I’m embarrassed to say it took this long, but finally after 14 years of wakeboarding in Florida I rode the St. John’s River for the 1st time! The team has grown rapidly in recent months so we decided to get everyone together for some “teamage,” and what better place to escape to than St. Johns. The river is only about an hour away from home here in Orlando and the butter factor is huge regardless of wind-speeds. It curves, turns, and banks it’s way from Central Florida all the way up through Jacksonville and is one of the only north flowing rivers in the US (so they tell us). Team riders included Jeff House, Oliver Derome, Dylan Miller and myself along with wake brand manager Wade Wagley and the newly acquired marketing mastermind Mr. Gary Huck. We stayed in a town called Astor, FL where (unfortunately) no one cares about the NBA playoffs, but in reality this was the beauty of our escape: No distractions; Just us and the water…and the alligators…and the snakes while I’m at it. We saw two snakes crossing the river and at least 20 -30 alligators during our day and a half mission, but this was all the more motivation to spot your landings and ride away from EVERYTHING. After all, no one want’s to be bobbing around in a gator tank! Other wildlife spottings included wild striped bass, mating manatee’s and several brown trout floaters…
After spending a couple months in the snow I decided it was time for a change of climate. It would be a few months before it started warming up anywhere north of the tropics so at the end of January I headed out to Maui for the spring. Maui is one of my favorite places to ride, especially in the winter since I hate wetsuits. The NE trade winds here are pretty consistent and strong through the winter, and on those off days there is usually some swell to surf. This year the conditions have been good with only a couple weeks of no wind. There have been a couple big swells but for the most part it’s been pretty average.
I’ve been spending most of my time hitting kickers at Kitebeach with the Newton wakeboard. The increased rocker compared to a kiteboard is just what I need to handle such hard, slacked landings. I don’t really need to worry about it slowing me down or dragging me down wind since it is usually blowing 20+ mph. The kickers are great since they aren’t part of a surf break, allowing me to drop my kite without worrying about it getting eaten by a wave. Recently I’ve been mostly working on adding grabs to my flat spins. It has been a lot of fun and feels unbelievable when you nail it right. My favorite thing to do right now is add the grab after the handle pass. You really have to have the spin down to be balanced enough to focus on a grab so late in the trick. If you want to see what I’m talking about click here to check out a video of a Backside 3 with a late grab. If it is not that windy or there are no kickers I ride the Darkside since the flatter rocker lets me plane easier. The wind is rarely north enough to fill in at the pro pool but when it is it is a great flat water spot. Maui Sunset in Kihei is also pretty flat but only works on a south wind.
When the swell starts pumping I bust out the Tyrant and hit the surf. I usually ride the right at Lanes, but if the wind is really strong and east there is a sick left near my house at Waiehu. Make sure you lock your car if you ever go to Lanes though because I had my gear ripped off while I was out riding. Luckily I was able to recover it all when the thief sold it to a guy at Kitebeach. Other than that I’ve hit up the lower reef at Kanaha, Pier One and Sugar Cove a couple times.
I’ve got a couple more weeks here to hone in some new tricks before I head back to the East Coast to kick off the summer season and hit up the 2011 Triple S Invitational at Real Watersports in Cape Hatteras, NC. Hope to see ya there! Peace.
Post Author: Jeff McKee
I got home from Texas a couple of days ago after a sick week of riding and hanging out with the boys from Shredtown. Along for the ride were team riders Nate Perry and Brian Reeder and man, what a ride it was! From REAL handrails cemented into sidewalks to 3 foot diameter correx tubes, Janky pools and muddy shoes, we did it all. Reeder almost had his head crushed at the Handrail set-up, and then was almost decapitated by a stop sign (a prop turned jib) at the correx set-up. Nate has black and blue ribs from a janky undersized bottom pool and all I got was a lousy t-shirt. Lucky me right? haha.
The week-long journey was for a film experiment we like to call project “maximus exodus”. Behind the lens was the big baby I love to hate and more importantly hate to LOVE, Mr. Patrick Wieland. We bitch and moan at each other for most of the day but at the end, we high five as we review the footage and realize that we killed it. My knee was a bit upset with me on the trip which turned out to be a blessing in disguise due to the danger factor of the set-ups, so instead I ran a second camera while the dingy jib masters got the job done. Chris Abadie from Shredtown blew everyone away as he stepped his game up throughout the week. He was the test dummy for all the set-ups and made each of them look as easy as cake. I think he was the only rider to avoid a seriously dangerous situation hitting all the spots with confidence and ease.
We don’t want to blow the spots on the web so you’ll have to stay tuned to the blog as we continue the operation, but I did manage to snag a few fun ones for your viewing pleasure:
To me the photo above has Texas written all over it. Camoflauge, guns, beer, and the fact that we are on a cattle ranch in the middle of nowhere. It turns out there are lots of ranches in Texas and somehow Shredtown has the keys to most of them. I don’t know ho they do it, but lucky for us they do. This is where the huge correx gap was set up in a puddle just behind the photographer. Nate got the craziest photo of a nosepress I have ever seen at this spot (shot by our buddy Justin Leblanc). The board is shaped like a “U” as in “Underpants.”
Speaking of Nate, He also learned how to spell his name backwards in the dark with a flashlight after 4 beers. At Slingshot we value this type of skill to the tenth degree. We actually all spent about 2 hours total trying to do fun things with light painting photos. We made a perfect image of me peeing light onto Davis’ face but I guess Patrick Decided that photo was sooo good it could be in the photo annual or something, because he refused to give it to me for this blog.
Andrew and Davis both wore mustaches for the whole trip, but I’m guessing Andrew will end up shaving his after he see’s this pic. It makes his lips look swollen and paralyzed at the same time which could be good for some things, but definitely not for pictures. Oh yeah, Shredtown has purple shirts as well, and they are for sale at Shredtown.com. They gave me one for free and it’s about time since I made them famous. They also sponsored me with shredtown handles, so I guess they’re doing a pretty good job of paying me back.
Above is Brian Reeder wearing butt check neoprene pants for women. They go nicely with the hair and do a great job of creating a modern Tarzan mixed with a touch of Fabio type look. I better watch what I say though, because Brian has a 6 pack. He was getting psyched up to hit the handrail in this photo, but later he crashed into a tree after falling out of the pool. In between these two moments he killed it though. Kudos Brian, Kudos.
That’s all I Have to say for now…Stay tuned to find out when you can catch a glimpse of all the action from this adventure!
post author: Jeff McKee
I’m finally getting back on track after nearly two weeks on the opposite side of the world. At first I started digging a hole in my backyard but quickly discovered it would be far quicker to fly to the opposite side of planet earth. Plus in one trip I earned nearly 30,000 skymiles with delta which was worth the trip in itself. The first stop was Philippines where we focused on filming exclusively for an upcoming Slingshot wake video project. The footage turned out incredible. The governor LRay lent us his helicopter while at CWC so we got some rad angles and shots of some of the sickest rails I’ve ever hit. After 10 full days in Camsur, It was time to head to singapore…
Singapore – When I arrived in the singapore airport it was midnight and I was a hot mess. I barely made my flight, forgot my carry on luggage in the overhead compartments, and started wiggin’ out when I arrived in baggage claim to find my board bag on someones luggage cart abandoned in the corner looking as if someone had planted a bunch of drugs in it or something. The immigration cards said “drug trafficking punishable by death,” so somehow I was convinced that my bag was a set up for the ultimate doom. Thankfully I made it out into the open air alive and unharmed!
My first impressions of Singapore was “Wow!” The streets are so clean and the architecture is extremely impressive! A world apart from my previous destination in Philippines. Everyone drives super fancy cars, there’s gucci shopping malls all over the place, and the people are warm and welcoming. It was great to be in Singapore! My first meal was full asian style including tons of rice, curry, and even fried chicken’s feet. They were actually pretty damn tasty besides the fact that you had to spit out all the knuckles before you could swallow.
As for the wake scene in Singapore, It was fore more established than I anticipated. Michael Teck Tan is our Slingshot Importer in Sing and also the owner of “The Board Shop” pro shop which just so happens to be located in one of those insane high end shopping malls. Mike and his crew Joseph Soh, Brent Chambers, and Stuart Perkins all did a great job of showing me the town, the nightlife (including a bar where all the women weren’t exactly who they claimed to be haha), and all that the wakeboard scene has to offer. We did some great demo’s out in the salt in front of Seletar Island where there were about 7 or 8 wakeboard boats loaded with people all trying to ride at the same time…haha. It was awesome! Thanks to Kenny and Ann from Substance as well as Paul From Edge for each giving me a tow, and also to David Ngiam for snapping some rad shots! Also on the trip we checked out Batam cable park in Indonesia and the Ski 360 cable in Singapore. In all it was a trip to remember and for that I owe huge thanks to Slingshot, Michael Tan, Stuart Perkins, Brent Chambers, The Board Shop, Substance, and everyone else who was a part of it!
Karolina Winkowska – Best Female rider 2010!!!
Karolina Winkowska wins the hearts and minds of riders throughout the globe and has recently won IKITESURF readers awards “Best Female Rider for 2010!!!” With her progressive technical moves, style, and power she continues to be dominate force. Slingshot is proud to support her efforts and wish all the best for another successful season!!!
The complete article regarding here accomplishment and other great info can be found on killer web magazine IKSURFMAG.COM or at http://www.iksurfmag.com/issue25/?page=133
Make sure to check it out!