Brad and Cory Teunissen
- Author: Nicola Butler
- Joey Meddock, Aaron Perkins and Bradley Rutledge
- Categorized in: Articles, Interviews, Pics/Video, Videos
It’s no secret that wakeboarding has been blessed with exceptionally talented families; the Bonifays, the Sovens, the Hansens and, now, Brad and Cory Teunissen. They are the newest and, arguably, most promising sibling duo to enter our sport.
Cory was the youngest person to ever land a 1080 and he hasn’t stopped there. At the tender age of sixteen he’s not only landing tricks that legends of our sport wished they were doing at his age, but he is doing it with his own style and grace that is unfathomable to most riders.
As for Brad, the older of the brothers, he’s focused on breaking away from his Junior Men days and making a lasting impression in his rookie year on the Pro Tour.
I wanted to know how these two plan to break out of the "Teunissen Brothers" mold and the key ingredient to each being successful in their own right. Is it rivalry or unrelenting support?
WW: Do you remember the first time you strapped on a wakeboard?
BT: My first memory was when my dad actually bought me a wakeboard and just came home with it one day like, "Here’s a wakeboard." I remember I slept with it that night.
WW: Slept with it in your bed?
BT: Yeah, I was in love with it! I woke up at like 5:30 AM the next morning before it was light and I was like jumping on Dad to get him to wake up and go out on the boat. I remember I was pumped that I got up first go and it took Cory like two or three tries to get it. (Laughing)
CT: I actually don’t remember any of that. I was too young. I remember seeing the photos and stuff, but I don’t actually remember being there.
WW: Growing up riding together, have you always felt a competitiveness between you two?
BT: Yeah, always.
BT: Not so much now…he’s too good. Growing up I remember the first time Cory beat me in a contest. It was the worst day of my life. I remember I got back and trained twice as hard and beat him in the next one until it kind of got to a point where he got too good. (Laughing)
CT: It’s like a different competitiveness though. We don’t try and go out and beat each other just to beat each other. It’s not like we hate each other at all, we just both want to bring out the best in the other.
BT: Yeah, we definitely wouldn’t be where we are without each other.
WW: How has your family, your dad specifically, helped push your riding?
CT: Very strictly. (Both laughing)
BT: Well, dad was a waterskier his whole life and it kind of started out as fun, but then we started getting good and Dad realized the potential in the sport. So like any dad would, he pushed us and it got to a point where it got pretty intense.
CT: For a couple of years it got pretty crazy, but, I mean, I guess it paid off.
BT: Looking back at it now we are glad that he pushed us the way he did because we wouldn’t be where we are today without him pushing us like that. And we still like to be pushed by him even now. We need it now and then.
WW: Does he still push you from Australia?
BT: Oh yeah, he will call us 10 times a day like, "What tricks are you working on?" (Both laughing)
CT: But it’s more self-pressure now.
BT: Yeah, he’s definitely taken a seat back, so that’s good.
WW: What about your mom?
CT: Mum was never really involved on the wakeboarding side of things. Dad’s pretty much a wake fiend, like just loves it, and then Mum just like covers everything else.
BT: Well, yeah, Mum was always there for us when we were upset or she’d be the first one to congratulate us, but she never really got into the wakeboard scene. She’s just in our lives and loves watching us ride and all that stuff, but she’s not really in the scene. It’s good to have that.
WW: Who do you mostly ride with and how do you think having a solid crew helps progress your riding?
BT: In America, it’s usually just me, Cory and Aaron Gunn. Aaron is usually a cable rider, but he has been riding boat a lot lately. I feel like the three of us together is a good crew because we all know what tricks we need to learn and how to push each other. At the same time, going to ride with other people like Raimi and Robbie and Tony and all the other juniors is good for inspiration.
CT: When it’s back home, it’s a bit different because everything is like an hour away. Pretty much, it’s just Brad and I. But now we’ve just moved super close to Harley, so we ride with him a lot back home.
WW: What are your specific goals for the 2014 season?
CT: For me, I want to win the Malibu tour. That’s my main goal. I just started working on a video part with Chris O’Shea and Union Magazine, so I want to put a lot of effort into that. Just work on my cable and hopefully do some cable events and just become a better rider overall.
BT: Same with me. It’s my first year as a pro, so I really want to try to make an impact as much as I can in my rookie season. Just do well in all the contests as well as filming a bunch and putting out good video parts. Just help support and promote my sponsors as much as I can and just have fun really.
WW: Cory, what were your feelings when you learned that they pulled the Junior Pro Men from the tour?
CT: Um, I mean, I get why they did it, like, to make the Pro Tour more prestigious, but for me the Malibu tour kind of stepped up. It’s still the same amount of contests and it’s still the same division, so it hasn’t really bothered me, but I get that other people would be disappointed or have their own opinion about it. It hasn’t really made that much of a change for me.
WW: Do you guys enjoy spending the season here in Orlando or do you miss home a lot?
BT: It comes in waves. The first month back we are just super excited to see everyone after being at home for six months. It’s good to see all our friends again and it’s so much easier to wakeboard here. The first month back we always improve so much because we are riding so often and it’s all positive and then after a month or so, maybe two months, it just starts to sink in and we get a little homesick. We miss our family and friends and miss the food and just miss everything about home really.
CT: For me I miss surfing a bunch. Haven’t surfed in ages. I want to go surf so bad! (Laughs) But yeah, like Brad said, wakeboarding takes up a majority of our time and we just start to go through the motions while we are here.
WW: Do you miss Orlando when you are back in Australia?
BT: Orlando is probably the worst. When we are in Orlando we miss our family and friends back home, but then when we are home we miss Orlando just because of wakeboarding. It’s so hard to wakeboard back home; the wake’s smaller, it’s salt water, it’s not as good weather. The boat take’s a good hour to set up just to go out.
WW: You talked about it a bit earlier, but how often do you guys ride cable and how do you think it helps your boat riding?
CT: We’ve been riding cable every day pretty much.
BT: Well, we’ve been living with Aaron and, in my opinion, he’s one of the best cable riders right now, so it’s good to go to the cable every day and watch him ride. It definitely makes us improve. For me, I don’t want to be just a boat rider or cable rider. I know a lot of people are, but for me doing both expands your riding and puts you in two different markets of the sport.
CT: Pretty much. I think the sport is going in the direction now that you kind of have to do both. If you do want to be successful in the next five years or so, you definitely have to be good at both sides. For us, we’ve surrounded ourselves with some of the best cable and boat riders and I think it’s definitely improved our riding.
BT: Every time I go to the cable I run out of the car, grab my wristband and just race to the dock. It’s just like -
WW: Like the first time you got a wakeboard?
BT: (Laughing) Exactly. I even sleep with my wristband on. (Everyone laughing)
(Pause for sirens)
BT: This is a typical thing to hear at the house every day. Just living this close to the hood. OBT sirens every day.
WW: If you could pick one dream sponsor, what would it be?
BT: For me it would definitely be Red Bull.
WW: Like anything? Even outside the industry.
BT: Yeah, still. They are just such a cool company. Cory is sponsored by Red Bull and I’m friends with all the people that meet with Cory and they are just such a great community. Not only that, they are such an amazing company. Doing things like the World Run and just pushing every single sport. Every single Red Bull athlete I can think of is always doing something insane whether it’s crazy photo shoots or just events, so, yeah, I think Red Bull would definitely be the dream sponsor for me.
CT: Probably a gas sponsor. I mean, gas is so expensive now so that would pretty much half the cost for wakeboarders.
WW: That brings me to my next question; what are some downsides to being a pro wakeboarder that people don’t really know about?
BT: Gas. (Everyone laughing)
WW: You average 2-3 sets a day, so how much does that cost?
BT: About $60 here. You can’t ride three times back home.
CT: Oh, yeah.
BT: Back home it’s more than $8 a gallon, so it’s pretty damn expensive. Apart from that, I’d say the traveling gets pretty tiring.
CT: Yeah, living in hotel rooms.
BT: I mean, you love it and miss it when you are home for a while, but when you are on the road traveling and living out of a suitcase, it can get pretty tiring. I wouldn’t change that though. I love it, but at the time you just don’t think so.
WW: As siblings do you ever struggle with your identities? For instance, you both ride for Jetpilot and Supra, do you feel like the industry clumps you together or is it by choice?
BT: To start with, I think it was our dad. Like at the start, Dad would kind of sell us as a package.
CT: Like a buy one get one free! (Laughs)
BT: When we first started getting good and sponsors would approach us, Dad would just say, "Well they are both just as good as each other."
CT: That was definitely the case with Jetpilot. I think we signed with Jetpilot maybe 6-8 years ago.
BT: Oh yeah, ages ago.
CT: So yeah, they’ve been one of our first sponsors. Back then it was like, "Wow, a sponsor wants to approach us," so it was exciting.
BT: But now I think we are both going our separate ways. Like, Hyperlite approached me and I signed with them this year and Cory just re-signed with O’Brien. Other sponsors like Red Bull approached Cory and that was a big thing for him, so I think sponsors are definitely starting to see us as two different identities in the sport. It’s not just ‘The Teunissen brothers’ anymore.
CT: We only really have two of the same sponsors. Jetpilot we have been with forever and Supra like three or four years now.
BT: Feels longer than that though.
CT: Yeah, it does.
BT: Supra is just as much a family as me and Cory are. They have me and Cory and then Trevor and Reed, so I think they are really big about family. That might be another reason why they sponsored both of us.
WW: Do you think Australians have a different mindset to Americans regarding wakeboarding?
CT: I definitely think so.
BT: Yeah, I think so.
CT: In Australia, everyone just worries about doing the hardest trick possible or just hucking themselves.
BT: Juniors for sure. It’s like, "Oh, I gotta land this trick." In America I feel like it’s more about grabbing your board and making it look good. That’s why the juniors coming over from Australia have trouble here.
CT: They just don’t have the American experience. All they know is just landing hard tricks and it doesn’t help that that’s what the judges look for in contests back home.
BT: Like doing whirlybirds and straight-legged 720’s.
CT: For contests in Australia that’s good, but then they come over here and do whirly 5’s and 7’s and 9’s and stuff. And then someone will go out and do a big grabbed heel 5 and it just looks so much better and they just don’t get the fact that style and making tricks look good is, like, the new way to go and what judges are looking for now. I feel like the more Australian juniors that come over and see that, the more it will start spreading back home.
WW: Describe one time that you felt famous?
BT: Mine was definitely when we were in the World Cup stop in Indonesia. Shota and I had just checked into our hotel room and walked down to the lobby and there was probably like 50 little kids waiting there with pens and paper and cameras. They just crowded us and we were swamped in this group for probably 30 minutes or so and it was just a really cool experience. Signing papers and taking photos. Just being a wakeboarder over there is such a big deal to them, so that was just really humbling.
CT: Mine was when I was flying down to Aaron Gunns place in Sydney this year. I rocked up just way over the limit for both baggage and carry on. I went up to the desk and the lady was just like, "Oh, are you Cory Teuniessen?" and I said, "Yeah, why’s that?" and she was like, "Oh my son is crazy about you. He watches all of your videos and keeps up with your contest results and stuff." So I was like, "Oh, awesome, thanks. So how much is it gonna be?" and she’s like, "Don’t worry about it, just go through," and I was like, "Really? Wow, that’s pretty cool."
Who has the most Instagram followers?
CT (@coryteunissen): That’s me! (Laughing)
BT (@bradteunissen): Yeah, Cory.
Who posts the better pictures though?
CT: No way! Definitely me.
BT: I spend a lot of time on my photos making them look good.
CT: Maybe a lot of time, but you still just post photos with the same filters like ten times in a row.
BT: That filter looks good though! (Everyone laughing) It’s a good looking photo.
CT: Okay, then.
WW: Who would you like to thank?
BT: Number one is my family! The support and love of my Mum, Dad and brother is what has got me through the hard times and where I need to be. Then also to my amazing sponsors like Greg Nelson from Hyperlite Wakeboards, who is always there to help me out! The whole family at Supra Boats has been amazing! Bret Nowell from BoardCo and Lyke Watches! And then Appsy, Dunny and Darren from Jetpilot! I have been with Jetpilot ever since I can remember and I could not pick a better company to ride for. I really appreciate everything my family and my sponsors have done for me!
CT: I would like to thank my sponsors, my family and friends and WakeWorld for this article.
There appears to be some underlying animosity between the two, but it is quickly covered with a laugh. At the end of the day, they are brothers and they support and push each other to be the best on and off the water. I don’t think we can be expecting a Cain and Abel type situation anytime soon.