Double shakas for 30 years in the watersports industry (photo: Nautique)

Alliance: How long have you worked in the watersports industry?

Greg: This is my 30th year in the watersports industry.

A: What do you enjoy about it?

G: My favorite part is the customers and the people I work with. You don’t have to buy a wakeboard or a towboat, but people that do know how much fun time spent with friends and family on the water is.

A: Did you grow up skiing/wakeboarding? 

G: I was introduced to towed watersports though the Boy Scouts. My parents didn’t have a boat, but my Scoutmaster, Walt Wheeler, and his family did. They hooked me on towed watersports at 14.  

A: How did you get your start in the industry?

G: In high school, I started working at Mt. Pilchuck Ski and Sports in Everett, Washington. I was selling and servicing snow skis in the winter and watersports products in the summer.

A: How long have you been with Nautique? Why Nautique?

G: I have been with Nautique for almost seven years as an employee, and a customer since 1996. I fell in love with the brand while spending a week at Young Life’s Club Malibu Camp in British Columbia, Canada. After that week, a good friend of mine talked his parents into buying a 1991 Ski Nautique. I fell in love that summer and have never found a boat that’s built better than Nautique.

A: What’s a typical day like for you?

G: One of my favorite parts of the job is that there isn’t a typical day. The job requires quite a bit of travel: both driving and flying. But after 25 years in the field, I have learned to manage my life from the road. I enjoy the journey as much as the destination, which makes airports and long road trips more fun.  

A: Why is the West Coast market, specifically California, so important to our industry?

G: Coming from the Northwest and working at HO Sports, I was able to witness the birth of wakeboarding back in the late 80s to early 90s. Watching riders like Dave Steele, Greg Nelson, Bill McCaffray and Todd Smith ride influenced my riding. They made wakeboarding look more like snowboarding and skateboarding. Then in the mid-90’s, I moved to Canyon Lake, California and helped start the Canyon Lake Wakeboard Club. Riders like Randy Harris, Keith Kipp, Kyle Murphy, the Marquardt and Valdez families showcased wakeboarding to an audience that was focused on surf and skate. They made it look cool and introduced our sport to participants I don’t think would have ridden behind a boat.

A: How many days did you spend at or traveling to boat shows in 2019?

G: With all the hotel and airline applications available now, it is easier to track this number. I would say a typical year is about 150 nights in a hotel. One bonus to this kind of travel is a free week vacation for my family and I solely on hotel/airline points.  

A: What is the most rewarding part of your job and working in this industry?

G: I would have to say the people and mentors that this industry has brought into my life. Early on at HO Sports, Herb O’Brien, Brian Gardner and Jack Sappenfield were those people to me. Then as things changed at HO Sports, Bob Archer, John Clark and Tim Joyce became those mentors teaching me about business integrity and management. Now at Nautique, I am truly blessed to have Bill Yeargin, Greg Meloon, Mike Yacht and Scott Bauer helping me become a better person every day! As I am reaching my elder years in the industry, it has given me time to reflect back on these and many other relationships that I have built in the industry that I love so much.

A: What is your favorite lake in the world?

G: This is a question that I am asked by many customers and my first answer is always the closest one to your house. I do however have my favorites and on the top of the list is Lake Powell followed closely by Lake Tahoe. When describing Lake Powell, it’s best to say the experience is like house boating on the Grand Canyon, and that “Tahoe Blue” is just something you’ll never forget!