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-   -   Definition of a "Pro Wakeboarder"?? (http://www.wakeworld.com/forum/showthread.php?t=782892)

Luker 08-20-2010 9:17 AM

Definition of a "Pro Wakeboarder"??
Lets get this debate off the Scott Stewart thread and move it here...

A pro is someone that regularly qualifies to ride on pro tour...

1...2...3... Argue :)

xistential 08-20-2010 9:22 AM

.......and somebody,somewhere is giving them some sort of money.

somebuddy 08-20-2010 9:34 AM

.....and they ride better than me

steezyshots 08-20-2010 9:44 AM

Someone who get's paid to ride. Pro tour has nothing to do with it in my opinion. Plenty of Free Riders are considered pro

cbk 08-20-2010 9:45 AM

x2 ^^^^^

theanimal 08-20-2010 9:48 AM

I dont know how it is now but back in my MX days if you were a pro moto-x racer you had a pro license from the AMA.
Is there any kind of governing body that determines who is and who isnt a pro wakeboarder???

cwb4me 08-20-2010 9:51 AM

but even the free riders have to have skills above and beyond average rider.you couldn't make a living getting free boards,bindings ,vests and ropes. oh and lets not forget sunglasses.you can't afford a boat,gas and insurance with free gear. thats not even a house or food or a car.i can't see someone making a living with free gear.

steezyshots 08-20-2010 9:56 AM

Of course a pro has to be good if he is a free rider. They have to sell their sponsors on the fact that they are good enough to get paid and not ride the tour.

Guys like
Mike and Nick Ennen
Chris O
Greg Nelson in his day

Have all been able to make a living and not ride the pro tour every weekend.

That's just the first few that come to mind, I know there are more

gnarslayer 08-20-2010 9:57 AM

Definition of a pro wakeboarder = Someone who freaking kills it!... yuhhhh.... Scott stewart for instance^^^ lol is deffinately a pro, he was totally shredding the gnar in that video.... Ben Greenwood is "pro" and doesnt ride contests, he just gets rad on his board. Gabe lucas is freaking gnarly and doesnt ride on the pro tour, but deffinately a pro....

if you kill it (720+ spins, gnarly grabs to flats, mobes, look super cool) = Pro Status


Luker 08-20-2010 9:58 AM


Originally Posted by steezyshots (Post 1624903)
Plenty of Free Riders are considered pro

by who?

I go back to my golfer argument from the previous thread... just because you're an amazing golfer and shoot 10 under every round doesnt make you a professional golfer.

Tiffanynfern 08-20-2010 10:04 AM

a pro is anyone who does something and gets paid for it. dont have to be great at it. i've meet some "pros" that aren't great but they promote the sport very well

stephan 08-20-2010 10:08 AM

So Luker, what makes a pro wakeskater?

gnarslayer 08-20-2010 10:10 AM


Originally Posted by Luker (Post 1624917)
by who?

I go back to my golfer argument from the previous thread... just because you're an amazing golfer and shoot 10 under every round doesnt make you a professional golfer.

are we talking about golf....no, it is completely different, no one is going to pay to watch a dvd of some "gnarly underground golfer" golfing to rad techno beats. but someone will deffinately pay for a dvd of the raddest "pro" freeriders in the world. pro in wakeboarding is deffinately different than pro in golf.

you should relate wakeboarding to something more similar such as skateboarding.... is rodney mullen not pro?

guido 08-20-2010 10:23 AM

I think you've gotta draw the line at someone that get's paid to ride. Whether you get paid by sponsors or by contest winnings if you aint got no other job, then you're a pro wakeboarder. How can you really argue that.....? If you aren't making a living riding, but you kill it, then you're just a really good rider. If you get paid, but can't support your lifestyle ("lifestyle" might be debateable), then you're a semi-pro rider. If you get free product, then you are sponsored, but are not pro.

Just my opinion.

behindtheboat 08-20-2010 10:27 AM

What about someone that is on a "Pro" team, like a board company calls them Jack Doe, Wakeboard Company Z Pro/Team Rider, but then that person opts to ride in Outlaw or Age division in contests?

kyle_L 08-20-2010 10:28 AM

a pro is a rider paid to wakeboard. randall Harris rarely rides in events and doesn't ride the tour and he is about as pro as they come. the best way to look at it is surfers. there are pro surfers who ride on the ct and qs and there are pro surfers who just go on trips and are paid just as much and sometimes more than the tour riders. Gator is still a pro wakeboarder even though he obviously doesn't ride the tour anymore and isn't as good as the guys now and the same goes for Byerly. the guys at the projects like Marc Rossiter *sp* and Nate Perry are definitely pros and don't ride the tour.

wakecis 08-20-2010 10:31 AM

i always though accepting money at a professional event automatically created pro status - isn't that how the olympics worked?

if you put 'wakeboarder' on your W-2 - you are a professional wakeboarder.

if you get paid to ride a wakeboard - you are a professional wakeboarder.
if you get paid for being involved in wakeboarding and ride really well - you are not professional.
if you ride at a pro level and dont' get paid - well, then you ride at pro level.

if you get paid 20k a year to wakeboard as your only job, well, you're a pro wakeboarder, just not all that good at it, being a professional that is, not wakeboarding.

i'd be more interested to hear which pros are full on wakeboarders and which have second or third jobs to make it work.

kristian 08-20-2010 10:32 AM

I always go by: If you can live off of what you get from wakeboarding as a rider, be it, in contest or not, you're a pro-wakeboarder.

wakecis 08-20-2010 10:37 AM

coupel people said it, AS A RIDER - money better be coming in because of your board skills. if it's board plus x,y,z that you do for sponsors, camps, etc to make it all work, that's a job. getting a photo in a mag doesn't change that. a job isn't a profession, and being really good at your job doesn't make you a professional.

Luker 08-20-2010 10:40 AM

Randall regularly rides the tour and is definitely a pro... Gator is not a pro wakeboarder... Byerly "was" a pro wakeboarder... Marc and Nate f*cking KILL it but are not professionals

JB..... a "pro" freerider? Can you really not see how that makes no sense?

Stephan... I don't know what to tell ya man hahaha wakeskaters are a different animal all together LOL

TelepromptedAnthems 08-20-2010 10:40 AM

This is a very complicated case, Maude. You know, a lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous. And, uh, lotta strands to keep in my head, man. Lotta strands in old Duder's head.

dbdb 08-20-2010 10:42 AM

I think CIE Evan's breakdown nailed it. Just my .02

bbsxkills 08-20-2010 10:44 AM

pro = you make a living off of the sport, whether you ride contests or not.

bbr 08-20-2010 10:45 AM

Don't forget that a lot of pros, that actually get paid by their sponsors still may not make enough money to support themselves and many have other jobs just to pay the bills.

Does that make them any less of a pro? I don't think so.

What about the guys that don't ride the tour, yet get paid for other things in the industry; like coaching? They are still getting paid to wakeboard.

wakemitch 08-20-2010 10:51 AM

Just because you are really good and sponsored doesnt mean you are pro. You have to get paid. In skateboarding there are so many AMs that rip harder than some of the pros but they still arent paid. They are in mags and in videos and get free gear, but they still arent paid. Its a big moment for a AM to move to Pro and usually involves getting a pro model. Its really clear when an AM makes the transition because of that.

gnarslayer 08-20-2010 11:05 AM

pro freerider makes perfect sense... people get paid to freeride and rep companies.... i dont see how thats not pro.... Sean Obrien? Kaeson Suyderhood? collin harrington? trevor maur? mike schwene? adam fields? robby carter? clay fletcher? jeff weatheral?..... those guys deffinately arent pro huh? cause i mean if your not on the pwt your not pro.... not!

wakecis 08-20-2010 11:09 AM

i'd be suprised to here that each of those guys gets paid to RIDE and don't have independent non-riding responsibilites that justify a salary.

Jeff Weatherhall is pro. he had an interview not long ago where he said he's tired of so many people claiming to be pro, people that never supported themselves riding.

wakecis 08-20-2010 11:16 AM

wakeworld interview: http://www.wakeworld.com/news/featur...eatherall.html

Jeff Weatherhall: "I consider being pro as meaning full time wakeboarding and getting paid! Seems like there's a lot of people out there claiming pro these days, but if you ain't getting a check, you ain't pro...so check yourself before you throw pro around."

gnarslayer 08-20-2010 11:52 AM

so sean obrien isnt getting a check from centurion and obrien? and collin harring isnt getting a check from lf? gabe lucas from cwb? adam fields from epic? i believe all of the riders i mentioned are getting checks and makeing a decent amount of money from wakeboarding even though they may need to do a little extra to help support themselves

alans 08-20-2010 11:59 AM

Just talked to Jeff a few minutes ago. He is riding in the WWA worlds tomorrow . If you don't think he is a pro, watch his First Hand on Fuel.

alans 08-20-2010 12:03 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Adam gets "Big" Checks. :)

andy_nintzel 08-20-2010 12:10 PM

I love watching these kinda threads. The term "pro wakeboarder" is a bit loose. I know a lot of kids that call themselves "pros" and all they do is teach lessons, based on riding ability I don’t think I would ever call them "pros". So if we use the basis of getting paid to wakeboard then I guess they are pro wakeboarers. I have been fortunate enough to make a good chunk of change over the years for riding my wakeboard and yet I have never called myself a pro, I just got good enough that I got some sponsors, have won some money here and there, and occasionally I actually will get paid to strap in. It’s really interesting to see what or who defines you as a pro, all my buddies say I am a "pro," but I don’t claim it. Maybe I am humble but to me there is a lot more lifestyle and skill level involved in being a "pro." Not just contest and qualifying for the tour. To me it comes down to sponsors, endorsements, video parts, skill level, and how involved in the industry a rider is. Maybe I am strange. IDK.

wakecis 08-20-2010 12:13 PM

i don't know. riders were losing their boats in the recession. top guys get boats and a few hundred a month from boat sponsors - that's what i've heard anyway. a lot of other guys buy boats at a discount (sponsored), sell them after a year, get a new discounted boat. as far as i know money doesn't just flow around in wakeboarding that easy. lot of people get strung along pretty good.

same article: The money is pathetic (PWT) and is a poor representation of how a professional sport should be. The pro surfers complain about the money they get paid, but at least everyone in the top 40 gets their expenses covered. 40 Or so guys show up for the Pro Tour and only three actually cover their expenses to even get there. It's a joke! I guess the Pro Tour is lucky there's a lot of kids with rich parents to fund them going along.

dococ 08-20-2010 12:29 PM

I think I stepped into a time warp and woke up in December. Crap, I hope somebody remembered to winterize the boat.

And did somebody suggest that Byerly is no longer a pro rider? That's funny.

alans 08-20-2010 12:31 PM

^^^^ Hahaha ^^^^ nice call

cwb4me 08-20-2010 12:32 PM

pretty much cie evan [guido] hit the nail on the head . i can't argue with that definition.

brhanley 08-20-2010 1:55 PM

Yeah, that is funny. Byerly is pretty much Exhibit A-1 of a "pro." Guy has made a living for 15+ years off wakeboarding/wakeskating, has a laundry list of sponsors and has developed his own "Byerly" brand within boats (Nautique), boards (Hyperlite), vests and shorts (O'Neill), handles (Accurate?), skate shoes (??), etc. Yet, I guess Lewis Link is more pro than Byerly because he has 28 points on the Pro Tour (no offense to him, I just picked a random name off the scoring total list). I think Evan's levels are pretty right on. In my mind, "pro" has very little to do with your riding skill (you just have to have a minimal competency vis-a-vis others, not necessarily pushing boundaries) and almost everything to do with getting flowed the benjamins from either contests and/or sponsors due to your riding/image/reputation/whatever.

jsweat 08-20-2010 3:42 PM

Luker come on bro. Both Ennen brothers don't do contests along with Benny G, Chris O, Jeff McKee, etc... so you are saying that these guys aren't pro. They make a living off of wakeboarding and are on their board sponsors pro team so for sure they are pro.

Randall and Ricky G hit a few contests but don't ride at a majority of them and they are for sure pro. You don't have to ride on tour to be considered pro, you just have to get paid for what you do.

wakedad33 08-20-2010 7:04 PM


Originally Posted by gnarslayer (Post 1624986)
pro freerider makes perfect sense... people get paid to freeride and rep companies.... i dont see how thats not pro.... Sean Obrien? Kaeson Suyderhood? collin harrington? trevor maur? mike schwene? adam fields? robby carter? clay fletcher? jeff weatheral?..... those guys deffinately arent pro huh? cause i mean if your not on the pwt your not pro.... not!

JB, Not to argue your point because I agree with you, but almost everyone on your list has ridden on the PWT at some point in their careers.

hayes 08-20-2010 8:23 PM

Pro Wakeboarder = Someone who's sole income comes from wakeboarding and rides in contests (at least one contest at some point in their career).

waterdork88 08-20-2010 8:32 PM

I guess there are different levels of "pro". Some pros can get by entirely on riding. Others need a second job. Others work somewhere not even related to wakeboarding and then might get some money from the pwt every once in a while. Yes, I think that someone that gets paid from it every once in a while is still a pro, just not on the same level as pro as somone that does it as a fulltime job.

There are a lot of definition but I like this dictionary definition "Professional- an expert player, as of golf or tennis, serving as a teacher, consultant, performer, or contestant."

craig_f 08-20-2010 8:36 PM

I'd just say its someone who makes a living off riding. Just like a Pro Photographer=makes most of the money off using a camera, or a Pro Accountant=makes most of there money off doing my taxes. Look at all the BMX/surf/skate/snow/(insert name of board-sport I'm not familiar with) athletes who do what they do for a living but don't compete for a living. Can't think of any wakeboarders that are pure "freeriders" but of you fill in the little box under "occupation" on your tax forms with wakeboarder, than you are a pro.

bwags500 08-20-2010 8:38 PM

a pro is someone who gets paid to ride but there are more on then one kind of pro, some are competition riders who make all there money from that. others just have sponsers who would have their parts in videos and stuff along those lines like sometimes a team will send a pro rider from there sponserd team to go ride with the marinas team so there are definatly differnt categories of pro riders.

08-21-2010 12:03 AM

Anyone can ride on the "pro-tour" at least in the beginning, all you have to do is pay for the entry fee, POOF! you're pro? Seriously go try. In the last couple of years, there are some qualifications to surpass in order to ride on the later stops. My point is that if wakeboarding were a big sport like golf that was decided by a clear cut system like counting strokes, then I could see some people's point. The fact of the matter is that it's a subjectively judged sport in a small industry. So, many of the people that we consider core, style(y), or freeriders whatever you want to call it, are actually riding on private lakes, even in gated communities, trust me I've seen it. Many of our idles are trust fund babies. What you have to ask yourself is, is this person riding well? Are they going big? Are they doing technical moves? In order to make a living riding you have to be WELL known or RICH, otherwise you're scraping by at BEST. What a trivial thread, wakeboarding has as much street-cred as polo or farting in poor people's mouths.

dococ 08-21-2010 1:42 AM

^^ Uhh... OK then.

Wow, this is all so complicated. Who knew?

How bout this: Whoever first can explain it in the form of a haiku will be declared the official winner, and we can put a fork in this beeyotch.

xistential 08-21-2010 3:05 AM

With reference to some "guys that are definitely pro but don't ride the tour" Going on the tour is expensive. If you did not have a sponsor who is paying your travel, if you or your parents are not reasonably well off (parents more likely), and you have absolutely zero chance of making finals, would you go? Probably not!!
I mentioned this before on here. I know the prize money for women is a lot less but they are still considered pro's. The prize money has dropped $1000 in the past 2 seasons,so if you go to,say Reno from Orlando, and don't actually win,you pretty much break even. IF YOU PODIUM!!So what is the point of going if you really cannot afford it? If you are not making at least semis is anybody noticing you?
I used to go to all the tour stops and always used to think when I saw all the usual 1st and 2nd round casualties,how in hell do these guys afford it. All "pro's" I might add. If somebody is prepared to sponsor you but not prepared to pay your travel and competing is not mandatory, and if you have no chance of even semis, are you not better off skipping the tour and exhibiting and pushing your talents within wakeboarding in another direction? Some of the aforementioned guys on here do that already.

Just my 0.2 cents

baitkiller 08-21-2010 5:28 AM

Hey Doc, try this:

He gets paid to ride.
He is a professional.
I am not a pro.

nuckledragger 08-21-2010 6:07 AM

Take the definition of the word professional in its truest form. Matches what most on here are saying.

pro·fes·sion·al   /prəˈfɛʃənl/ Show Spelled[pruh-fesh-uh-nl]: undertaken or engaged in as a means of livelihood or for gain: professional baseball.

daveronix199 08-21-2010 6:41 AM

Being a pro there are a few characteristics in my mind.... Attitude is the big one... If you think your rad and have a big head I think your a dick. Professinalism comes from being able to talk to the young guns and fans with out having the attitude of "I'm doing this to make my sponsors happy" ... Also to be pro you got to be able to drop hammers you don't need to be banging out the gnarlyest trcks but enough to " wow" people who know wakeboarding or don't know anything about it. Contest don't prove who's pro and who isn't... They prove a totally different point of riding and that's confidence and consistence... Where " free riding" is all about fun and that's why we all do this sport just because your not at a contest trying to link the biggest moves in your bag your at home riding butter doing big stylish melon 3's

Just my .02

adam_balon 08-21-2010 11:18 AM

any rider who is making any sort of income off of wakeboarding from a brand or industry related sponsor. pro tour doesnt mean ****.

jsweat 08-21-2010 2:16 PM

i agree with adam

georgi 08-21-2010 11:00 PM

There are two answers.

A pro could be a person who's getting paid for riding. That makes possible doing it for the money first. Not for the fun, love, whatever. I hate such "pros".

A pro could be a person, that contributes to the sport. A person with big knowledge and big heart, that inspires others and helps them. A Yoda for wakeboarders. Everybody loves such pros.

adam_balon 08-23-2010 12:05 PM

a "yoda " for the sport is more of an ambassador not a pro.

dococ 08-23-2010 12:23 PM

Ahh... fun with semantics.
I cannot believe so many smarties and only one haiku.

holmes 08-23-2010 1:14 PM

Man, u guys can nickle and dime something to death...don't hammer me, I'm just an old boat driver with a bit of grey hair. I beleive the "Pro" status would be very similar to golf. We have all seen the high school player who declines winnings to retain their amature status. "Tournament Pro", on the pro tour and earnings primarly derived from wakeboarding. "Wakeboard Pro", ambasador of the sport, lessons, won events, whatever. I have definately called a few young guys we have ridden with "Pro", not on the PWT, but their riding, willingness to teach, and their amazing ability to charm their way onto my boat for free, makes me want to label them with a little status!
How can u not call a guy Pro if a board company thinks enough of the rider to offer free equipment. It's not a lifetime designation! Enjoy the stuff, some winnings, and the title...JB, PRO WAKEBOARDER!

wakesurf12 08-23-2010 1:34 PM


somebuddy 08-23-2010 1:45 PM

Classic. Nate Bozung was a grade younger than me in high school. Who knows where he is now.

alevitt 08-23-2010 2:35 PM

You want to know where Nate Bozung is now? Basically in the gutter; pretty sad and depressing


somebuddy 08-23-2010 2:51 PM

Yeah I also saw that after clicking on his name. That sucks man, he threw away so much talent and opportunity. Sorry for getting a little off topic everyone.

dococ 08-23-2010 8:27 PM

Riding for the love.
But I also need to eat.
Hope my knees don't break.

See? It's easy.

poon 08-23-2010 9:24 PM

A professional wakeboarder is someone who wakeboards for a living. Their job is being a wakeboarder. They get paid and make their living that way. Pro's don't need to be on the Pro Tour to be a pro wakeboarder. Look at the surf and skate world.... there are a ton of pro's that don't touch contests but still make a pretty good living.

hyperlite 08-24-2010 5:36 AM

Thank you arun. Couldnt have said it better. Now can we end this rediculous thread.

bmartin 08-24-2010 11:42 AM

Its pretty easy to define the extremes of pro non-pro. A wakeboarder that earns his living (rent, equipment, pocket money) from wakeboarding is a pro and reallly is not debatable. A guy like me that never earned a nickle wakeboarding and never entered a tourney at the 'pro' class is not a pro. Its gets kind of fuzzy when you throw in local or the lower tier national sponsorships where there might be some free gear, soft merchandise, and or maybe even some money to ride in a tourney and a few small checks for an ad or two but not enough to pay rent. Also some non-sponsored riders who get through a couple rounds at a national pro tournament but do not earn a check might be a pro in the eyes of some.

Bottom line is most riders will know a pro-rider when they see one. The riders that are truly pro-riders will not worry about if someone calls them a pro or not. Only the pro want-a-bes will spend much time talking about their 'pro' title.

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