Jump inside the mind of one of the best wakeboarders in the history of our sport. Erik Ruck has been around since almost the beginning and still brings world class riding to the table by not only winning a world title, but also helping progress our sport with double flips and a trick of the year award. Ruck has also been a part of the Pointless crew since they started and anyone who knows a lick about this sport knows that if it wasn’t for that crew of friends and riders, our sport wouldn’t be the same today. Get to know one of my all-time favorite riders a little more than you did before.
WW: Exactly where is your homeland?
ER: I live in Orlando, but I am from Twin Lakes, Wisconsin.
WW: Do you still remember that first time you picked up a board?
ER: For sure! A friend of mine got an HO Perez full on surf style. I was trick skiing a lot at the time and after that I was hooked on wakeboarding.
WW: When was it that you decided to move to Florida and do this as your job?
ER: Well, I would say after I saw the movie Spray. Wakeboarding was young, but really starting to evolve and it was just a really exciting time in the sport. I don't think I ever really looked at it like it was a job more or less just something I was supposed to do, like it was my calling!
WW: Has wakeboarding taken you to any places you never thought you would go?
ER: Oh yeah, Japan, Brazil, the Philippines. Those are just a couple of places. The great thing about traveling is going and seeing other cultures and other ways of life, especially when it’s a third world country or people with a simpler way of life and you see how much Americans take for granted! Like when we filmed Out of the Pond we were literally scouting spots in the middle of the jungle, walking through villages that had no running water. People lived in shacks, but were very happy and friendly and would help us out in any way they could and definitely never saw wakeboarding before. It just makes you realize what is really important and appreciate what you have!
WW: Can you tell us how the Pointless crew came about?
ER: Well, in short there was a group of us that just started riding and filming together, but it was more than that. We all shared the same vision of where we thought the sport was going. We were like brothers. We pushed each other on and off the water. I truly think that Pointless changed wakeboarding forever. I can still watch Incomplete from start to finish and it makes me want to get out and ride. One thing about the Pointless crew was that we partied hard, but rode even harder! We embraced every aspect of being a pro wakeboarder but it wasn't work to us. It was leaving a legacy.
WW: Do you have a Pointless story that you will never forget and you would like to share?
ER: There are so many ridiculous stories I could go on and on. There are crazy Masters stories, stealing golf carts and messing with the night security guards. Those were the days! There are Lake Alfred stories. That's where Parks and Shane grew up and I lived when I first moved to Florida. That is also where we filmed a lot of Incomplete and edited it. It was a real fun time in all of our lives. We were having a blast, but we took our riding and what our mission was very serious!
WW: What did that first world title feel like when you walked up on that podium?
ER: It was like a dream. I couldn't really believe it was happening. And to be riding against Parks, Murray, and Shapiro was just insane!
WW: Was there a rider that you looked up to when you were coming up?
ER: I always looked up to Byerly, Micker, Mike Weddington, basically all the guys from Spray and Hit It. Those two movies changed my life.
WW: Do you feel the sport is still the same as when you started? If not, where is it heading?
ER: Well, at a competition level it’s a whole new ball game. In some ways I think the evolution has been great and in some ways I think we have regressed, but that is just insider talk. When we do our Five Gallons of Freedom tours for Ronix and you get out with the people that are out riding because they love it and it’s pure fun and freedom, it’s exactly the same. I actually really like doing those clinics and demos because you can see the people that are buying boards and boats and truly paying our salaries and enabling us to live the lives that we live. And you see that what you do does make a difference. That’s what wakeboarding really is!
WW: When and what was the first pro model with your name on it?
ER: It was the Hyperlite ERA and it came out after I won Worlds.
WW: Any big differences from your first board and your current board now or do you still enjoy the same feel?
ER: Yes, there is a major difference in the board I'm riding now. I am riding the Phoenix Project from Ronix and it is a stored-energy board. Basically, a whole new way of looking a riding a board behind the boat and super versatile for all your park and cable needs. I love it.
WW: Which Tige boat are you riding behind this year?
ER: I'm riding behind the Z3. It's a new boat out from Tige. It's really sick! Tige has really been stepping it up and they have supported me for a long time! I started riding for Tige in 2000, so it's been a long relationship!
WW: Now I know you are a big music guy and even rock socks off yourself. Any music out there that inspires your riding at all?
ER: You know I used to listen to music to pump me up, but now I just listen to music that makes me happy, ‘cause if I'm in a good mood, that's all I need.
WW: Can we maybe expect some personal albums from you?
ER: One of these days I would love to get something out. I have a whole head full of music that really hasn't been heard, all post-Braided Funk, but I really would like to play music more than I get to!
WW: Any word of advice for all those young guns out there wanting to be like Erik Ruck?
ER: Yes, take wakeboarding serious, but not too serious! Ride how you want to ride. Trends are trends. If you stay true to yourself, you will stand the test of time!
WW: How about some shout-outs?
ER: Yeah, like to thank Ronix, Tige, Billabong, Jetpilot, Dragon, Honu and Performance Ski and Surf. Like to thank my Wife, Joi, and all the riders and people that keep growing our sport! Cheers!