Robert Sichel is a class act perfectionist both on and off the water. When he’s on his board he has the ability to make everything look easy and better than you could ever hope to do yourself. It could be from riding with Ben Greenwood all the time or it could be the fact that he puts his life and devotion into the sport of wakeboarding every day.
Off the water he is the definition of a professional without a mean bone in his body. Robert was born and raised in northern California, but now calls The Wakeboard Camp in Florida his home. Whether it’s boat, cable, winch or PWC, Bob does it all and does it well. He recently landed one of the only double indy tantrums off a double up and I don’t think his progression will stop there. Get to know Robert, the Californian, or Bob, the Floridian, in this week’s featured rider interview.
WW: Bob, explain yourself.
BS: My name is Robert Sichel, I am 23 years of age and was born in Santa Rosa, California. I lived in California ‘til I was 17 and then made the move to Florida. Now I get to work and ride out at The Wakeboard Camp every day, which is a dream come true!
WW: Do you remember when you started riding?
BS: The first time I got on a board was around 2001 and it was a directional Shapiro board.
WW: Where were your stomping grounds when you were really getting into the sport?
BS: Lake Sonoma, Lake Mendocino, Lake Berryessa, Lake Shasta, Lake Pillsbury and Villa Lagos out in Red Bluff, CA. We were always weekend warriors.
WW: Who was your favorite wakeboarder when you were coming up?
BS: Keith Lyman…Benny G. was right there too! The first wakeboard video I bought was My Side because those two guys were in it!
WW: Did you have a crew that you rode with back in California?
BS: Not a big crew. Our family would sneak out during the week a lot and I would make the hour drive to ride on Mendocino every once in a while to ride with Blake Cannon.
WW: Do you enjoy doing any other sports?
BS: Yeah, skateboarding and snowboarding are always fun. I like basketball too, but I'm not very good at it.
WW: What's the story with you and The Wakeboard camp in Clermont, Florida?
BS: The story is pretty long and is still ongoing (haha). My dad and I attended the Camp in 2004 as campers and did the week-long stay. We had such a good time, after that I had to keep going back! I must have gone back for three or four times before my dad got a house in Florida. Then in 2006 he bought the camp.
Since 2006 I think it’s safe to say I have really been able to live the dream! I've got to work and ride out at the camp every day with (name drops) Benny G., Kyle Schmidt, Aaron Reed, Amber Wing, Hayley Smith, Billy Park, Clayton Underwood, Brandon Judd, Cason Lehman, Kurt Robertson, Jason Macarthur, Bo Burton, Kaesen Suyderhoud, Chris and Lucy Dunn, Joel Hillard, Rebecca Gange, Chad Lowe and many more of some really awesome people!
WW: Did you find yourself progressing at a quicker rate from being at the camp every day?
BS: Yes! Haha! The camp has everything you need to get better; trampoline, boats and the best coaches in the world. When I went to The Wakeboard Camp for the first time in 2004, I was a heelside hero. On my first day at camp, I learned to jump the wake toeside (Ben was my coach). Six years later I tried my first double flip on the camp trampoline, and then went right out on a camp boat (the blue boat) and tried my first double indy tantrum off the double up (see video below)! I can't thank everyone at the camp enough for helping me over the years!
WW: Who became the new riding crew in Florida?
BS: Over the years, all the other names dropped have been the crew. The past few winters there have been a different crew (more name drops). Benny G. is always around. I have been getting to ride with Steel Lafferty a lot, which has been awesome because he absolutely rips! Kaesen Suyderhoud, Kevin Henshaw, Danny Harf, the Bone Crusher and many more of wakeboarding’s finest.
WW: What is it like riding with Ben Greenwood every day?
BS: It's awesome! He is the style master and only helps you progress your riding. There are so many good things to say. Ben and a few others have been like older brothers to me.
WW: When was that special day that you went from Robert to Bob?
BS: It was one night when everyone at the wakeboard camp had an evening get together and the plan was to cut my hair. It was during winter and Aaron Reed talked me into it. Not many of you know this, but I had long hair at one time (haha), really long. After that night, Aaron pretty much made Bob stick!
WW: Now, you are known for building some crazy towable creations. Where do you come up with these ideas?
BS: All the ideas come to me in the winter time, sitting around watching skateboard or snowboard videos with friends. Trying to think of things that have not been done before.
WW: You are also not just a boat guy. You shred the rails pretty hard. Do you have a favorite place to go get your jib on?
BS: All the cable parks are fun and Kevin always has some new fun rail. It’s hard to say what’s my favorite (haha).
WW: You recently made a sponsor change to Humanoid. How is that going so far?
BS: Humanoid is awesome. The first time I rode one I had the biggest grin on my face and instantly knew I didn't want to try another board. Not only are the boards really solid, but the team and all the people behind the curtain have really good ideas for the future!
WW: Are there any future plans we should be looking forward to with Humanoid?
BS: Oh yeah (haha)! We just signed Chris O’Shea to the team, which is awesome because he is hotter than Justin Bieber at the moment coming off Video Section of the Year! There are also going to be bindings and possibly new shapes for 2013.
WW: How does it feel to be the cover boy on the new Alliance?
BS: It’s pretty cool (haha)! It is one of the best feelings and biggest accomplishments for myself!
WW: Music check. Top five songs from your "most played" album in iTunes.
BS: The Grouch, Coming up; The Grouch, Breath; Cage the Elephant, Ain't No Rest For The Wicked; Manchester Orchestra, Virgin; The Naked and the Famous, Punching in a Dream.
WW: Have you ever been anywhere you never thought you would be if it wasn't for wakeboarding?
BS: There are a few waterways between Florida and Texas that I got to ride on during a winch trip with the Shredtown crew, Kaesen Suyderhoud and A.J. Racinelli that I know I would have never gone in or to if it wasn't on that trip…like fountains at night.
WW: If you could go anywhere to ride right now, where would it be?
BS: Well, it is supposed to be warm over in Australia. I'd like to go there to ride the boat and some of their new cable parks. I'd also like to go to Europe to ride all of their cables and System 2.0’s.
WW: Anyone you would like to thank out there?
BS: I'd really like to thank my dad and family, as well as everyone at The Wakeboard Camp over the years (Benny G., Kyle Schmidt, Aaron Reed, Amber Wing, Hayley Smith, Billy Park, Clayton Underwood, Brandon Judd, Cason Lehman, Kurt Robertson, Jason Macarthur, Bo Burton, Kaesen Suyderhoud, Chris and Lucy Dunn, Joel Hillard, Rebecca Gange, Chad Lowe, Marcos Torres, Jamie Brooks, David Stubbs and many others), Performance Ski & Surf and Humanoid Wakeboards!