Just passing through… (photo: Mathis)

Well, well, well, here we are again ladies and gentlemen. That bleak time of the year when the temperatures are dropping, the lakes are being drained, and seasonal depression is setting in. No more lake days for the year?! Not cool Mother Nature, not cool at all. How are you supposed to get your wake fix now? You could be one of those crazies that de-winterize your boat, go out in a dry suit, and get some frostbite. Or you could go the other way – pack up that board bag, gather up your crew, and punch a ticket to a warmer destination. There are more than enough wake-cation destinations that span the globe so just do a little research, pick a spot, and get to shredding. But in other news, there is all-new gear to get stoked about and we know everybody loves that new new. That’s right kids, the 2020 Alliance Wake Gear Guide is here to give you the lowdown on all the newness that the best companies in wake are rolling out for the upcoming season. That will help ease the pain that the winter brings … to some degree. 

So what’s the hype surrounding new gear all about really? It’s just the same board shape, boat, or accessory with a new graphic on it right? WRONG. Go wash your mouth out with soap and then come back and join us. You’re done? Alright, welcome back. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, each year companies are putting in tireless hours of research and development to bring you, the wake rider, the best and newest innovations in the realm of wakeboarding. There were definitely a few innovations for this season during our time with the 2020 gear that caught our eye and we tip our caps to the companies for pushing the envelope. With that in mind, we have retooled our board tests to reflect that. Meaning, it’s no longer referred to as a “test” but rather a clear and honest “review”. What’s the difference you may ask? Well, let me tell you. A “test” implies that there is a clear winner and loser and yes, while some boards perform better than others, the companies these days are pumping out such rad boards that we felt this would be a better way to depict the pros and cons of each board. The format is basically the same as last year, it’s more of an attitude change if you can wrap your head around that.

Even though it’s getting chilly and finding good weather to ride can be hit or miss, this is usually one of my favorite times of the year. I live in Orlando so that definitely helps but it’s that time of year when the craziness of the season has finally died down and riders can concentrate on being creative rather than dialing in their contest runs. This is what I as a photographer (and a rider as well) live for. Being able to take time with an athlete to nail a shot and not worrying if you didn’t get it that day because they’re not having to pack up and leave for a trip or contest. It takes the pressure off a bit which definitely helps the creative juices flow. The same goes for the weather. Bad morning light? No problem, just try again tomorrow. The only problem is that if it gets too cold then they’ll want to rock a wettie so that means silhouette shots all day! But who doesn’t love a good sunset shot? 

Aside from all the awesome gear buzz that we’re producing with this issue is a classic road trip tale in an even more classic location: the Land of the Rising Sun. Japan is one of those incredible places that has a little bit of everything. Culture, tradition, metropolitan cities, sprawling mountain ranges, and insane lakes that are just itching to be ridden. Not to mention, a love for all things wake. We were lucky enough to accompany GoPro and Malibu athletes Massi Piffaretti and Brian Grubb into the heart of Japan for a taste of the shredding, sake, and much, much more. So what are you waiting for? There’s a plethora of knowledge and stoke in the issue you’re holding so without further adieu … welcome to 2020 and keep the stoke fire burning!  

Stay weird,