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Old     (petrie141)      Join Date: Jun 2012       08-11-2017, 10:07 AM Reply   
While watching some recaps of wakesurfing competitions I started to wonder if they truly need independent categories for skim and surf. Nowadays the pros are throwing nearly all of the same tricks regardless of the type of board they're riding. In my eyes, I think they should combine the two together and let the riding speak for itself. By that I mean if your surf style fins prevent you from throwing 540 shuvits then the skim riders have an advantage. Conversely, if your tiny skim fin can't give you enough drive to do high airs then the surf style riders have the advantage. It almost seems akin to having independent categories in a wakeboarding competition for directional and bidirectional boards which seems very out of date. If they combined the prize money from both categories it might also bring out the best riding possible since the purse would be double what they're used to. Also, with the time savings they could extend it to the best of two runs vs one run.

Has anyone else thought about that? Here are a couple examples of the riding I'm referring to:

This is a little over a year old but Parker mixes up both styles in one video:

Here's a clip of Keenan doing high difficulty level tricks for a skim style board... but he's doing on the on a surf style:

Here's another video of Parker. I feel like if you could black out the bottom of the screen you couldn't tell what style he was riding:

from Parker Payne on Vimeo.

Old     (boardjnky4)      Join Date: Dec 2011       08-11-2017, 1:03 PM Reply   
agreed, the tricks are different, but that doesn't really matter. It's like comparing a Tantrum to a 360 in wakeboarding. The tricks are nothing alike but they're still in the same category of wakeboarding.
Old     (petrie141)      Join Date: Jun 2012       08-12-2017, 10:31 AM Reply   
Well. I'm watching a livestream of the last stop of the PWT and it looks like there's only one division. It's a single fall format with two runs (one fall and you're done per run)... not sure how I feel about that part, but the single division is awesome. Skim for the win!
Old     (Chaos)      Join Date: Apr 2010       08-12-2017, 11:38 AM Reply   
They are as different as wakeboarding and wakeskating, or as different as snowboarding and skiboarding, or as different as wakeskiing, wakeboarding and waterskiing. These are all equipment and style based. Wakesurfing and wakeskimming are distinct styles, that can have little to do with the equipment. A rider can ride skim style of a board that may be thought of as a surf-style board, especially today when many are producing surf-style looking boards that rotate on plane just like a skim board.

They are different styles, and on polar ends the styles are different enough to be considered different activities all together, especially when considering broadly different equipment and different wakes. However, like any activities, it can be made to appear the same. The PWT is an cautionary tale, some would argue a failed experiment that pros show up for solely to collect prize money. I tend to think it will not be around next year.

Wakeskimming in its purest form is on the down slide. Competitive 'wakesurfing' is not the pulse of the industry.

Old     (markj)      Join Date: Apr 2005       08-13-2017, 12:31 AM Reply   
Originally Posted by Chaos View Post

Wakeskimming in its purest form is on the down slide. Competitive 'wakesurfing' is not the pulse of the industry.

I'm confused. First, are you calling wakesurfing with a skim style board "wakeskimmimg" instead of "wake surfing"? Also, are you saying that style is dead or dying?
Old     (Chaos)      Join Date: Apr 2010       08-13-2017, 10:04 AM Reply   
It is not truly wakesurfing in its purest form. Wakesurfing, trying to capture the essential feel of riding a wave in the ocean behind the boat, has been around for a very long time, using skim boards behind the boat to perform skate park or ocean skimming maneuvers is relatively new. Guys don't grab their skim boards and go to the beach and say they are going surfing or skimsurfing. They are going skimming or skimboarding. The term wakeskimming is not new nor am I coining it here. The fact skim-style and surf-style are grouped in 'wakesurfing' is purely marketing driven effort and the fact that 'wakesurfing' is a broad poorly descriptive term. People go as far as to even refer riding standing waves at indoor facilities as 'indoor wakesurfing', even though it is more akin to riversurfing than anything. I for one have always said that wakesurfing will not truly grow into a respected sport until it has its own identity and stops latching itself to surfing. It is not surfing. Skateboarding is skateboarding, it is not sidewalk surfing, as often termed in its early years. Skurfing essentially no longer exists, as it was an intermediary step from wakesurfing to wakeboarding. Snow surfing although on the rise again, was all but gone as it evolved into snowboarding, and snowboarding is on the decline with skiing and other alternatives on the rise again. Sales of skim style boards at one time represented a larger market share than surf style boards, this is no longer true. The current judging system for competitive wakesurfing is biased towards skim style riding. This was purposeful, it did not evolve that way. It is not an artifact of how all riders like to ride or a natural evolution of the sport. Some will argue it was specifically derived to benefit a small group of riders and board companies. Competitive riders as a whole responded to the judging system, and in turn board manufactures respond to the riders needs, making boards that appear like a surf-style board but perform like a skim board or a hybrid there of. But again, competitive wakesurfing is a really small portion of the wakesuring industry as a whole. Even if we just narrow it down to board sales, the vast, truly vast majority of boards that are sold are not used in the competitive arena, nor are they intended to be. Essentially what you see in competitive wakesurfing are boards from established companies or new companies willing to give away boards to build a team and build a brand name. New brands go for competitive wakesurfing as a marketing avenue, to get their name out because they will never be able to compete with the distribution network and marketing pull of the wakeboard companies, which eclipses even the largest, older wakesurf specific brands.


Last edited by Chaos; 08-13-2017 at 10:06 AM. Reason: sp.
Old     (TNwakeboarder86)      Join Date: Sep 2016       08-14-2017, 6:32 AM Reply   
Nick that was a great read. Now if only the boat manufactures would spend money on building the sport vs all the money going to wakeboarding. I feel like there is a decline in wake boarding, due to injuries lately and how its a smaller group of people who can do it. Where in wake surfing, its from all ages, and types of people. OLD, young, FAT(me) skinny, kids, to seeing people who are disabled doing it as well. Some of the best videos are seeing people get over injuries that most people couldn't recover from, and they are still able to go out and wake surf. Especially in my area with Moomba, supra, heyday, Malibu, axis, and mastercraft all being HQ here in my area you would think one of them would decide to capture the market in surfing by spending a little marketing money on doing events here. You can see the incline in wake surfing here. You also see the dealerships are starting to carry more surf style boards then in the past. Still not the ones I would like to see but doomswell just busted in the market here at one dealership.

Great info NICK!
Old     (Chaos)      Join Date: Apr 2010       08-14-2017, 7:49 AM Reply   
There has been a huge decline in wakeboarding sales and participation. The big wakeboarding festival to small local tournaments are few and far between. Cable parks have had a big impact on this. Most marine shops are more focused on wakesurf gear, but overall they still order the majority of their products from wakeboard companies, because they have relationships with the reps or directly. Some shops prefer to be more boutique style and carry specialized brands, but most if they carry a wakesurf brand, they go for 1 'premium' brand. Not all are premium, some are not better than the offerings from wakeboard companies, and many offerings from wakeboard companies are no longer price point or more economical. Boat manufacturers are investing in wakesurfing. Forward drive and platform boats are even offering wakesurfing geared craft to their typical lineup. However, the days of a boat company spending 100K or more on a event are likely gone. There are better marketing avenues. Why would you give 30 to 60K to a single event, when you can use those fund to do a whole host a lifestyle shorts. Competitive riders don't sale products based on their rankings. Lifestyle sells products, or is the most engaging on-ramp for new customers. Customer service keeps customers and sells products. Happy customers and referrals keeps the phone ringing.

Old     (petrie141)      Join Date: Jun 2012       08-14-2017, 8:49 AM Reply   
Originally Posted by Chaos View Post
They are as different as wakeboarding and wakeskating, or as different as snowboarding and skiboarding, or as different as wakeskiing, wakeboarding and waterskiing. These are all equipment and style based. Wakesurfing and wakeskimming are distinct styles, that can have little to do with the equipment. A rider can ride skim style of a board that may be thought of as a surf-style board, especially today when many are producing surf-style looking boards that rotate on plane just like a skim board.

They are different styles, and on polar ends the styles are different enough to be considered different activities all together, especially when considering broadly different equipment and different wakes. However, like any activities, it can be made to appear the same. The PWT is an cautionary tale, some would argue a failed experiment that pros show up for solely to collect prize money. I tend to think it will not be around next year.

Wakeskimming in its purest form is on the down slide. Competitive 'wakesurfing' is not the pulse of the industry.

Although I see your side, I respectfully disagree. And, I want to highlight that I respectfully disagree because you provide not only rad looking boards and have years of industry experience but have also provided excellent feedback on these forums for what seems like years and have hooked WW members up with excellent information. Also, I don't think this question really has a set answer, it leans more towards a matter of opinion which is why in my eyes no one person (or format of competition) is really right or wrong. In my opinion it's the equipment, which leads to the tricksets, that makes the category not really the style of riding.

Whatever we want to call it being wakeskimming or wakesurfing, I don't think they're quite as different as wakeskating and wakeboarding. I completely agree that the styles between wakeskating and wakeboarding are totally different, but in my opinion that's individually based. By that I mean style is individual to the person. Wakeskaters are now throwing 540s wake to wake and boosting out into the flats with huge grabbed 180s, the level of riding is awesome. But, as everyone knows, 540s wake to wake and boosting out in the flats is sort of limited to a small group of wakeskaters because that's how they chose to ride (which is what style is to me, the way someone chooses to ride). Just because their style is different, and they're performing moves that can be done on a wakeboard, shouldn't make them bump up to compete with the wakeboarders (again, just my opinion). So, if you have multiple styles all done on a wakeskate, to me it seems logical that they should be grouped together into the same category. Whether judges reward going huge vs being technical is completely up to them, but in my eyes they're all doing the same sport. What's left from there is a matter of equipment, i.e. the bindings. Bindings to me make the most sense of being the threshold that distinguishes between wakeskating and wakeboarding. Wakesurfing/skimming on the other hand does not have such a threshold... yet.

(Side note: I do want to say that I acknowledge how ocean surfing is traditionally done without bindings while the big-wave riders occasionally opt to use sandal straps yet both are considered "surfing". That's a different ballgame and one I'm not too familiar with so I'll leave the ocean surfers to discuss that.)

On the surface, the equipment between wakeskimmers and wakesurfers is nearly the same and allows for the same tricks. So, if I had to chose something that would be the tipping point for those styles to be placed into the same category, that would be it. Yes the surf style boards are typically directional with larger fins so I understand there are differences in the equipment but there's no huge "game-changer" between the two that allows one style to do different tricks. I also understand how the larger surfstyle fins make spinning and riding backwards more difficult but I don't see how something like that that would justify them being placed into a different category. I would reiterate that it would be like someone entering a pro wakeboard contest on a skurfboard and wanting to be placed into their own category because they're riding a directional board with a large fin purely because they like to ride skurf style. Again, this is all just my opinion but at the end of the day when you drop the rope (that's also critical to the discussion), and are surfing or skimming the wake, a shuvit's a shuvit and a 360 is a 360. By that I mean whatever piece of equipment you're riding, or whatever style you choose to use, the tricksets and equipment are the same and you should be judged against others that are doing the same thing.

Now... what Noah Flegel and Hyperlite have cooked up with sandal strap bindings that's allowing him to throw inverts is a complete wildcard and I wish the best for whoever tries to group that into a category

Last edited by petrie141; 08-14-2017 at 8:52 AM.
Old     (markj)      Join Date: Apr 2005       08-14-2017, 9:02 AM Reply   
^^^Good discussion.
Old     (Chaos)      Join Date: Apr 2010       08-14-2017, 9:32 AM Reply   
It is opinion, but opinions and views lead to guidelines and rules. Using straps and being towed in is not surfing, it is tow surfing, and one is considered cool by purest and one is considered an abomination, but again opinions. The two do not mix is contest formats.

Skim style and surf style are as different as longboarding and shortboarding. Most everything that is done on a shortboard can be done on a longboard and vice versus. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Maneuvers can be similar but judging guideline are different, because ultimately they are different activities with different goals. They also have specific equipment guidelines, or in reality longboarding has written guidelines. Equipment guidelines are not relevant to the WSL pro tour. Riders boards are based on riders size and wave. The same could be true for wakesurfing, but we allow riders to manipulate the wake to best fit what they are 'use' to riding. If contests were held with different boat manufactures producing their biggest wakes, then wakesurfers would have a quiver to fit the different style of wakes each boat produces.

They are different styles because the wake is different, how the boat is set up is different and how rider rides is different. Sure they can be mixed into something that appears the same, a small subsection a complete minority are doing this, but they are not truly the same. The main difference in style is skim style is dominated by surface maneuvers, using less of the wake. When aerial maneuvers are performed the rider is often not attached to the board, the board it kicked and flipped and rotated underneath the rider. Aerial rotation style maneuvers in surf style, the rider and board are connected as one. In rare cases the hands are used to complete the rotate and secure a board. Yes there are skim riders doing skim or skate maneuvers using boards that have large fins and look like a surfboard, but that does not make it a surf style maneuver. Yes, maneuvers are maneuvers, tricks are for kids and prostitutes.

Another way to look at it is skim style is on the edge of control, the rider is often out of control and completing numerous additional rotations to maintain control. Most 'combos' are not combos but simply the rider attempting to maintain control, constantly jumping into the next maneuver without fully completing the prior maneuver. That is not true for all, some skim riders exemplify control. Surf style is about powerful, controlled maneuvers.

Old     (Chaos)      Join Date: Apr 2010       08-14-2017, 10:53 AM Reply   
This debate has raised its head year after year, for well over a decade. In the past and even today often events have so little participation they are forced to either drop surf or skim styles within divisions of combine the divisions. Although very few surveys have been done, they are overwhelmingly for separate divisions. Those divisions have to be made in 1 of 2 ways or some combination there of.
1. judging guidelines
2. equipment guidelines

On polar ends equipment guidelines are easy, but it is the in between the hybrid of styles where equipment guidelines get complicated. Also, it is difficult to say innovation is a goal if there are limits on equipment.

Judging guidelines can be quite effective, but require qualified, experienced judges, which is generally lacking in competitive wakesurfing. The current DIVE system has safe guards built in, that when applied properly should help reduce biased, but still today there is no agreement of difficulty; intensity is often an after thought; variety is in a way quantifiable, but it shouldn't be strictly quantifiable in so much as many maneuvers are just variations of the same core maneuver; and execution should be fairly easy to understand, but is often difficult for many to place a numerical value to.

This is something that will likely never get settled. Thoughts in the past were to have completely separate contest, especially when the two style were diverging. As much as the two style have merged, the two style are diverged through their history.

Old     (petrie141)      Join Date: Jun 2012       08-14-2017, 11:49 AM Reply   
I understand your side of the discussion. I totally see and agree how they are different styles and require different abilities to perform at a high level, I just challenge the notion that judging those two styles has to be different. If surf style riders have more aerial based maneuvers that keep the board glued to their feet then that should be taken into consideration and compared to the amplitude and control of skim style riders performing the same things. Conversely, if the skim style riders are out of control and spinning just to stay in the pocket and slow down, the judges should be able to score them accordingly. I have a strong suspicion the judges can tell when someone is spinning to actually continue a 'combo' or just playing it cool after they went out of control. I feel like wakesurfing contests aren't as cut and dry as folks make ocean surfing contests out to be. I would imagine in order for wakesurfing to continue and evolve the riders have to be able to kick and spin the board; and if that means we rapidly start moving away from what resembles ocean surfing then so be it. Is kicking and spinning the board what most wakesurfers are going to do on any given weekend? Absolutely not, but I'm just talking about the competition scene here.

I feel like it's almost a case of survival of the fittest or survival of the most fun to watch. Again, I'm not an ocean surfer so I'm out of my realm here, but I believe that nowadays when people think of an ocean surfing competition what comes to mind and is most prevalent is shortboarding. This is most likely because that was the most fun style to watch. I'm sure there are a lot of longboarding competitions, and it has a healthy scene, but it seems to have slowed down in popularity other than the occasional renaissance that pops up from time to time. I believe that might be due to lack of progression. I would also imagine that from the time shortboard competitions started to control the ocean surfing scene nothing changed until the riders started getting airs. Lots of cut backs, bottom turns, and barrels, but it took someone to start airing it out to really progress the sport again. Shortly after that came aerial spins and rodeo flips and I bet the surfing purists weren't really thrilled (just as some of our purists aren't pleased with what we do behind the boat). That was a super long round about way of saying if the riding style or board a pro wakesurfer is riding doesn't allow them to perform the advanced maneuvers that are required to progress the sport then they might go the way of the ocean longboarder. Will there always be a need for it? Yes. Will it stick around and probably just be the same thing over and over again? Also probably yes. Does that make it bad? Absolutely not.

I think a source of some of the heartburn folks have is in the name wakesurfing. Comparing wake/wave size and the length of our boards in the last 15 years, we're a lot closer to skimboarding than the name wakesurfing implies. Wakesurfing almost seems seems to be going through the type of evolution skateboarding did just without the name change (from sidewalk surfing to skateboarding). Once people started advancing equipment technology it opened the door for a lot more maneuvers to be attempted which is where the bulk of the money and interest went to. I imagine the sales of skate-longboards and directional skateboards slowed down once the sport evolved into what it is now. Would it be fair to have someone enter a street contest with a longboard and ask to be judged differently than everyone else because they chose to ride a longboard? In my opinion, no. The sakeboarding scene evolved to what it is naturally and if the longboarder wants to compete it most likely won't be on TV or with a large amount of interest. Again, does that make it bad? Not in my book.

Why aren't the ocean surfers able to use only one board regardless of the wave? Because that's not how Mother Nature works. Would they if they could? My guess is absolutely. We can control those elements so we do which is one of the things that makes our version of surfing/skimming different and it's constantly evolving away from the ocean style simply because it can.

As someone mentioned before, great discussion!
Old     (Chaos)      Join Date: Apr 2010       08-14-2017, 2:05 PM Reply   
Most professional surfers have one go to board for the bulk of the waves they ride, they have specialized quivers for specialized waves that are used if they are touring pros. Again competitive surfing or wakesurfing is not the pulse of the industry. Competitive surfing is on a downward slump, not because of a lack of innovation or progression, but changing tastes in the larger community. The larger surf community is more interested in diversity, diversity of boards and riding styles, the beatnik, alternative lifestyle is back in fashion, even though it is an oxymoron. Changes in the market have lead to significant losses, which leads to big sponsor pulling out of the competitive scene.

Survival of the fittest would be true if it was natural selection, but skim style has been artificially selected by a history of judging criteria from the objective points for tricks system to where we are today. We are just living through the aftermath of bad choices.

In skateboarding, two style evolved, like most sports there are different styles that may go as far as to become different sports all together. There are far more that two style of skateboarding out there, but two main styles evolved out of the competitive arena. Vert style and street style went in different directions and to some extent merged back together under some formats. Market influences went back and forth, and participants still have their favorites, but when most people think of skateboarding today they likely think of street style.

No, I wouldn't say we are closer to skimboarding. Boards have progressed to being small or smaller from a length perspective, but not skim like, and the trend now is actually going back to bigger boards. Boards hit their thinness threshold a few years ago and now volume is the name of the game. Skim style riding is regionally popular in the western hemisphere. Skim style roughly dominates in Canada, largely because Phase 5 did a really great job of exploiting that market, but that is slowing changing. Skim style is strong on the east coast of the US, again largely due to market influences and what type of boards were available, but skim style is not dominant in the central US, Texas and it is pretty weak on the west coast, even though the west coast has a thriving ocean skim industry. Skimboarding is not particularly innovative, per say, it largely just adapts skateboarding maneuvers. The same can be said of surf style where adaptation is the name of the game.

I see what you are saying, and have heard it numerous times before. I personally think skim style will disappear sooner rather than later. There have been surf only events, can't say i have ever heard of a skim only event. It is getting harder and harder to fill skim style divisions so much that many pro rider who have no business riding in a professional skim heats are riding so there are enough competitor and because they have a change at a 3rd place podium finish that will still payout cash.

Old     (Xbigpun66)      Join Date: Aug 2016       08-14-2017, 6:25 PM Reply   
I think from the amatuer rider perspective (in the Midwest), myself and my riding buddies have eschewed the skim style boards and fins to the volume or surf style boards and are trying cutbacks, lip slaps, bottom turns etc. I think this equally difficult from our point of view and more fun. The new premium custom boards make a huge difference in our ability to progress.
Old     (petrie141)      Join Date: Jun 2012       08-14-2017, 8:39 PM Reply   
Sounds like it's a lot more political than I assumed. I'll bow out here and stick to my style of riding which is somewhere in the middle. Great discussion in my book!

I am curious though, I wonder in everyone's eyes what does a good surf style and skim style contest run consist of? Personally I like when surf style riders air it out and power through for things like 3 shuvs. For skimmers, anything in the air is cool in my book.

Last edited by petrie141; 08-14-2017 at 8:48 PM.
Old     (Chaos)      Join Date: Apr 2010       08-14-2017, 9:12 PM Reply   
I hear ya Ryan. I am not arguing with you nor am I in complete disagreement with you. I know what you are seeing and what you are saying, and yes it has been a very political debate that has gone back and forth for over a decade. I am in the camp that doesn't think combining is good for the sport. The end result will be a loss of progression and a complete loss in the diversity of board types out there in my opinion. I for one do not want to shape the same ole boring board one after another.

Old     (markj)      Join Date: Apr 2005       08-14-2017, 11:04 PM Reply   
I started ocean skimming around 1980. Got fairly decent around 1987 when I briefly lived in SoCal. I've always gravitated towards skim. Love my Victoria boards as well as my Phase 5. I own one old school surf style board and tried many surf style boards at Polar Bear in 2014. I was like, "meh." Never found a reason to switch over to surf style.

Nick, I'm surprised to hear you say skim style is weak on the west coast. Especially with all the ocean skimming here. I can't help but wonder how you formed that opinion or where you got your data from. Not that it even matters much. People are gonna ride what they want to ride regardless. I can see the restraint you're exercising over your hostility towards skim style and the companies that make them. Classy, but I'd love to hear the real dirt. Lol
Old     (TNwakeboarder86)      Join Date: Sep 2016       08-15-2017, 5:42 AM Reply   

I think your right on a lot but not only on the boards but loss of interest as well. I know in my area, I always wondering why we only see the mass production boards, the ones like hyperlite, liquid force, ronix and phase 5. It makes perfect sense that bc being here with all the major boat HQ their relationships with those companies go way back bc of wake boarding. I blows peoples minds when they find out a lot of the riders, ride a surf style board like chaos, doomswell, soulcraft. Everyone thinks they are all that skim style mass production line stuff. It blows there mind to think that people can spin and do all that with the bigger fins. I love when you take people who ride those type of boards and put them on a wakesurf board they struggle and say there is no way you can do spins or tricks on these. I think someone on here made a point on another forum, it blows our mind that people just want to spend more money on bigger wave, but anyone can ride a big wave. Show a rider who can do tricks on a smaller wave and that person is a good wake surfer. I don't like skim bc I think its geared towards usually just small riders. Plus I think it was the last wake tournament, watching the videos getting to see Ashley and all she can do, or even Parker it just blows my mind. When I think of skim boards, I think of growing up on ocean and watching the kids who were to scared to go out and surf toss the board on the littlest bit of water and wipe out falling on their backs or face plants. HA

This is probably one of the best threads on this site.
Old     (Chaos)      Join Date: Apr 2010       08-15-2017, 8:08 AM Reply   
Mark, you are correct, people are gonna ride what they want to ride. That is good. I have no ill will towards skim or skim mostly companies. I make skims, have for decades, I have skim riders on the team and send skims all over the world. I've been fortunate to work with some of the best skim riders in the world. I am just saying the concept of combining skim and surf into one just because a few pros can throw down the same run on a skim board and a surf-style board is short sighted, and detrimental to the sport as a whole. It is not a new idea, and it has been a very contentious battle in the past, to the point still today there are old school organizers that will not talk to each other or not in a friendly manner. I guess I've been around it way too long. I've never seen a surf style rider say we should combine divisions, but as a judge and organizers I have had to listen to many skim riders say 'it is all wakesurfing, there is no difference, we should just combine the two'. There are some riders that intentionally combine skim-style and surf-style, they consider this 'their' style. They are in the minority, but they exist. And kudos to them for being able to master both.

Old     (markj)      Join Date: Apr 2005       08-15-2017, 8:15 AM Reply   
Okay. Yeah, I have no clue about all those politics. That would kind of rob a lot of the fun for me if I had to deal with that. You might just be in need of a vacation.
Old     (boardjnky4)      Join Date: Dec 2011       08-15-2017, 10:42 AM Reply   
Sure doesn't look THAT different here:
Old     (petrie141)      Join Date: Jun 2012       08-15-2017, 10:54 AM Reply   
Originally Posted by boardjnky4 View Post
Sure doesn't look THAT different here:
Good grief Ashley can boost! This is another excellent video that makes me kind of think they're very similar or will at least be very similar in the near future. But I do acknowledge how these two riders can be considered the exception to the rule and not the rule itself, but in my eyes all of the pro level competitors are the exception to the rule and that's who I was discussing in my posts. Not the every day rider you see on the weekends, just the competition level riders.

Last edited by petrie141; 08-15-2017 at 10:58 AM.
Old     (wakemitch)      Join Date: Jun 2005       08-15-2017, 12:08 PM Reply   
Originally Posted by petrie141 View Post
For skimmers, anything in the air is cool in my book.
Old     (TimbrSS)      Join Date: Jun 2015       08-15-2017, 1:05 PM Reply   
It's great that so many people are contributing with such lengthy posts... some of the longest I've seen on here.

As far as wakesurfing competitions go:
I've only watched a few runs of PWT that I saw were live on Facebook. I watched along with the other 28 -163 people on facebook. I noticed some of the riders would have a skim style board, and switch to a surf style board or vice versa after they fell.. I really thought they were doing the same things either way. I feel that they were throwing good tricks, and it kept my attention for a while, but I really didn't have anything else going on at the time.

Wake surf comps are such a low spectator sport that it probably doesn't matter how they do it anyway. It's just not the kind of event most would go out of the way to attend, or even watch. It's just so much more fun to do than watch because it's an activity anyone can participate in and hit some improvement milestones quickly while having a bunch of fun with friends and getting some exercise. I doubt 95% of the people who participate in wakesurfing would even consider being in a competition. They're just looking for a bit of fun and some progression: get up, toss the rope, then do a 360, and get some air... and they'll do that on whichever board they happen to have available to them at the time.

I'd venture to say that half of the wakesurfering world wouldn't be able to tell which style was which, or really care... it's just confusing to see what appears to be the same kind of tricks, but not really know why they are in different categories. They aren't obviously different like Vert and Street skateboarding.

I think videos like the Ashley vid above are way more entertaining than watching a competition any day. It's even better than if I DVR'd a competition and don't have to wait for any breaks in the action. That's how wakesurfing is most appealing as entertainment... and riders can then ride the board they like best in whatever style they like, and just have fun.

As far a purity of ocean surfing.. I doubt even half of people who wakesurf have ever ocean surfed, and care little how authentic it feels to that. They just want to have the most fun with what they have available.
Old     (Chaos)      Join Date: Apr 2010       08-16-2017, 10:24 AM Reply   
Originally Posted by boardjnky4 View Post
Sure doesn't look THAT different here:
That is the point of the post, not the forum post, but the social media post. They are intentionally trying to do the same thing. This is basically a 'surf-style' run, there is not a single maneuver that is considered skim-style thrown in. In a competition format Tommy wouldn't necessarily score very high or be competitive with other skim riders doing this type of run. He does have great flow, form and control, though.
Old     (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       08-16-2017, 10:36 AM Reply   
Originally Posted by TimbrSS View Post
As far as wakesurfing competitions go:
I've only watched a few runs of PWT that I saw were live on Facebook. I watched along with the other 28 -163 people on facebook. I noticed some of the riders would have a skim style board, and switch to a surf style board or vice versa after they fell.. I really thought they were doing the same things either way. I feel that they were throwing good tricks, and it kept my attention for a while, but I really didn't have anything else going on at the time.
Totally agree! I have a hard enough keeping people on my own boat awake while I surf. Watching livestream of surfing comps is HELLA BORING. And I'd have to imagine watching from shore is even worse. It makes watching bowling attractive. Surfing an itty bitty wake is just never going to seem that important (and don't get me wrong, I enjoy it and want to surf as much as I can)

It surprises me not at all that the rules are arcane and arbitrary. Because only the most enthusiastic zealots are involved and they get to geek it out as they see fit.
Old     (petrie141)      Join Date: Jun 2012       08-17-2017, 5:06 PM Reply   
Right on cue, on this week's episode of The Golden Mic Podcast Dano interviews Johnny Stieg and they happen to discuss this topic briefly. I love podcasts and listen to them on my commute to/from work and this one made my drive-time go by super fast. The show can be a good peek behind the curtain for towed watersports fans. If anyone is interested like I was in what a "pro wakesurfer" has to do to pay the bills, this episode is a great starting point. Check 'er out:
Old     (Chaos)      Join Date: Apr 2010       08-18-2017, 8:19 AM Reply   
I will have to say, Johnny is a good friend, a former team rider, and someone I still talk to regularly and help out of products.

Contests: yes, the generalities around contest are all true, some do consider them fun, many don't. Like any organized sport. People attend either because they are participants or because they are family members of participants. Pure spectators are a very small subset. For those involved it is largely a social gathering, it is about hanging out with friends and getting to ride and do fun things outside of the actual contest time. The number one sponsor of any wakesurfer is their family. In many cases it is the parents that are the ones that take it the most serious. We even pitched a show about wakesurf moms and dads, at times it is worse that typical soccer moms and dads. One of the draws is it is one of those rare sports, that amateurs and youth riders can hang out with pro riders that they look up to. Some pro riders do a great job and are great ambassadors, but not all.

Making it fun or gaining a following: We've tried brackets, we've looked at a variety of different ways of scoring, like one of my favorites, making it more like a real surfing contest, where each pass is scored like a wave instead of each pass combined into 1 score. Sports gain fans or spectators because of stats, athlete fanatics, and brand/team fanatics. One of the recent changes has been rapidly posting results, so people can follow along. We looked at a lot of different avenues with the EWT. Hopefully we can get the EWT going again and ideally pushing the competitive scene to make a change. But again, it is a really small portion of the industry as a whole. We had the original wakesurf team at Shred Stixx, long before any other company, and long before boat companies started adding riders for marketing. We worked with many boat companies to get riders on their teams. But we also recognized the complete lack of ROI in competitive wakesurfing. I don't sponsor a big competitive team anymore, because any yokel can give away boards and fill a podium. When there are 3-4 people competing in your class or division, you are pretty much guaranteed a podium spot. I prefer to just work with good people, families that I find are making real contributions to the sport, not just looking for free products.

Old     (TNwakeboarder86)      Join Date: Sep 2016       08-18-2017, 8:38 AM Reply   
You need to push for the surf competitions to move towards Knoxville TN. I think it will be a great turn out. I think you are right where, people will come out just to get pointers or to hang out with the pros. I think if they did a whole weekend thing where they compete but also give back would be HUGE. I know in college the biggest thing I loved to do was when I got invited to teach at football camps, or come back as a speaker to my old high school or middle school. I played ball in college but yet people didn't come see me play because I was in a smaller division. But yet when I went to schools to help with other team mates then the kids were everywhere wanting to hang out ask questions and play catch.

Golf did the same thing, PGA was dying with the fan base, but not the younger pros realized we need to be ambassadors and focus on the kids. With the clothing, the meet and greets, and so on. Now look at the PGA its huge. I would say the same thing for wake surfing. I am sure many families would bring their kids to watch not just because its a tournament, but a chance to meet their role models in the sport. I know HEYDAY does a small tourney in NC and I think it goes well, because they have all different levels from great to beginners that can enter. Still nO FAT guy categories HAHA. Yet after it looks like they have a huge party with food, music and hang out. It looks to draw a big crowd.

It would blow peoples minds I think to get pointers from the pros, I know a new group that started up here surfing, just bought a new boat, I been showing them wake9 videos, parker payne, and Ashley kidd. They just are blown away but what they can do with wake surf boards, where they originally thought you can only use skim style to do spins and so on.
Old     (ragboy)      Join Date: Aug 2007       08-22-2017, 3:01 PM Reply   
Interesting discussion, didn't even realize it was going on. ;-)

I think I have very little wind left in me for the competitive wake surfing part of the EWT. I am just rethinking the entire thing, to be honest. This year was a year to regroup and figure that out. It is SOOO much effort, that it has to be something that pays off. When I say pay off, I don't mean $$ or whatever. I will give you an example, Amy and I have been giving away "I caught the Wave" T-shirts to kids that go ropeless. This takes time, and it takes $$, but the pay off is huge for us. When we started the EWT, it felt like that. Competitive wake surfing has gone a direction that doesn't feel that way to me anymore, but that doesn't mean its a bad thing, just may not be my "bag" anymore.

That said, we are working on a great polar bear event, which I LOVE, and then some ideas for events that can be done in any location, be community oriented, get people stoked and involved, and yet not require getting on your knees to try to get enough sponsors for huge payouts. It would be a reasonable cost to do, and sustainable.

Hopefully we will do an event in the spring, we will see, that can start to be a template for that. Doing our road trip this year, was the best thing for our family, because THAT was awesome, and it felt good, it was everything that I love about this sport. Beautiful places, great people, surfing with my family, old friends and new friends.


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