Imagine for a minute that it is the warmest week of summer. You and two or three of your closest friends are out on the lake at about five o'clock in the afternoon and you all have just finished one set each and are resting. The music is lightly bumping in the background while you talk about...whatever. The sun is in that part of the sky where it is not straight up nor is it sunset just yet. You have your amber tinted Oakley Oil Rigs on and everything looks better than real life. You know that warm and fuzzy feeling you get in moments like that? As if there really isn't ANYTHING better in life than being in that situation at that time? There is nothing better than that vibe.
Feeling that warm and fuzzy vibe comes from much more than just ideal locations, equipment and conditions. It also has A LOT to do with who you surround yourself with. Everyone has been in that position where you have "that guy" on your boat that just kills everyone's vibe. Wakeboarding should be a buddy sport, something that creates bonds.
I have been so lucky during my career to come across some great people. Not just awesome riders, but just good human beings. Being surrounded by people like that has helped my riding as well as soul. I don't care if you are a pro rider or not. I only want to be with "brothers" when I am out on a boat riding.
Some of the best riders in the world (in my eyes) are the riders who can absolutely throw down and are still normal, down to earth people off the water. Surround yourself with positive, motivated and considerate people and you will see how much further you can take your riding.
Here are some of the people I choose to surround myself with. These are my friends first, riding buddies second. You may recognize some of them and others you may not. I don't need to ride with other pros to further my riding. All I need to do is to surround myself with friends. Consider doing the same this season.