There is something awesome about being at work (yes some of us do get money outside the CRB riches), and turning on the TV and seeing people we know on it doing waterski stuff!
For many years we have wondered how to properly package our sport to showcase it to people in the real world who assume that waterskiing is a doofus behind a bayliner at mach 6 while pissing off fisherman.
Well, thats not entirely fair.
We would venture a guess that most people don't view waterskiing as a silly sport, or a thing you do with Muffy and Biff at the lake house. We assume that people in know understand that its a hard venture (like your mom) and it takes skill.
#muffyandbiff4ever #ripmuffyandbiff #DontHangGlideStoned #420no
But, how does that translate into something people want to actually watch, to consume, to invest their time in???
In the realm of waterskiing, there are so many facets, from the most understood / mainstream of disciplines of our sport, and that is without question wakeboarding. To the furthest end, the most obscure version of our sport and that is, what, sky ski? Steeple chase barefoot? FYI - so much death
In between we have so many variations of our sport, barefoot, slalom, jump, trick ski, show ski, ski racing, and our new favorite ski boozing. (Thats drinking in a boat that floats down a river whilst there are skis inside the boat getting in your way as you try to get cheez-its out of the cooler)
|back the fuck off son, i will cut you|
Don't question ski boozing, it will take off soon. Right after we throw the damn combo ski in the water because we kicked it and hurt our toe and now that ski has to pay.
Its long been a thought in our minds of how does one make our sport palatable to the people of the world to view and enjoy and hopefully engage in.
And to be clear, this is not about people participating IN the sport, simply how it is consumed on TV or on a phone or tablet. We enjoy the hell our of sprint boat racing but, never in a million years will we race a boat around a little slough in hopes of not death.
|Your mom is port side yo!|
However on the other side of the equation, we hope that people do tune in and do engage in our sport and do hopefully participate in some realm and maybe start to ski and compete and in turn, purchase products from our companies, and then use them and go to our tournaments and probably..maybe...hook up with our sons or daughters.
Use protection! Not ready to be a grand parent yet!!
Its a hard, weird sell (like your mom), because, a standard 3-event tournament is, basically, a two day affair (like your mom) where you watch countless people ski, and ski, and ski and you dont' really know whats going on or why you should be interested.
A wakeboard event is cool, but, again, what are we looking at?
It doesn't really propagate itself properly to an arena environment because the runs are so long, right?
Its dudes, or chicks doing big flips. And unless your Dallas Friday in the ESPN Body issue (dudes amirite /high five), its kinda hard to follow the competition aspect of it.
Jumping is, probably the most baller of the individual disciplines because there is no leeway in any way. Its, I got farther then you and I win. No judges, no wondering about the 1/4 ball, no "did he grab on the whirlybird, no nothing. Just balls out flight/speed/insanity.
So, you would think this would be a natural for the conversion to a TV audience.
Well, yes and no. There is no "head to head" aspect to it, in the shorter attention span-ish nature, of a tv audience right? We kinda need something instant. not, say, 15 minutes of this person skiing, then 15 minutes of this person and then maybe they go farther.
NO! I need this.
Freddy - 220
Dodd - 221
Freddy - 215
Dodd - 225
Freddy - 230
/dies of blood loss to my body
*sorry Dodd, we love you, but, this scenario fits our narrative better*
And, lets be real.
We all love what we do, in whatever form we do it, right? And we want what we do to be big. You could be the best show skiier in the world and would love to have that on tv. You could be the best, whatever, open water salmon fishing two-ski with a harpoon person (ed. note - make this happen) and would want that to be big.
But, there comes a time when we should meld our minds together and package our shit to appeal to the peeps.
In steps Mastercraft.
And Freddy Fucking Krueger
And a "dead" version of jumping.
And the X-games.
And ABC TV
|are you sure?|
Side note: back to what we talked about at the start. Some of us at CRB have outside jobs that preclude us from fun life stuff. We were well aware when the #MCThrowdown2015 was happening.
We were ready to fight the remote away from customers to turn it on.
We didn't have to. Someone wanted to watch it and turned it on without our guidance.
THATS A REALLY GOOD THING YOU GUYS!
So, lets start somewhere.
ESPN, which is owned by ABC which is really Disney, which...shut up idiot. just say what you were going to say.
Anyways, ESPN did a Sports Science thing on jumping. Which, as a feature is awesome. Not even just the jumping. The sports science thing in general is dope. Whatever, shut up! Here is the video
That was awesome as hell.
Thats the kinda shit that gets people amped.
"yeah, whatever, science is for nerds" /punches nerd in the face and/or glasses
Nonsense, that is tight as hell. Having skied our whole lives, this is absolutely awesome. Learned a ton, get to see our people in a great light and not a ton of slow-mo stuff. /glares at 32 accounts DVD
Ok, neat. So now what. I need to be fed entertainment on a constant basis because I have never learned how to appreciate the world for the amazing kaleidoscope of amazing that it is.
That sounds like a problem that should be brought up elsewhere and not in the middle of a CRB post other voice in our head / idiots at a bar / lots of people.
So, this give people a general insight into the technical side of jumping, maybe a layer of understanding of the sport that they didnt know.
And this is really really important, gaining an understanding of how hard, how much goes into and how difficult it is to really compete / perform at a high level in whatever it is you are doing. Right? If you just see a video of Freddy or Dodd or Bojan (/winks at the krista) you would think, "sure, thats cool but just go farther or whatever.
Its the same thing in, say, basketball. You see it on TV and you think to your self, "Jesus Dude, I could have made that shot!!"
No you can't. Its really really.
To be the best in ANY sport, basically means you are the best of the best. The (top gun quote) of your peers. When you see a college football game and thing, "damn, that dude is good" and gets not a sniff at the pro level.
Thats the people whose name we know.
Freddy, Ryan, PATRICE GOD DAMN MARTIN, Parks Bonifay...the people who are better then the best that there is.
These people have worked harder, have sacrificed more, have more natural ability then anyone, have beaten themselves up on a daily basis to become something more then just a jackass behind a keyboard and have actual skill!
This doesn't apply simply to Freddy btw. But, you have to admit, he is without question the greatest waterski jumper guy ever. Right? Sammy Duvall is a god, but, Freddy has to be Thanatos...the Greek god of Death. Our dude just stomps people out and has been doing it for like..what...eternity now?
|Freddy NO! BAD FREDDY|
Lets get back to business.
The #MCThrowdown2015, thats laborious to type out.
That event though, showcased the best that our sport has in wakeboarding as well, from known names like Harley Cliffor to Rusty Malinoski and Bob Soven to names we didn't know like Shota Tezuka and Mike Dowdy.
It also had a bunch of fun gibberish to keep action going whilst the real action was getting ready to go.
And. This is what brings us to our main point about why this was awesome, why this was a success and why this could be a...neigh...while this SHOULD be a model to follow for our future.
Lets delve in:
One of the more odd success stories in recent time is the Big Dawg style slalom tournament. The head to head aspect of skiing. Which, at its core is so simple, but, from the inside looking out we can see how it was a hard aspect to accept.
Waterskiing tournaments are, typically, You get your time on the water and you do your best then you go chill and see how the other competitors do.
In the Big Dawg, the bracket style, you go head to head with some other person and whomever wins continues on. NCAA Bracket style. So simple, yet, hard to implement into a sport that is inherently NOT a head to head thing.
To that end, one of the most fun tournaments (skiing part, not party part...thats always LA night jam 2011, was the Malibu Open in 2013 (we are pretty sure) where they ran a head to head slalom-off before the jump part.
YO! Slalom is baller as shit when people fight head-to-head.
In the X-Games #MCThrowdown, it was wakeboarding head to head, and it was.
Personal antidote time: We work in a retail environment, and were basically killing time all saturday to get to 1:30 our time so we could watch the event. As it happens a customer came in at like 1:20 because of-fucking-course they did. So we kept a eye on the TV anyways to try and make sure we caught what was going on.
And god bless someones heart, at 1:30 a different customer switched the channel to ABC to watch the X-Games.
We weren't aware that the wakeboarding was going to be a thing, we thought that it was just Freddy going off and we were wrong and so happy to be wrong.
The style of the competition was great. One run, four tricks, beat the other person was riveting.
No bullshit, we had people who had no idea what was on TV asking what it was, why it was, and asking for clarification as to what was going on.
BECAUSE IT WAS INTERESTING!!
THEY WANTED TO KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON!!
THEY WERE WATCHING PRO-WAKEBOARDING ON A SATURDAY!
We were happy to oblige, btw, and it felt good to show people, both customers and fellow employees that "This is what I do, this is why I spend my money, and this is what I think is cool" and they bought in!
We saw alot of this.
other person "whoa, that was cool"
us: "damn, that was cool!"
Other person: "what are they going to do next..WHOA!! THAT WAS COOL!"
Thats it! Thats what it take y'all!
Then we get Freddy, and the image that Mastercraft Instagrammed at the top of the page. The main event, so to speak.
Side note again: A number of years ago, first or second LA Night Jam (we think) (note: LA Night Jam 2009 - we were there and had the most fun ever at a thing we didn't compete in) Freddy won and got the mic and was the most gracious person, thanking the sponsors, thanking the people that came out and imploring us all to support our sport.
It stuck with us, it was beautiful. He seemed, at least to us, to appreciate his place in our sport and appreciate everything around him and what that it has allowed him to have.
To that end, we mentioned in 2009 (click above link) about how we can package our sport and by-god-damn if we haven't maybe, just maybe, figured it out.
So, when it was Freddy that was on ABC TV, we couldn't have been happier. We don't know him to the point where we could say hi and he would know who we are (or would he??? lol) Just kidding, he has no idea who we are, but, man, if there isn't a better person to be the face of that aspect of our sport then Freddy we don't know who.
But, thats all besides the point.
It was an hour and a half of skiing on TV and how do you keep the people of the world interested in your sport, how do you keep a TV show going.
And lets be clear. This was a TV show. Not a show case for waterskiing. This was a TV show, those in charge had to make it bad-ass so people would watch. Its not a charity case, its not, lets see what happens.
Its time to make something, package something that is something that people want to see.
So what do they do???
They tease a Freddy long-ass jump, to keep us intrigued. They had a bracket style wakeboard event and in-between they had CRAZY NONSENSE!!
Ok, wakeboarding and jumping, thats nice but what else. Lets make this extra nuts:
-Crazy people on motorcycles riding into the water!
-Big bag things that launch people into the water
-Fantastic profiles of the skiiers
SHIT THAT MAKES US WATCH!!!
So, it was packaged as such.
*coming out of commercial*
-Some dude wakeboarding his ass off
-His competitior wakeboarding his ass off
-One dude loses!!
-Announcer tells us that "Dude A" goes against "Dude C" when we get back.
/some other crazy shit
*cut to commercial
Yo! I'm ready for some more!
This goes on for a bit and then....
|Freddy is a shark?|
Ski Flying is really cool but, probably not something that is scalable for the masses as we all don't have a million horse power boats and manic tendencies, but, man is it the SHIT when you see it live....on TV.
Those of you who have seen real pro-jumping live, you know there is nothing like seeing the best jump in the "normal" capacity.
Especially, and we use this alot, but, sit shore side and watch Freddy and Dodd. The difference is striking. Science vs. Strength, making love to the ramp vs. killing that motherfucker. Freddy is a ballerina whereas Dodd is a Boxer punching that shit to death with his feet?
Whatever, we use those two guys as examples.
Lets be honest now, there is a real big dissonance between a regular tournament and something that is to be packaged and shown on tv. Its a real tough thing to do.
As we said, a 3-event tournament, or a wakeboard tournament or whatever style of skiing isnt desigened to be easily packaged and shown on tv. It takes time to make it right (like your mom), and that is no fault of anyone.
Its just the nature of our beast.
So, maybe, lets not try and figure a way to make our biggest tournaments into something they are not. Its not appointment television to watch the US Open or the Masters or anything like that, because its all damn day. Its not a real thought to expect people to tune in all day for that.
But, lets extrapolate out.
What are our best events. Wakeboard head to head. Night Jump. Night Slalom?
It comes down to, we think, distilling our sport and our tournaments into a "finale"
Jump Off, Slalom Off, Wakeboard Off, Beat Off, Skurfer Off, etc.
And this is maybe not, again, mega real TV, but, something that can be packaged and sold/promoted/broadcast on something like regular espn or any number of streaming only channels.
And for that matter, whats to say there isn't a USA Waterski TV channel that is, say, youtube only or Apple TV or something like that???
Point being, Mastercraft and the X-Games have given us a treasure map, so to speak, a trail route that we can take or not at our own volition. Something we can...and by we I mean, the royal we. Someone, or something, or some entity can take this idea and RUN with it.
Every element in the world that we need to make something to take to the masses is allready here, in your bindings, in your computers, in your brains, in our talent pool out there allready!
Our boy Marcus Brown is doing something out of the box with Flow Point, and its a start, but to get people around their TV's and/or their computers, its going to take an extrapolation of what we saw on Saturday and we are so excited to see that come to fruition.
Because on a small spectral scale, we had people who knew nothing about nothing watching it and enjoying it. Imagine if it became a thing and people kinda knew about it more, they would tell their friends and they would tell their friends and next thing you know, we could be as big as mens tennis!!!