Remember the ol’ Sfumato days when wakeskating was predominately done behind a boat? With the development of wakeskating and the increasing overall technicality of tricks being thrown everyday, it’s obvious why riders are choosing to take a different approach to riding. And, of course, we having to drain your pockets to pay for filling up your boat is another obvious reason. But, is riding behind a boat becoming a thing of the past for new, up-and-coming wakeskaters?
I do not necessarily think so, however, the influences of wakeskating are definitely taking more of a turn towards winch, cable, and PWC; and have ben doing so for quite some time. Who can deny it, though? You can learn so much behind the ski, and at a faster pace; you can hit spots that are considered unthinkable with a winch; and cables are popping up all over the place. Getting out there behind the boat, unfortunately, seems as though it may become a lost art.
All the seasoned veterans of the sport no doubt have an insane bag of tricks wake-to-wake. We will never forget when Aaron Reed tossed that first wake-to-wake 3-Shuv, or when Stu Shin stuck that backside 360 Bigger Spin; so it’s crazy to see that riders are slowly pumping the breaks in terms of pushing the progression of boat riding?
For those that are questioning the title of this piece or are wondering how Darwinism ties into wakeskating, well, here goes: Darwinism is the theory of evolution through natural selection where one method of thriving pushes out another and becomes the dominant force in the world. I feel this is exactly what is happening with wakeskating today.
I think riders are putting a pause on pushing the envelope behind the boat with the increasing popularity of The Wakeskate Tour; which has taken a whole new approach to wakeskating – an approach that has pushed the sport into the right direction. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe the progression that comes from each stop is absolutely ridiculous and is definitely stepping over the boundaries of what anyone thought could be possible on a wakeskate. I feel as though everyone heavily involved with wakeskating is simply trying to adapt to an ever-changing riding environment where boat riding is just not within their best interests at the moment.
Majority of riders are more so focused on pushing their creativity down the array of rails, ledges, and drops that each stop of The Wakeskate Tour has to offer. Every stop is unique in itself, and it’s amazing to see how every athlete puts their own twist down each setup. Stop#2 of The Wakeskate Tour, The Texas Two-Step, truly showed where the progression of wakeskating has moved. That drop was mammoth, the rails were intimidating, and the tricks landed were ridiculous. Every rider killed it and it was awesome seeing how technical those guys got on such a beefy setup.
Aside from the contest scene, riding boat is nowhere out of the norm. There is nothing like breaking the fog off the water and getting in that 6 AM ride before work. I do not feel as though wakeskating behind the boat will ever disappear for good, but based on the current state of the sport it has no doubt slightly subsided. Back just a few years ago there used to be multiple new edits up online weekly from riders crushing it behind the boat, but now it seems like everything has shifted its gears to all winch, cable, or PWC. For good reasons, too – it’s the direction that everyone pushing wakeskating wants to take the progression of the sport.
All in all, wakeskating has evolved at a rapid pace over the past decade. From wood decks to compression molded skates, bi-levels, and concave wood skates; wakeskating seems as though it has found its niche. With the help of its core followers and the masterminds behind the scenes that make everything possible, wakeskating will certainly prevail through thick and thin. But, let’s not forget where the roots of all this ultimately are. So, with that being said, I’ll end this with one of my favorite clips from way back that inspired me to get out and wakeskate years ago and a shot clip of me riding behind our Nautique 210 Byerly Edition. Enjoy!