Bobby “Big Air” Soven isn’t afraid to keep sending

By: Bob Soven

Do you kids even know how to read anymore? I hope so, because I’ve got a lot to say – like where I’ve been, where I’m going, who I like and what gets under my skin. If you don’t know my timeline, I’ve been riding for over 20 years, pro for 10 of those, and semi-retired for three. I’ll be the first to admit I burned myself out and lost my passion for riding. I spent my whole life up to 22 focusing all my energy on getting better at wakeboarding. And I did a decent job at that, when I found myself atop the Pro Tour standings for the shortest duration in wakeboarding history: two weeks. Never to return to the yellow bib. I’ve won “Rider of the Year” (2013), some other sh*t, and then kind of phased out and spent my time focusing on my hobbies or supporting my sponsors directly. Now, at 27 and taking a bird’s eye look at my career, I can see the finish line is near as my body just can’t hold up much longer and I can’t keep up with the freakishly talented youth. I have to look towards some horizon. 

So where am I going? Where’s the passion? What’s the plan for old Bobby B? Well, let’s look short term. I have re-found my passion for towed water sports through wakeskating, stirring the pot with some of the wakeboard kids, and my disdain for wakesurfing has grown, which fuels my passion to grow any other discipline. I am on a serious grind to bring wakeskating back to prominence and the idea of the  “Wakeskate World Championships” is a great starting point. Be on the lookout for more details on that in the near future. To me, it’s the most impressive sport on the water, and the most fun. I have been seriously addicted to wakeskating lately. I’m progressing and landing new tricks every time I go out, which is a feeling I haven’t had for a long time. I can’t remember the last time I’ve progressed so rapidly on the water – to the point where it’s a nostalgic feeling of the old days when I could learn a new wakeboarding trick every set. I get even more stoked now when I learn a new wakeskate trick than I ever did on my wakeboard. I’ve been working on my toeside shuv-it indy’s like my wakeskate hero, Brian Grubb, and have finally started to get them consistent. Next on my list is a kickflip off the double up. Wish me luck. I’m definitely looking forward to how much I can accomplish on a skate before my next boneheaded injury. I hope my stoke level inspires you to dust off an old pair of shoes and grab a wakeskate. The sense of accomplishment and the genuine stoke that comes with a harder discipline is definitely worth the time and effort.

But let’s get down to the nitty gritty: There’s something out there that’s been driving me a little crazy and I just have to get it off my chest. My Numero Uno pet peeve is these contest riders doing bunny-hop 180’s in their run. Pretty trivial, right? Not to me. When I planned runs, I would try to avoid these at all costs. They do nothing for you other than to kill your flow and what’s even worse is that nobody seems to find anything wrong with it. Come on guys, tighten your sh*t up! Don’t make me call up the WWA and get my name on the next event. However, there are some young guns riding now that I have so much respect for and I think are carrying the wake torch in the correct direction on and off the water. Guenther Oka is a stand up bloke and has brought so much originality to the sport in all the right ways. You can definitely tell that he puts a lot of time and effort into making everything he does out on the water look as fluid and proper as possible. Tyler Higham is pushing his riding so hard right now and looks so good doing it. Without question, he’s one of the smoothest riders out there right now. Wake to wake switch double mobe? Are you kidding me? Don’t even get me started on that switch mute 1080 that he dropped a few weeks ago. It’s just mind blowing. And just like Guenther, he takes the time to make sure all of his grabs are solid, poked, and in the right spot. Then, even younger, is my favorite duo of Sam Brown and Luca Kidd, two interesting personalities with a hilarious dichotomy. Their riding is constantly blowing my mind and it’s only going to get better. Sam is as smooth as a young Watson and Luca is this wild X-factor that reminds me of, well, a young me. I look forward to seeing all these guys come up (along with many others) and keep pushing the sport into the future. The torch is being passed and I’ll do all I can to help direct these kids the right way and help them succeed. My closing note to any rider still reading is to keep your sh*t to a premium, don’t be a f*ck boy, and continue to pour your efforts into this industry because I can tell you, wake is not going anywhere.