of in-house bickering about ‘having fun’ and the like. But think about it: there is a reason you are inspired by these sports… Think about it some more… you ARE inspired by these sports. “I watch skate and snow:” Raph Derome is. “I wanted to be a pro snowboarder:” so is Massi Piferetti.

Which leads me to my next thought. These sports have a massive amount of cash injected in them through the lifestyle industry that surrounds them. An industry we stand on the peripheral (edge) of. Why do we stand on the peripheral and not in the group? Well, as hard as this is to hear, and as ill-informed as it is, we stand on the edge because to them the jury is still out on wakeboarding. In some eyes, we don’t belong on their shelf. Big companies dabble which is a good sign. Nike Skateboarding for instance are in to wakeskating yes, but ‘Water Monsters’ are not likely to be as big as the ‘Berrics’ anytime soon. Imagine if four or five companies like that started putting full budgets into wakeboarding or wakeskating? Riders would be better off; magazines and websites likewise. There would be an influx of funds that would make a huge difference to the future of aspiring riders and industry main stayers alike. Yes, Harley does well financially, but he doesn’t do as well as say Shaun White or Ryan Sheckler, does he?

But we don’t get onto their shelf by disregarding shit that snowboarding and skateboarding have already figured out. Refusing these concepts moves us away from these guys, and—in our opinion—from where the sport needs to head.  That is why Zeaching, illegitimate or missed grabs, pre-spinning etc. are regressive forces on our linear movement, not progressive, and therefore we don’t promote them. And that is why it matters.

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