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Derek Cook un-wrapping a stalefish frontside 360. pic: Garrison

     When I was asked to write this article I had to dig deep and really break down what motivates me to keep riding and pushing the sport in the direction I want to portray it. Next year I will be 30. Yep, 30; no longer one of up and coming young go-hards whose dream about being a professional rider may someday come true. It’s happened, and it’s been happening for the last eight years of my life. So when should my “career” end? Is there a time limit or expiration date on riding a wakeboard for a job? At what point does it all go down hill? How many more back edges do I have to take before the pain isn’t worth the progression? These are all questions that I guess I should be thinking about, but I don’t. Right now I’m more motivated than ever to have a board under my feet and spread the word about wakeboarding.


I can’t pinpoint exactly where that mindset comes from. Maybe it’s the all-star supporting cast that I have around me at home on the Delta. We have Josh Twelker who’s so f$%*@^# good at wakeboarding it’s almost unbelievable. Everything he does is as legit as it gets; so teched out with so much style. I can’t wait for Josh to get healthy over the winter and come out with guns blazing. Trever Maur is a double threat, he’ll tuck knee any trick better than you and then turn around and shoot a web video of your worst set and make you look amazing. One of the most talented guys I know, Grant Roberts, is really good at video games so he decided to ride like he’s in one. Stupid good. Have you seen his stalefish? Yeah, he’s on a wakeskate. And of course Randall Harris moved up to the D (Delta) this summer and has been seen boosting shore to shore at riding speeds that turn water into concrete. To top it off Rodrigo Donoso is always capturing it all in a chase boat not too far behind, stoked out and keeping everybody pumped. He doesn’t miss, ever! I don’t see how I can’t be motivated with a crew like this. It’s truly awesome and inspiring to be on the water with these guys every day. #ourcrewissick!


Derek re-inventing his backside 180. Photo: Cortese


This year I had one goal. My goal was to not grab a trick in the same spot, or do a trick the same way that I did last year. It’s not that I didn’t like the way I was riding or how those tricks looked in videos and photos, I just wanted to re-amp my riding and set myself apart from myself. I had a whiteboard with a bucket list of tricks I wanted to get or change and started checking them off as the year went along. I rode five different board and binding setups throughout the year to diversify the product I was shooting on and had an opportunity to shoot with almost every wake photographer in the industry this summer. It was one of those years where every set I rode felt like the best I’ve ever ridden.


Ever since I started wakeboarding when I was 14, all I wanted was to get really good at it. I wanted to be that guy on the cover of the magazines and in the pages in-between. I still feel the same way. I’m constantly thinking of new trick variations to showcase wakeboarding the way I think it should look. The same motivation I had to get good at wakeboarding 15 years ago is still there and stronger than ever. The fire is burning strong. These days it seems like the fire is on fire, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. I find every little thing to fuel that fire. I get just as stoked when one of our students hits their first wake jump or if I land a new trick. I enjoy teaching wakeboarding just as much as I love riding. I’m a huge fan of our sport and I feel very blessed to have this as my job.


Delta life. Photo: Cortese


As 2012 comes to a close, remember how you rode at the beginning of the year. Are you satisfied with your riding? Content with the same trick you’ve been doing all year? Or are you chomping at the bit to get after it and shred you face off. The next time you go to get your boat ready to ride, drive to the cable, or fire up your winch, dig deep and find what motivates you to ride better. Watch the latest web video, study the latest mag, put MayDay in your VCR, and fire up a pot of coffee. Stoke yourself out on wakeboarding and set your fire on fire. Trust me, it’s worth it. Can’t handle the heat? Then why are you still in the kitchen?