Archive for September, 2008

Marquardt and Kanter on the Daily Habit

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Homegirls gettin’ some love!

FUEL TV’s The Daily Habit

In case you missed it, Liquid Force Maven’s own Shelby Kantar and Melissa Marquardt recently appeared on FUEL TV’s the Daily Habit. The girls were up at the studios in LA to discuss their new ’09 pro-model boards/bindings, what’s happening in the next few months, and all things Maven related! Check out FUEL TV as they’ll be re-running the show regularly over the next few weeks.

The Vandall Reflects on the ‘Wonder Years’

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

I ran across this ask Randy a question column on wakeworld and thought it was a pretty cool reflection of the early years in the sport. Check it.

just curious how today compares (if at all) with the ground y’all broke in the early years of the sport’s progression?

Wakeboarding life today is something completely different than wakeboarding life during the “early years of the sport’s progression.” It’s a complex evaluation because 10 years ago I was going through puberty and experiencing life for the first time as a youngster, going through my wonder years so to speak. Looking back at that whole time period invokes somewhat of a mystical feeling. That romanticized memory is due in part to the fact that I was coming of age alongside the legends of the sport, whom I idolized, and partly to the fact that I was in a drug and alcohol-induced haze most of the time.

No matter whose perspective is being offered, I doubt anyone could argue that the years surrounding Byerly and Gator winning the Worlds on the Flight 69, when Nelson was on top of his game and when we were scaring the hell out of the ski community for the first time was wakeboarding’s golden era. We were all about having fun and doing crazy looking things that had never been seen before. There was no corporation sponsored club event to attend in order to keep up appearances and grease palms. Most nights were spent looking for a good time and a house party or chilling to the sounds of Skynard and a campfire blazing alongside the river.

The wakeboarding personalities of the time all offered a unique take on life and the energy in the boats was raw and untamed. Who would have thought that the channeled angst of this group of misguided youth would have spawned what has now become an entire bustling industry. None of us really approached wakeboarding as a business or a career. We never expected wakeboarding would eventually cross paths with that of the rap/hip-hop world or that we could become legitimate business owners and team managers. It was more like we were all along for the crazy ass ride and had no idea where it was leading us.

So to answer your question, wakeboarding life today doesn’t compare at all to wakeboarding life back then. I do feel truly blessed to have been a part of the sport during its magical incubation period and still be a relevant rider/business person in the commerce that the activity of wakeboarding has become today.

Do you feel more or less inspired by the newer riders?

The talent in wakeboarding today is amazing. Do I feel as inspired by the top athletes in the sport today as I did by my superheroes back in the day? No. It doesn’t really matter though because I haven’t been drawing inspiration for my riding from this sport for many years.

Does the fact that you’re not the “kid” in the boat change the way you approach your riding?

The fact that I’m not the “kid” in the boat doesn’t necessarily change the way I approach my riding, but it does change the way I behave in the boat. I’m not the little turd that has to be coaxed into riding the early morning session. I’m not the kid sitting shotgun and sleeping while the older guys drive and do all the work. Even though I now have seniority, I feel like I have to step up and show the younger riders what it takes to make it in this industry.

In your opinion, how does the new wave of riders compare with the guys who laid the foundation in the first place?

I think I’ve clearly explained the mind state of us that laid the foundation. The new wave of riders are more athletic, serious and goal-oriented. Riders nowadays aren’t riding to tweak their board in a way no one has ever tweaked it. They are riding to build an arsenal of check cutting sponsors. Riders today don’t ride, they train. They train three to five times daily. They train to be consistent. They train to be the wakeboarder on Fuel TV mounting the podium. They train to be the next rider with a line of signature products and a pro model boat wrap.

Do any of today’s riders remind you of the older guys who don’t strap in anymore?

No, I don’t see any similarities between the current wakeboard stars and that of the past. That’s not to say there isn’t any riding out there that is jaw dropping and inspirational. It’s just a different time with different mind sets and different goals. Every now and then you can spot the influence of Greg Nelson’s flawless toeside frontside melon 360 or Gator’s gigantic hoochie glides or Byerly’s stylish hook. There are a select few like Ben Greenwood, the Valdez bros, Collin Harrington and Lyman that appear to have captured a spark from the once roaring fire of soul that ignited this sport.

Valla Con Dios

(the complete article is at