When is the last time you saw a rider that truly inspired you? What was it about that rider that made you feel that way? Was it their look, style or overall appeal? Well, I am about to introduce you to the world’s next big thing in cable wakeboarding, an individual who can inspire us all to be better riders, friends and, in the end, better human beings. Although this kid is only 15 years old, he is a role model to our community and, without a doubt, will have a major influence on the sport for years to come.
It’s still hard for me to believe it's only been three years since this kid stepped on a wakeboard. 24 Hours a day, seven days a week this kid is constantly improving himself. I mean, who else do you know that rides a solid five hours a day and follows it up with three hours of soccer practice, while still maintaining straight A’s in school?! Not to mention Chandler is always rocking a positive attitude, bright smile and a big heart. With his signature moves, double taps and unforgettable style, Chandler Powell is destined to become a household name and a strong influence in the cable and wake community. With that being said, let's get on with the interview…
WW: Chandler, why do they call you "man-baby" and who started that?
CP: I got that name because I was only 13 or 14 years old and already bigger than most of the riders. I was told that I "look like a man, but I’m still just a baby" by the McCormick’s riders.
WW: What got you started in wakeboarding and how long have you been doing it?
CP: One year I went to Surf Expo and saw the rail jam that was going on there and I figured out that I had a cable practically in my backyard.
WW: Where do you usually ride?
CP: I ride out at McCormick’s every chance I can. It’s my second home! In the summer I ride out there so much I pretty much live out there.
WW: Do you ride boat at all or strictly cable?
CP: As of now strictly cable, but I’m looking for more opportunity to ride boat.
WW: Who are your favorite riders and who do you ride with?
CP: I look up to Tom Fooshee and Diego Shaw. They kill it and are great role models off the water. Lately I’ve been riding more with Julian Cohen and Chad Worrall, but I ride with my McCormick’s cable family all the time. They’re always there to give me a hard time and have fun.
WW: What has helped you progress so fast over the last two years?
CP: Three operators at McCormick’s, Kyle McCutcheon, Jon Dickey and Andrew Proses, taught me all the basics. Without those three guys I don’t think I would be anywhere near where I am now. During the summer I would show up at the cable the minute they opened and my "coaches" would tell me the tricks that I needed to learn next. I’d work on those tricks until 7:00 PM when they closed the park. They taught me that it's safer to learn the basics and work my way up as opposed to just skipping to big tricks. Plus, it makes it easier to learn the bigger tricks if you have a solid foundation. Probably the biggest reason is the family atmosphere among the riders at McCormick’s, which keeps me motivated and pushes me to learn as much as I can.
WW: We are starting to see you in more contests and videos lately. Where will we see you next year?
CP: I’m hoping to compete in as many pro contests as I can. A trip to Abu Dhabi for Worlds wouldn’t be so bad either!
WW: So what do you do outside of wakeboarding?
CP: I just started my high school IB program and it is a lot of work, so my schedule is packed right now. But I also play on my high school soccer team and my club soccer team. Our club team travels to tournaments and we are ranked pretty high in the state. I’ve been playing with some of my friends on this team since I was 5.
WW: Dickey told me you have some strange pets. What do you have?
CP: I have two dogs, a ball python and a prairie dog. I love animals, and when I was little I would bring anything home – I remember a lot of snakes. Really, the prairie dog is awesome because he’ll actually play with my family and me when we bring him out of his cage. My favorite thing about him is that he thinks it’s his job to protect us from people who visit our house, especially Dickey, I don’t know what it is with that guy.
WW: Your dad told me you were a sponsored skateboarder when you were four. Really?
CP: Yeah, when I was four I was actually sponsored by the local skate shop, Airwalk shoes and Powell skateboards up until I was about 6 or 7 years old.
WW: Any wakeboarding sponsors yet?
CP: I am sponsored by Liquid Force and I am very thankful for everything they’ve done for me.
WW: Ok, so let's talk a little bit about your ladies situation? Do you have a girlfriend or any seniors looking to ask you to prom this year?
CP: Well, they don’t call me Man Baby for nothing…
WW: What is your most embarrassing moment?
CP: When I was younger I was taking judo classes and I was paired up with one of the other girls in my class for sparring. I accidently pulled out her fake ponytail and started to freak out because I thought I actually pulled out her real hair. I had no clue what to do.
WW: Anyone you would like to thank for helping you?
CP: My parents and grandparents, Liquid Force, Sean Carmichael, Chase Sellmeyer and Kanga Marketing, Julian Cohen, Mitch Johnson and my McCormick’s cable family.
WW: Finally, do you have any last minute words of advice for all the great people out there reading this interview or for up and coming riders like yourself?
CP: I don’t know the exact words, but there is a quote from Nelson Mandela that is amazing. It basically says that our deepest fears are not what we can’t do, but that we are capable of doing a lot more than we do. And if you strive to be the best, it encourages others to do the same. We should all try to be the best we can and enjoy it and don’t worry what anyone else thinks.