The Obscura boys, Danny Hampson and Andrew Fortenberry came out to Australia this summer. I ran into them at Penrith Cablepark and was so stoked to see that Dan had made it out to Oz again. It was my first time meeting Andrew Fortenberry, but I knew Zip, Blair Smith and the rest of the Obscura Australian wakeskate team that were showing them around Oz. Dan is probably one of my favorite wakeskaters and has been for the last 10 years. The first time I met Dan was at one of Shane’s ‘Boobs, Tubes, and Beers on Clear’ lake parties. These parties include most of the wake community in Orlando going out on tubes to party all day and maybe take a barfoot run or two. Dan was ready to party a little more then the rest of us at this particular tube party. He rocked up with a bottle of whiskey and danced with all the girls, singing at the top of his lungs all day. And ever since then, I have been a fan. The boys had planned to winch around Sydney for a couple of days, so I asked if they would mind me coming and shooting some photos of their trip. They were down, so the next day we met up and went to the Platypus gap down the road from the cable. It was an overcast day, so I was stoked on the spot because it’s a 4 foot drop with a long concrete ledge that comes out making it easy to set a flash up. Danny went first and killed it, stomping a clean 360 and a bs big. Andrew went next and I’d never seen him ride before. First hit, he bailed into shallow rocky water with no board. He was all good and went at it again and stomped a sick kickflip that was huge. It really got me by surprise and I was stoked to still get a shot of it. Andrew finished off with a few more tricks and then we packed up. Next day we rolled out to Pandora, a really famous wakeskate spot in Oz that is like nothing else. A man made wakeskate dream spot that has a sick ledge with a point that is money for locking into blunt slides with nubs on. I was pumped to be in the presence of such an ideal spot, but not as pumped as the US boys were to shred it. And shred it they did. Danny stuck a nose slide 270 out and a front board shuv out. Andrew took his turn and killed it. I think the highlight of the day for me was seeing Andrew stomp a blunt slide shuv out. I was truly mindblown. Below are some of the shots I like from the session and a sequence from that day. You can read all about the rest of their trip in the latest Union magazine. There is also a couple of nice edits from their Oz trip on Obscura’s website.
Quinn and the crew at Valdosta have been ripping. It’s on the todo list now.
A fun little edit from the homies in WA.
Last fall, our team trip to Colorado ended in a cloudy haze. Naturally, all our footage disappeared. But now that the smoke has cleared, we were able to track down and compile the lost footage. So sit back, relax, and enjoy these trimmed and procured Colorado nuggets.
A story by Mark McNamara that was published in issue three of Union.
Hater or Realist?
By Mark McNamara.
So, if your reading this, chances are you have heard the term “Pre-Spinning” before. It is quite often a much questioned and talked about topic in the land of wakeboarding the world over, and thanks to forums such as facebook and the like there of, the breeding ground for such debates on the subject is further exacerbated with the multitude of web edits or sequence shots uploaded to cyber space on a weekly basis.
If you haven’t heard of the term before, it is, in simple, the act of attempting a spin based trick off a kicker, but starting, “said trick”, before actually leaving the kicker.
Does it really matter you may ask?……. In my opinion, it does, and here’s why.
As we delve deeper and deeper into the future, not just the future of wakeboarding, but the future of life in general. I find that we are becoming a society of, “close enough is good enough”. A society where everyone wants something for nothing and we are prepared to so easily sacrifice the meaningful, for the quickest result possible, and I find so many of us seek the noise of praise from the masses, than the silence of seeking perfection in ourselves. Now when I say, “perfection” I don’t mean as in doing no wrong, I mean learning from our mistakes and truthfully asking the best of ourselves.
With that said, let me just dissect this elephant a bit and run through how we got to where we are.
With gratuitous compliments and pedestals thrust up to new tricks claimed, onlookers, local and world wide are keen to get a glimpse of what all the fuss is about when they see the heading and the claiming, “900!!!” “1080!!!” attached to a clip that is being re-posted numerous times on the book of faces, or the latest web edit that consists of stomping hammer after hammer. Quickly following this, there is a barrage of comments from stoked and supportive friends, family, fans and sponsors alike. sounds fair right? to be super pumped for someone that’s achieved a goal that many aspire to….. but wait….. there’s that portion of onlookers that want to make sure it is what it is meant to be before they give their congratulations… and if, at a closer look, it isn’t what its claimed to be, then wouldn’t it be fair to call this claim??.. on a large scale, apparently not.. and so with this call out, a supposed “hater” is born.
So firstly lets take a look at the basic fundamentals of doing any form of aerial based trick of any sport that uses a land object to project the person into the air……. First and foremost – The object is there to allow you to get in the air …… actually, its the only reason its there. Everyone uses them, from Skaters to snowboarders from BMX to motocross. they all need some form of jump, ramp or kicker to execute a desired aerial trick. But none of these sports start any of their tricks until after they leave the kicker.. So why do some wakeboarders??……. the answer is, because they can, and because they can, it makes us a little lazy at times… the reason for this is that the surface that a kicker is made out of gets very slippery when its wet and will allow you to spin very freely once you are on them… So, just because you can, does that make it right to do so??….
I recently saw a wakeboarding meme, that was a screen shot from a web edit. The photo was of a guy 3/4 of the way up a kicker and had already spun 90 degrees, the text at the top read, “Landed a 1080”, followed by the text “No you didn’t”… Now this one meme created quite a stir amongst the crowd and seemed to ruffle some feathers, and the much used “hater” statement came out.. Many liked the meme and many didn’t.. And from reading and hearing responses to it, I think a lot of the people that didn’t like it, actually missed the meaning behind what the meme was saying.. I read comments like, “people that cant do 1080’s are just hating on this guy” and “people would be stoked to be able to do half the things this guy can do” “even if he did pre spin, its still a sick trick and he’s still a rad rider”……Now I think people see the word “1080” and instantly fixate on that, but the fact is you can clearly see the trick has already begun before its meant to. It wouldn’t matter if it said “Landed a 360”, the purpose of the statement remains the same. In actual fact the trick this screenshot/meme was created from was actually a 900, not a 1080, thus reiterating the fact it doesn’t matter what spin is being done, its the fact its not being done correctly, which on a whole is how a lot of people spin. Basically as I see it, no one is trying to call any one rider out but just trying to progress things in the right directions and at no point is anyone saying this person is not a talented wakeboarder.
Lets look at it from a slightly different angle.. Say someone is trying to learn a back mobe 540. They do a clean back mobe, land and then do a surface 180.. Can that person claim they did a back mobe 5?.. or if someone did a 720 off a kicker and after landing, instantly spin a surface 180 on the water.. can this person claim a 900?… and if they do claim it would it be ok for someone to point out the obvious?… so why is it ok to do it at the start of a trick?
It seems to be getting even worse with the next generation. Its become so widely acceptable to pre-spin that we are starting to see groms spin almost full 360’s on the kickers and if you say something to help prevent the pre-spin and improve their riding, rather than being seen as helping, your being demonised as a hater or having a bad attitude…. So rather than working on doing a proper 360, they want to learn a 720 or 900 and its no wonder they don’t want to learn it properly because its what they are seeing everyone else do, not to mention how much easier it makes things. I think when people are learning the proper fundamentals of wakeboarding they should be taught not only the correct body/handle position and how to edge but they should be taught just as importantly the correct way to hit a kicker.
So where to from here?.. We all have grand aspirations of seeing wakeboarding growing to be one of the major sports of the world in the future. Where people want to see it back in the X Games and even maybe in the Olympics and we want to be taken more seriously. But do we actually take ourselves seriously or on the flip side do we take ourselves too seriously?… We are trying to walk down the similar path to the sports that actually built the path for us. Sports like skateboarding, snowboarding & surfing have all been around a lot longer than wakeboarding and are the grass roots of what we do, yet unlike wakeboarding on a large scale they pride themselves on the legitimacy of what they do and how they do it. Is it any wonder why people question wakeboarding’s legitimacy when they watch a competition and see un-grabbed pre-spun 900 beating a super styled grabbed (in the correct place) legitimate 540 or 720?.
So again I ask, hater or realist?
In my eyes its constructive criticism. A constructive criticism that will help the progression of our sport.
In Australia this summer we launched a new Magazine called Union. The idea is to bring a premium print publication to Australian wakeboarding and the world. Use a paper quietly that hadn’t been used before in Australia and create something we could all be proud of as wakeboarders. For me the coolest thing about this new project is seeing all the riders voice there views and vision on the sport. I’ve had the opportunity to shoot the first 3 covers. I was supper nerves about the first cover because it was the start of what we were doing and first impression last. Brenton was first pick for the cover because he is the perfect rider to do something creative and will work for a shot like few rider’s will. We came together with a plan and worked our asses off. Props to BP for all his hard work and putting his body on the line. We were under the pump for time. The day we got the shot I sent it over to Toby and that’s same day he sent the whole first issue to the printers. For the next two cover’s we gave our selves a little more breathing room on the deadline. Check out the making of the cover video’s and a Union video we did to launch the website unionwakeboarder.com.
Follow is a rope and handle brand I ride for. The company is just about to go into it’s third season in Australian come September. Steve Anderson, the founder of the company, launched the company with Brenton Priestley, Mitch Langfield and myself as the team. We all ride contest but our main vision is free riding. Stoked to see Follow from the start up company that it was, to where it has come now, with our like minded vision of the sport being the marketing direction of the company. Most company’s would go for the next kid who would wins the most podium finishes every weekend, but Follow is different. As Steve always says, ‘It’s all about the family’. I’m proud and stoked that Follow has started in a different direction and is pushing the creative side of the sport. We had our first team trip and over the course of 2 years, the Follow family of very talented people couldn’t look better. Almost the whole team was there accept the boys from Shredtown and Matt Rogers. Shredtown couldn’t make it all the way from the states this time. But Ollie Derome and Trevor Bashir made it over for the trip. Both there first time to Australia so it was rad to take them to Bonnie Doon for a week for shredding to shoot the 2013 Follow catalogue. Ollie was like a kid in a candy store running around after animals, instagraming and trying as many different beers as he could. Just great value and every time he put his board on everyone would sit back and be blown away. His ability to shred rails and the wake just as good as each other is pretty mind blowing. Trevor fits in with the crew like a glove. Can we clam Trevor as a Ozzie from now on? He’s the most laid back dude you will ever meet that just does everything legit as fuck. Other then myself, BP and Mitch and the US boys we had Mark McNamara, Pat Riordan, Sophie Hogmen, and Ryan Leary, our wakeskate ninja. Joining us was the grommets of the team Christion Robinson and Aaron Petty. To shoot all the action, we had the best in the business, Brett Hemmings to capture it all. We lucked out with some rad weather and had some sets on the lake where there wasn’t a ripple on the water. It was pretty surreal having the whole open lake to ourselves with the whole crew out there just amping. I think one of everyone favorite moments would of been seeing Mark’Turtle’ McNamara ride behind the boat for the first time in 11 years. Considering how long it had been and how much bigger the wake would have been compared to back when he was charging boat, he looked supper comfortable and still had a macking toe side edge into the wake like no other. BP really took charge of the rails after the first day and a half was a shit show trying to working with super hard wood and not enough tools or the wrong tools for every job. But thats just how it goes on trips like these. We ended up with 3 or 4 different style rails and everyone got rad photo’s and footage. One of the most memorable or not so memorable nights was when we partied with Brad,the owner of the 5 star accommodation on the lake we all stayed in. He busted out a $300 bottle of red wine that went down like nectar from the gods. It’s a bit of a blur for me but I ended up with a dead bird hat on and woke up with sore cheeks from laughing so much that night. You should be able to see the catalog and video up online in the near future. These are some of the pics I shot on the trip. Thanks Steve (AND MY GIRLFRIEND FOR PUTTING UP WITH ME) and everyone that made it happen. All the hard work paid off and we produced some amazing results and something to be proud of. Keep an eye out for Follow 2013 catalog. It’s dope.
Xavier Rudd came to Orlando to play a show at the Beacham. I was asked by Et Cetera Magazine, a local Orlando cultural mag, to shoot the show. I hadn’t had much experience shooting shows at the time, so I was pretty nervous about getting the shots, but the editor reassured me that it’s all good if I didn’t get anything. So that took the pressure off a little. I’d been a fan of Rudd for some time and knew that he grew up around the Mornington Peninsula in Melbourne where I grew up and I’ve always thought Rudd’s songs have connected with me because of that. I expected a mellow show with a small crowd because Orlando doesn’t seem like the place that lots of people would know about Rudd. To my surprise, the Beacham was packed and Rudd jammed a sick show. The connecting club, The Social, had another rad show going on that night with another band I wasn’t familiar with at the time called The Ben Williams band. I ducked in there for a bit while Rudd was on a brake mid show. They had a supper original organic sound with an old man on the base that was made from an upside down fire pit with a bit of string and wood. It was like Christmas. New music, Xavier Rudd, and getting to capture it all at the same time. After getting really into the Ben Williams band for a few songs I could hear that Rudd was coming back on. So I wend back to Rudd’s show and made my way to the front and tried to get a clear shot and just hoped to have some light hit him at the right time. After the show, we got to meet up with Rudd out the back and he was one of the most down to earth Ozzies I have met. We talked about his travels through the US and all he could talk about was how much he misses the waves back home. You could really tell he lives for the Ocean and Australia will for ever be his home.