WW: Tell us about yourself?
AA: I am Andres Alijo, age 43, originally from Seville [Spain] and am co-owner of Xtreme Gene Wakeboard & Waterski in Cordoba, Spain. Along with my partners Matt and Debbie, we set up XG 12 years ago with a vision to create an amazing place to ride in Europe, which when we started was lacking in sites.
WW: Do you remember the first day you stood on a wakeboard?
AA: My friend’s girlfriend gave me an old Hyperlite board with the old style flip flop bindings and I thought, “WTF, this is awesome. I love it! How the hell can we get out of the water with this?” And then after eight days of trying we managed to get out of the water and I was hooked.
WW: Where do you usually ride?
AA: I usually ride at home because I haven’t found a better place all over the world, but I also love to ride in places like R.S.A. in Tom Kellerman´s Place in Knysna, South Africa, which is wonderful and I am heading out there again now.
WW: Is wakeboarding a hobby for you or more of a lifestyle?
AA: Not a Hobby at all for me. It is everything! Every day I focus on when I can get on the water and from that moment of the day where the only thing that matters is wakeboarding and then life becomes something wonderful. In December I had knee surgery and last week had my first ride of 2014 and absolutely loved it, but for me it is also work as we are running probably Europe’s biggest and most popular wakeboard camp, so guests and their boarding often take priority.
WW: Do you ride with a set crew of people or do you mix it up a little?
AA: I ride with a lot of different people, thanks to Xtreme, and I see lots of different riders coming to my place. I always ride with our coaches and guests too.
WW: What kind of boat do you usually ride behind?
AA: We have all Nautique boats for wakeboarding, so a 210 and 220.
WW: How about your wakeboard set up?
AA: At the moment, Liquid Force Watson and Shane boots, but thinking to change to some other, but not sure. Any suggestions?
WW: What do you enjoy most about wakeboarding?
AA: Well, everything! One more reason to feel alive, be with friends, wake up in the morning with something good in your mind, and it’s a constant challenge.
WW: What do you like to do when you’re not wakeboarding?
AA: Now that I am getting older, staying fit enough to ride is important to me so I take care of myself and I usually bike, ride and swim, especially since my knee operation, so keeping those sports up really helps my recovery. In addition, any other spare time I spend with my young son, but, of course, he rides too!
WW: Are there any tricks that you are working on or want to work on?
AA: Well, I’m old enough to keep what I have. Yes, before I got surgery I was trying KGB’s.
WW: What would your ideal day be like?
AA: Flat water, 30-degree celsius/86-degree Fahrenheit (luckily that is normal here), few friends, a day on the water followed by a BBQ and some cold beers and maybe a lady involved. :)
WW: Pro wakeboarders… who would be your top three and why?
AA: Definitely Raph Derome! He is bringing another vision to this sport and he is stylish and good behind the boat. Another rider for me is that Shota Tezuka, a really personal style. And I would like to mention a lot of others, but definitely Harley and, in Europe, I wouldlike to mention David O'Cohoim who definitely is pushing the European boat scene.
WW: Are there any spots that you are hoping to ride at one day?
AA: At the moment I like riding at home more than anything, but there are so many places I have not yet been, but hope to travel more in the future.
WW: Do you have any words of advice to those that are starting out?
AA: You’ll be addicted soon, but you will never regret it. It is an amazing sport with great people.
WW: Is there anyone that you would like to thank?
AA: Obviously, my partners, Matt and Debbie, who always support my riding and understand it is a way of life for me. Also, every single one of my friends I have ridden with.