Apr 19, 2010
Author: Jason Stone
Every once in awhile someone will ask what I am riding and why. I give them my brief “This is a Wakeskate” speech, then send them out on the water to try it for themselves. In the most literal sense, wakeskating is skateboard-based tricks on the water. For me personally, it’s more than that.
It’s a different state of mind. I’ve spent untold hours reading magazines and watching videos all for the fix of nailing a new move. When you do it’s contagious. Every person who’s ever borrowed my skate has come off the water smiling. I’ve converted quite a few people to the joys of wakeskating this way and have yet to meet someone who’s had a bad “first” session on a wakeskate. It seems the allure of wakeskating is that with little or no experience someone can go out and have meaningful progression while still having fun. The wipeouts aren’t nearly as heavy as wakestyle kiteboarding and occasionally you’ll get the odd bruised shin but for the most part wakeskating is less demanding on your body. I think this, along with a quick learning curve, makes wakeskating enjoyable for even a novice kiter.
I first started wakeskating when the conditions were too windy to unhook and do wakestyle tricks on my kiteboard. Here on Maui there are a lot of nuking days, I don’t like doing big hooked-in jumps and contrary to popular belief, there are very few good days for progressive unhooked kiteboarding. My options were either to wakeskate or go home. So on those nuclear days I would go wakeskating.
The first few months were pretty funny. The thing about learning something new is you don’t have to looking good doing it, or at least that’s what I told myself.
I was kooking out for awhile. Even though it was slow going there was progression every session. The smallest victory, like doing a big Ollie while keeping the board on your feet, is enough to get you addicted. Every new move feels like a major step forward. Every day I’d get to the beach and think about what I was going to try next, every night I would watch countless videos and take mental notes of what I wanted to try.
Then it happened, my wakeskate riding slowly crept into the conditions when I would usually be riding my kiteboard. After three months of driving around with my kiteboard lying lonely and dry in the back seat, I realized no matter what the conditions were like, I was going to skate. That was a big mental step for me, when I took my kiteboard out of the car. Though mentally I had already made the decision to focus on wakeskating, the physical act of leaving my kiteboard at home felt strange, but I got over it.
I have the benefit of being able to ride with some of the most talented kiters in the world. Dre and Steen have been in town and we wakeskate almost every day. With a crew of riders pushing each other the progression is amazing. Our ability level went from beginner to expert in a matter of a few months. Currently we’re in the process of taking hooked-in moves to unhooked. This changes the entire dynamic of wakeskating behind a kite. Moves that were once easy are now complicated because it all about style.
I wakeskate because it moves me. It gets me stoked when I think about it, motivates me to ride, inspires me while I’m on the water, and has me dreaming about what I want throw down the next time I ride.