A few weeks ago, Pro Snowboarder and DBOT5 lifestyle golfer Stevie Bell spent some uber-exciting time out in the luscious lands of California getting a taste of Spy’s 8th Annual Summer Bootcamp!
Very much in Stevie style, he was seen exerting what appears to be a lifetime amount of endless energy surfing, wakeboarding and riding moto. It’s kinda exhausting just watching Stevie. We’re pretty sure he may be part robot…but we’ll have to get back to you on that one. (Research in progress.) Take a peek at some pictures of Stevie, making his way through the bootcamp madness.
Spy’s Summer Bootcamp is a sort-of fantasy retail contest which gives nine of their lucky retailers the chance to experience what the real California dream is all about! The five days of events take place right in Spy’s backyard, alongside Spy’s pro athletes. DBOT5 is super proud that our man Stevie had the chance to give us a look in side his adventures with Spy. The Bootcamp 8 crew also got to check out the Summer X Games for a day as well as hit up the “Fantasy Factory” for a Monster party with skateboarder Rob Dyrdek.
Note* I tried really hard to avoiding using some spider web-related cliche in this intro, as JD’s last name triggered imagery of him casting out a huge web over every surface of water he and his board come in contact with…holding the wake captive, if you would. As you can see, I failed.
That being said, JD Webb’s reign over the world of wakeboarding has given this guy a reputation of exuding merciless attacks on rails, as well as boasting an unmatched and stylish approach to tricks. I was happy to catch up with JD as the waters begin to warm up for the upcoming season, to get the scoop about what he’s been up to, what’s next, and a few things in between.
Q: What triggered your interest in wakeboarding and how did you get your start?
A: I started wakeboarding when I was 9 years old. I was on a show ski team and when I saw Zane Shwenk wakeboarding in the ski show, I thought it was the coolest thing ever! After that he started teaching me and it all kinda rolled on from there.
Q: Who do you typically hit the water with when you’re practicing?
A: I normally ride with Andrew Adkison, Kyle Alberts, Derek Grasman, Jeff House, Jimmy Trask and Zane Shwenk.
Q: Tell me about when you jumped the fountain at Lake Eola in downtown Orlando. What was going through your head?
A: I don’t think I was really thinking too much. I don’t think I realized how hurt I could get. When I jumped in the water I couldn’t stop shaking. It wasn’t cold, I was just so nervous. I was looking on the shore thinking ‘I can’t back out, there are all these people here to watch’. So I told Murray let’s do it and I cut into the ramp…as soon as I left the top of the ramp I knew I had it and all that pressure was gone.
Q: Summer is around the corner…what’s your plan as far as competitions and events?
A: I’m going to do King of Wake, the World Series and the Pro Tour.
Q: What is your biggest accomplishment so far in your career?
A: I have the record for the biggest gap on a wakeboard, it was 71 ft. I also got the key to the city of Orlando and September 30th is JD Webb Day.
Q: What’s your take on “extreme” athletes taking a liking to golf in their spare time?
A: I really enjoy golf. It really takes your mind off everything. It’s nice to go with some of your friends have a couple beers and play.
Q: Since wakeboarding tends to be such an adrenaline-driven sport…do you have the patience to spend a soothing, calm afternoon on the golf course?
A: It is kind of hard for me. I normally have a lot of energy, so for me to be calm for 18 holes without pissing my friends off is not easy.
Q: DBOT5 loves golf, so we must ask, any advice for Tiger?
A: I don’t think it is any of our business what goes on in his family life. He is the best golfer on the planet and I think he deserves everything that he has worked so hard for. Keep slaying it Tiger (golf that is).
And now, true investigative journalism at its finest…
Q: Big Macs or Whoppers? A: Neither. Double Quarter Pounder
Q: Best album ever made? A: Dr. Dre 2001
Q: Michael Jackson solo or with the Jackson Five? A: Solo
Q: Do you enjoy the nightlife? Any favorite spots?
A: Yeah, I do enjoy going out…sometimes a little too much. My place to go in Orlando is The Other Bar. The guys from Step Up Productions own it, so it’s kinda where the wakeboarders hang out.
Q: If you could change places with any other pro athlete on the planet, who would it be and why?
A: Rob Machado. He gets to surf everyday, no pressure on him to perform in contests, and seems like a good guy.
Q: At the end of the day, what would you hope to be known for?
A: A positive and friendly person that anyone can come up and talk to.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited about chatting up World Champion Wakeboarder Andrew Adkison, a.k.a. AA, a.k.a. All American. (So many names, so little time.)
Andrew’s always been one of those super neat people that tends to give you the warm fuzzies…I’m just sayin’. So it was nice to see, that since the last time I interviewed him (many moons ago), he remains the same, cool-mannered, humble guy we’ve all grown to love both on and off the water. The only difference now is that he’s gained a few more titles, a lovely wife, as well as even more events posted to an ever-growing schedule of competitions. See what Andrew had to say about 2010, his golf skills, and my subtle guilt trip to get him to teach me to ride this summer.
Q. What’s in store for 2010?
A. Tons of comps, clinics, and free riding. I’ll be doing around 20 pro tournaments this summer. Seven of those being international. I’m also planning some film/photo trips. This should be a big summer!
Q. Since DBOT5 (clearly) has the dopest golf gear, I must ask, do you golf? If so, are you any good?
A. I do golf occasionally. I used to play all the time. I was actually on my high school’s golf team for one day…picture day. I had a bet going with a friend to see who could get in the most team and club pictures. (I’ll have to find that picture for you!)
Q. Let’s say you’re golfing with Tiger Woods…uncomfortable silences on the green or chat him up for some golf advice?
A. I’d trade him out for some wakeboarding advice.
Q. What do you think of wakeboarders, snowboarders and other “extreme” style sports athletes taking up golf as a pastime?
A. Golf is one of those sports that everyone plays. It doesn’t surprise me at all that action sports athletes are into it. Most people play golf to some extent.
Q. What’s your all-time favorite location to wakeboard?
A. Lucas Lake in Washington County, Fl. and White Western north of Panama City, Fl. Sorry I gave you 2.
Q. I know you’ve gotten married since last we spoke. How does married life match up with your crazy travel schedule?
A. It’s great! My wife is also my business partner. She manages anything that would distract me from riding. She is able to travel with me some as well.
Q. What are three things you cannot live without? (Other than your wife, of course.)
A. iphone, toothbrush, and of course my wakeboard.
Q. What’s on your ipod that most people wouldn’t expect?
A. Ben Folds. I went to his concert in mid March. Just him and a piano. Top 3 favorite concerts I’ve ever been to.
Q. You’ve got a cool looking web site going…did you develop that on your own?
A. I’m quite fluent working in DreamWeaver. Working on my Extensible Markup Language Remote Procedure Call is pretty standard. That was actually a lie. Mark Shonka originally did my site, now it’s headed up by my brother-in-law.
Q. You’re a very accomplished athlete, yet have remained so grounded. Do you think there will ever be a time your ego takes over and you start referring to yourself in the third person during conversations?
A. Absolutely… anytime I play ping pong competitively. Never around wakeboarding. This is my passion that somehow turned into my career…that’s a blessing.
Q. What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
A. I have some big things in the works, but my first WWA World Champion Title in 2004 really set the pace for several seasons after that.
Q. Dairy Queen or Baskin Robbins?
A. Wow, I didn’t realize your were going to be asking these tough of questions. DQ’s Blizzards are amazing. I mean, a Thin Mint Blizzard. What genius though of that? However, Baskin Robbins’ parfaits are pretty great.
Q. In 100 years from now, when we are long gone, what do you rather be known for…being a good person, or changing the face of wakeboarding?
A. Being a good person.
Q. Lots of wakeboarders spend the winter snowboarding. Are you a member of that club, too?
A. Not this winter, but in 2008 I got 20 plus days.
Q. I’ve heard lots of good stories about when you guys travel to other countries for competitions. Have you ever had to talk yourself out of trouble in a foreign land?
A. Yes…with help. I knocked over an expensive looking vase at a sheek Karaoke Bar in China and pretty much was about to get beat up for it…until Trevor paid them off. I still owe him $30 for that.
Q. If you could form your own “Dream Team” of riders, who would be on your team?
A. Depends on what the team was competing in. For instance, Ping Pong. I’d pick myself, Keith Lidberg, Corey Bradley and French Paul. We’d be an unstoppable force.
Q. Any plans for your birthday next month?
A. Yup, I’m hoping to use those new DBOT5 clubs that mysteriously show up and hit the links with some friends.
Q. Will you teach me to wakeboard properly this summer? I’m tired of saying I don’t know how when people ask me.
A. For sure!
Well, I guess you know where you can find me this summer! Perhaps we will catch up with Andrew on the golf course next time around..surely sporting some DBOT5 gear. Until then, be sure to check out Andrew’s stellar website andrewadkison.com and DBOT5.com for some more good stuff about to drop!
After hopping on board the Pro Tour at the age of 18, the oh-so-lovely Professional Wakeboarder and World Champion Wakeskater Austin Hair has built himself quite an impressive resume. His ever-growing list of championship titles certainly gives him well-earned bragging rights.
This Cali-born rider grew up in South Carolina, and steadily made his way to Orlando, Florida, after high school. He has since stayed busy globetrotting along the waterways of the world, leaving a trail of, for lack of a better word, awesomeness, in his path!
I caught up with this self-proclaimed workaholic after his recent return from the World Series in Abu Dhabi…an apparent favorite playground among many of the riders who made the voyage across the world. Check out what Austin had to say about this, that, and the other.
On The Water
Q. What’s behind your involvement of getting aspiring riders to move to Orlando and helping them find a place on the water? What brought that about? Sounds pretty cool.
A. Well, originally I was put in charge of a house on the water. I was really worried about finding roommates to help with the rent, but I found out that it wasn’t as hard as I thought. As the word got out, more and more kids came to me about a place to live. Now, I’m good friends with people who own a house on Lake Jessamine. So I help them out, and I help out other kids who want to come move to Orlando to follow their dreams. That house goes back up for rent in July, actually.
Q. How did you spend the “winter” months, and what do you have coming up in 2010?
A. I spent part of the winter back home in SC with good friends and family. I spent the other part in the warm climate of Australia, riding and doing a couple of contests. Next, I’ll go to Brazil twice before the tour starts. Once for a demo/film shoot, and another time for a World Series.
Q. Did you experience anything that blew you away when you were in Abu Dhabi?
A. The amount of money over there blew me away. I mean, the average Emirates citizen is worth $4 million USD. I’ve never seen so many porches in my life.
Off The Water
Q. Have you spent time on the golf course? If so, what’s your take on “extreme” pro athletes using golf as a way to kind of unwind and relax in their free time?
A. I think its awesome. Danny Harf is pretty amazing at golf. I love to play as well. I took lessons all throughout elementary and middle school, before I got into wakeboarding. Now, I love to go smack some balls.
Randoms (a.k.a. Me Being Nosey)
Q. What’s on your ipod right now that people wouldn’t expect?
A. A lot of motivational tapes and educational series…haha. I’m a bit of a nerd, too.
Q. Notorious B.I.G. or Tupac?
A. Tupac fo’ sho.
Q. List 3 things that you simply cannot live without.
A. Food, water, air. But seriously, adrenaline rushes, my faith, and great relationships with people.
Q. Star Trek or Star Wars?
A. Star Wars. Never really got into Star Trek.
Q. What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
A. Mostly really healthy food, low sodium turkey slices, soy milk, strawberries, yogurt…I’m a bit of a health nut when I’m not traveling.
Q. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
A. Superman for sure. You can’t beat him. He’s invisible, handsome, tall dark features, and he flies.
And surely the most important question of all…
Q. If you find a spider in your house, do you kill it or let it wander on?
A. I usually try and get it to bite me, hoping that he’s radioactive, and in turn my DNA will combine with its, allowing me to gain spider-like powers.
At least he has his priorities straight. Now that’s a good guy!
Leave it to DBOT5 to get the inside scoop from the pros…even when they are halfway across the world (clearly I should have gone, too!) I recently tracked down Pro Wakeboarder Danny Thollander, just as he arrived in Abu Dhabi for the first stop of the WWA World Series. For those of you who don’t know, Abu Dhabi is the second largest city in the United Arab Emirates, is super beautiful, and really, really far away for the U.S. riders. Check out what he had to say about competing overseas, upcoming wake trends, different cultures, and on the road shenanigans!
Photo: Sim Bradley
Q: So, you just spent 14 hours on a plane heading to Abu Dhabi…fun, fun. How’d you pass the time?
A: The long flight is hard. I tried to sleep most of the flight, but with a nine hour time change it’s crazy. I pretty much slept two nights in a row without seeing sunlight. It’s really hard to get adjusted. We’ve been getting up at 5 a.m. every morning because we just can’t sleep.
Q: List the essentials you always pack for your trips…any good luck charms?
A: Besides my suitcase and board bag, I bring a backpack for stuff on the plane. I bring a book called “Mind Gym” to every event with me. It’s an athlete’s guide to inner excellence. I must have read it five times already and I learn something new every time.
Q: Who are you rolling with on this trip and what’s the best part of globetrotting?
A: I’m traveling with Nick Jones and Austin Hair. They’re both roommates of mine back at home. Also, the top 16 wakeboarders in the world are here so we have a big group when we go out. The best part is learning about the way of life of the people in that particular country. The different cultures are crazy! Everywhere we go is so different from the place before with new languages, currency, food, and water color/temps. It’s sweet to try and speak different languages!
Q: What’s something a lot of the pro wakeboarders seem to be talking about lately? Any new trends for the new season?
A: New trends for the season seem to be flashy gear…like neon colors on our boards and life vests! All the riders are on top of there game this year. Everyone is talking about creating new tricks and winning Wakeboarder of the Year.
Q: How about after the sun sets? What types of shenanigans do you and your friends get into when you’re overseas?
A: Well we try to be good boys considering there are death penalty for laws we have never even heard of…but shenanigans are always fun to play on each other at the hotel! Example: Giving shots of vodka to Philip Soven when we are all taking water, hoping he would ride bad the next day. It never works.
Q: So is the nightlife over there a lot different from the U.S.?
A: The night life is pretty mellow in Abu Dhabi. Their religion it pretty strict on consuming alcohol and staying out late, so it’s pretty much a dry city for drinking. I think only tourists party hard here.
Q: What are your personal goals for the competition?
A: I’m trying to get top ten this weekend because that’s where the money is! This is the first stop of the WWA World Series, so good points give me good seeding for the rest of the season.
Best of luck to Danny and all the other riders! You can check out Danny’s website at DannyThollander.com and follow the WWA on Twitter for contest results all year long. Danny would like to thank Hyperlite Wakeboards, Accurate Lines, Rockstar Energy Drink, Zinka Sun Protection, and Nautique Boats.
Be sure to visit DBOT.com for more inside scoop on the never-ending whirlwind lives of these pro riders!
Lately it seems like there are more pro wakeboarders showing up to shred at snowboarding spots more than ever. Cabin fever doesn’t stand a chance with Jeff House tearing up the slopes in Salt Lake City. House, along with friends, recently hit the sugary terrain for some much needed snowboarding and all around good times.
Photo: Jeff House
Leaving his cares behind in sunny Florida, House and his crew stay at a pretty sweet spot perched atop the slopes, where they get to wake up and ski down to ride. Pretty convenient!
“It’s all about having fun and relaxing when I’m here,” says House. “There’s no pressure out here. We can spend the day riding, trying out new things, then hit the hot tub at the end of the day.”
The water may be his first love, but House admits he still likes challenging himself snowboarding just as much. House will be heading back home to Florida, and with the weather warming up, you’re sure to see him out on the lakes again soon.
Photo: Jeff House