Austin Hair gives us a quick look at a busy off-season via an interview by his buddy Bobby Blaschke.
BB: Tell us what you have been up to.
|Austin and will.i.am
AH: Well, just got back from Australia where it has been incredibly warm. Riding a couple different cables and boats. Then I come back to Orlando and wake up to 37-degree weather. That's just not right.
BB: What's the wakeboard scene in Australia like?
AH: Not having a pro tour really hurt them, but they've been able to do pretty well regardless. I went to Wake Wars and Pro Am, where I got podium in wakeboard and wakeskate. There were large numbers of people turning up to these events.
BB: You went to the Super Bowl. How was that?
AH: Actually, I didn't go to the Super Bowl game. I went down with Leonard Wheeler earlier in the week for some business and some pleasure. Did a lot of both.
|Austin and apl.de.ap
BB: What kind of business do you have at the Super Bowl?
AH: Leonard played in the NFL for eight years and currently serves on the board of directors and on the finance committee for the NFL Players Association. We have been working on some projects with some NFL partners involving wakeboarding. We are speaking with Leigh Steinberg about some things including our e-TV show. I had a great opportunity to meet a lot of great people and a lot of opportunities will come out of it. Being on the inside with the NFL at the Super Bowl is a whole other world. It is probably the biggest business networking event of the year. These are business, finance, sports and entertainment titans. It was unbelievable.
BB: I know you did a lot of video for WakeWorld last year at several events. It seemed to really evolve over the season. What are your plans for this season.
AH: We have some great ideas for taking this to another level and that is one of the reasons I was down in Miami. I've been working with Superlative Events Group to start an online TV series called "Check Out TV." This show is going to be high adrenaline and entertaining for everyone. We're going to be going to a lot of different events, capturing the essence of the city and working with a lot of different athletes and celebrities.
|Austin and Biz Markie
BB: I really liked the China Worlds video you did. It seemed to incorporate more of the lifestyle. Can we plan on seeing all the King of Wake events and World Cup this year on WakeWorld?
AH: We will definitely be doing some videos at events this year but I am not sure about KOW. I have hit a few roadblocks with that. We will be rolling out more info about "Check Out TV" as it progresses.
BB: What is the difference between, say, the Saturday night parties at a wakeboard event and an NFL Super Bowl party?
AH: The party organizers at the wakeboard events do a great job, but the NFL is huge and the Super Bowl is THE event. In the entertainment and business world the NFL is a 10. Everything they do is big. The people involved with it think at such a high level and they view everything with an open mind. You talk to them about an idea and if it is solid they will be willing to form partnerships and collaborate. To them it's an AND world, not an EITHOR/OR world.
|Austin and Fergie
BB: What do you mean about EITHER/OR vs. an AND world?
AH: The NFL and the business people involved view business as a bakery where helping you will make more pies. The more pies there are, the more pieces for everyone. The wakeboarding world has a tendency to view the world as one pie that contains all the money and if someone gets a piece then there is less for everyone else. You see it closed to just a few people and therefore limiting the opportunities to a select group. There's no one in particular at fault. It's just how its been for a long time.
BB: Were the people there stoked about wakeboarding?
AH: Those who knew about it. The ones that didn't, which was most, were stoked after I told them about it. Some of these people think there are some big opportunities with wakeboarding. They can't figure out why it is still such a cottage industry. The folks at ESPN had their opinion but I won't comment on that.
BB: Enough business talk. I saw the pic with Fergie. What was that about? What was the social scene like?
|Black Eyed Peas
AH: Well, we went down there with an open mind looking to promote the show and network. We got there on Thursday night where we went to an NFL Players red carpet party at the Viceroy. Normally, tickets are $1,100 IF you get invited. Because of my good friend Leonard, we had tickets waiting. This was a great experience to meet a lot of the NFL players and talk to them about their careers. Most of them are excited about what I'm doing and said they're willing to help out and do a segment.
The next night we went to Leigh Steinberg's party. If you're not familiar with him, Jerry Maguire was made about this guy's life. Here we met some key people at the athlete representation firm who are looking to break into action sports. Again, I can't say anything now, but be ready for some cool things.
Our friend at Davis Capital Group had rented a yacht for the entire weekend, not cheap. Saturday night we spent on the yacht with the Black Eyed Peas. We did a little bit of filming for their blog, which was fun. You would think that at the level of fame they have they would be pretty stuck up, but they weren't. Anyways, that was another great connection that's in the works right now.
The icons of the music and movie industry were all down there and it's amazing how many of them I got to meet.We actually went back home before the game started on Sunday, but either way I'd say it was one of the best weekends of my entire life.