WW: Let's start with some stats…Name, age and where do you reside?
SS: My name is Sasha Suchkov, I'm 26, and I'm from Moscow, Russia.
KS: We are twins so all the same, but my name is Kolya and 15 minutes plus to his age.
WW: For how many years have you been wakeboarding?
SS: Our mother bought our first wakeboard about 10 years ago. It was Watson 136 and I think it was the only wakeboard in Moscow at that time. First two years we rode about 10 times at all because we didn't have anything to pull us on our lake where we have country house. Then our parents bought 30 hp engine for the little boat which our mother found somewhere. So from that time we spent all our time in any weather on that boat with our crew; Boris, Vanya and our cousin Sereja. Everybody rode this only board till it is ice on the lake. We were doing backrolls with this wake, but never kept a handle. The only trick I've made was wrapped heelside backside 360. I've made special handle for wrapped tricks by myself as I saw on videos.
In 2004 we got 25 feet cruiser with two rooms inside and free gas for all the year. That was the craziest time. We spent 150 liters of gas every day. The wake was so huge that we broke our first board right away trying to make wake to wake and landing on the second wake. I've learned first tricks behind that boat. Then we had Rob Struharik 142 board and 137 Fish. Now I'm sponsored by J-star, so we don't change boards often and have one board for both of us. I still ride my old boards.
KS: I'm not sure it was 10 years ago, but what I am sure about is that it wasn't the only wakeboard in Moscow, as we chose among different boards and it was our father who bought us the board for our birthday. The other is true. When we got the boat, in few years we rode only in our country house place. We did not know anyone else who wakeboard except our crew. We didn't know that in Moscow and other cities some clubs started to set up and even some contests were organized We were not interested in that, and why should we if have a lake and a boat in front of our house?
WW: Who introduced you to the sport of wakeboarding?
SS: When our mother bought her windsurf, she took all the brochures of all the goods in the shop. And we were looking through that catalogs and saw the LF catalog with riders on rails making crazy spins and flips. That looked totally different and much more interesting than waterskiing, windsurfing and other sports we could do on our lake.
Then when we bought a board, we recognized one of the riders in the catalog, as he had the same name as our board. That was the first name we learned in wakeboarding and I was really happy that I had an opportunity to hang out on the boat with Shawn this summer for some days.
When we got the board, we didn't know how to stand up from the water and what to do on the board because it was difficult to understand without a video what trick the guys on the picture were doing and how are they were doing it. By the way, I stood up from the water on my third attempt and was able to do little jumps, tailpress and frontslide on the wake.
So the second introduction, which turned our minds upside down, was when Boris bought a video called Shaft. When we saw the first section of Greg Necrason doing Ralys and his elephants, we couldn't believe that it is possible to do such things. Of course, we learned all the guys on the video as we were watching it every day for many times. This video is classic for us as well as Monkey on a String because we were learning how to do tricks watching these videos.
KS: I remember that I saw wakeboarding on TV first. It was some 30-second video on sport channel news. I thought that this is the same as snowboarding, but on the water where you can do flips, spins and some trick that was translated as Superman into Russian - it was a Raley. I was impressed.
Only maybe a year later or so we saw the catalog that my brother told about. That time we could make some spins and flips on snowboard and I thought at that time, “Hey, if we get that board we would be able to do all the same and even more because it is not scary to fall in the water. It is soft and doesn't hurt.” After few hard falls, I was like, “How is it possible that it hurts so much when you crash into the water.”
WW: Where do you usually ride?
SS: For the last three years I usually ride in Moscow. Sometimes we ride in our country house place. We ride there with our friend Leha on his boat. I like to ride there because it’s just lake there and nothing else, not much boats and people. In Moscow I usually ride with our friends Max, Leha, Kostya, (scyscraber) or Slava and his girlfriend Tanya. And I am really thankful to all of them for that
KS: We don't have our own boat right now. That's why we ride in different places, but I hope we'll buy one sometime. Maybe when we get really old! By the way, the boat here in Russia costs twice more than in U.S. thanks to custom taxes. The cheapest 22-foot boat would cost $100,000.
Another place where we like to ride is our friend's place located just 20 minutes car ride from our country house. His name is Sasha. It seemed to me he is the most hospitable man in the world! All the time you visit this place you are invited for a dinner, then you can jump on a trampoline practicing some tricks. The main thing is that his boat is all the time ballasted and the wake is huge whenever you come there.
WW: Is there a bit of a wakeboard scene going on there?
SS: Yes, there are some real good riders; Nikita, Anton, Gosha, Bombini and some rookies. This year my friend Potya introduced the first Russian wakeboarding video. He included all pros who visited our country during the last five years. He didn't managed to include the best Russian riders because he was only able to film just our crew, but still it looks really awesome and beautiful. Never thought to see all these guys riding and to be on one video with them either. Featuring: Darin Shapiro, Dean Leavelle, Shaun Murray, Ricky G, Keith Lidberg Tom Eilis, Ryan Hedstrom, Oliver Delefortrie and Quentin Delefortrie. First time it is always not easy to do such projects. Sponsors are not interested in it, so I wanted to name companies who are not afraid to support wakebording here. It’s Centurion Boats, J-star Wakeboards and Grindwater wakesurfers.
I know how it is hard to find sponsors for such things, because we were making Wake World Russia Cup in 2007 and 2008 and for the first time it was really hard to find sponsors for that. In 2007 we didn't have any wakeboarding companies in sponsors. In 2008 only Centurion Boats supported us.
Before 2007, contests in Russia were like, you come, pay money to take part in it and then if you win, you get some stuff for that. And as we have guys who ride better than me, it was just like I came and gave my last money just to ride some little wake. So we decided to change it with the Wake World Russia crew.
First of all, we invited Shaun Murray. Also, we had Dean Lavelle, Darin Shapiro (he didn't ride because of his back injury) and some guys from Europe. We put two tons of additional ballast into the boat and made the pass longer. Also, we didn't cancel points if they fall like it was on other Russian contests. So guys could go big and risk more, try something sick.
I want to thank our friend Tom Ellis who was main judge on both contests. Participation in the contest was for free. Even insurance of riders was for free for them. And every wakeboarder could participate in the same contest with pros. We have some guys who were riding the third time in their life.
Also we had many sexy go-go girls dancing. They really helped us a lot in 2007 because the weather was so bad that people wanted to go home before they began to dance. So in 2008, we had twice more girls. And the most impossible thing for Russian contest was $10,000 cash prize. Actually we didn't earn anything from that. We earned $2000 for all our crew and went have some rest on south of Russia. Now my dream is to make some big double up contest here.
KS: Nothing to add here. Wakeboarding is growing in Russia. A lot of changes each year, new cable parks are being built, big contests are made. It is interesting to watch it all growing from the beginning.
WW: What do you enjoy most about wakeboarding?
SS: Well I even don't know how to say it. I just enjoy it. I like learning new tricks, not for the contest, just for new feelings. I like even when my friends are learning new tricks. It’s cool to see them happy after this and its cool to meet on the boat with them. I like to go as big as possible, like to do double ups really much. But still, it’s not only this. For example, this summer me, Kolya and Vanya took our old 30 hp boat and were just riding around our old places where big boats can't ride and just doing 360’s and 180’s and that was so cool just to remember what it is all about. Just pure wakeboarding and nothing else.
KS: I remember when I first stood up from the water and realized that I'm riding on the water. I touched it. It was some kind of miracle for me. And I think I enjoy it all the time I'm on the water not even realizing that.
WW: What do you like to do when you’re not wakeboarding?
SS: In Moscow, the wakeboarding season lasts a maximum of five months, so in winter when it is snowing, we ride freestyle skiing and I enjoy it no less than wakeboarding. When wakeboarding season ends, I don't want to stop wakeboarding. When skiing season ends, I don't want to stop skiing. I really like to build kickers and jump in powder.
KS: If not take skiing and winter, I wouldn't say an exact activity that I do when not wakeboarding. There are many things I like to do. Sometimes I just like to chill and hang out with my friends.
WW: Do you have WakeWorld.com set as your home page?
SS: I don't know how to set home pages on computer. Actually, I still live in the 90’s and don't know how to use this future 21st century gadgets. I'd better live without cell phone. It make me nervous. :)
KS: The last time I used Internet before I started making this interview was about a month ago. Now I'm at my cousin's place because my brother took our laptop and he carries it in his car all the time. Wifi is broken at home, so I use this cyberpunk devices very seldom. But you know when I'm at the computer I visit WakeWorld.com and see what new and interesting is going on. I consider it to be the main wakeboarding website for me.
WW: Are there any tricks that you are working on or want to work on?
SS: I had an injury and after that had a fear of falling. Now I'm okay. I'd like to learn some tricks landing to blind and try some new things on double up. Yesterday I was trying a toeside 9 on the double up. Of course, I haven't landed it because I can't do even a 7. It seems for me that landing a 9 is easier than 7. :)
KS: I saw him trying this 9. So stupid. I would say it is better for him to say he tried 1080 because it was so far from 9. I'm trying to learn some mobes. I tried crow mobe and switch crow mobe, switch heelside mobe. Everything is close, but I never landed any of them. Now I'm progressing very slow. Before, it was easy for me to learn tricks. They were all easy. It took me a maximum of five attempts to do any new trick. The season is five months in Moscow, so each year I try to remember old stuff at first, then riding and getting comfortable and at the end of season I feel ready to learn new tricks. All the time it is not enough of wakeboarding season to learn and start from the beginning each year.
WW: What would your ideal day be like?
SS: Actually, I had it this summer. First of all, it should be hot. The hotter the better. We don't have much hot days in summer except this one. It was more than 40 degrees celsius. We were riding with our friends all the day on the lake at our country house on Leha'a 8.1 X-Star. I rode for about 4 hours 3 or 4 times. Then we were just chilling drinking beer, playing and singing Guitar Hero Metallica.
KS: That would be my ideal day too if they called me, but they left me in Moscow . Traffic jams, smoke, concrete and 40 degrees celsius. I can't say what my ideal day would be like because just to say that I would do this or that and here is my ideal day is not 100% true. Sometimes you get more fun or less fun doing exactly the same things, so I will understand what is my ideal day after it happens.
WW: Pro wakeboarders…who would be your top three and why?
SS: Well, all the guys from Shaft and Monkey on a String are my favorite. I just watched these videos every day for a long time. Also, I know some of them personally and all of them are really nice and easy going. So if you just consider riding, my favorite wakeboarder is Parks Bonifay. When I watch video with him it looks like he just rides and really enjoys it. After watching his sections I want to go ride right away. Also, I like to watch Darin Shapiro. All his tricks and his riding are totally different from others. Someone may not like his style of riding, but I think it’s cool that he has his individual riding. When I first saw his riding on Shaft, I thought that’s how wakeboarding should look like. And all our crew was trying to cut as hard as possible on the wake. Aaron Rathy because he had Holy Diver song by Dio in his section in Push Process :) and, of course, he rides and spins really cool.
KS: I would put Darin Shapiro and Parks Bonifay on the first place. Each of them were on the top from the beginning of their career, pushing the sport, inventing new tricks. I saw Darin riding this year and it was still great. Crow mobes landing far away from the wake and other Shapiro style stuff looking very easy. Also wanted to note Shaun Watson for his style that many riders want to copy and which looks completely different, especially on old videos.
WW: Are there any spots that you are hoping to one day ride at?
SS: Lake Powell. It looks like a really cool place on videos. Lake with rock walls around. Lake Baikal. It is in Russia, the deepest lake on earth. The water is so clean there that you can see the bottom of the lake when it is 10 meters deep. And scenery is beautiful there, a lot of wild places. And also I hope to ride on big ocean waves behind a Jetski sometime. That should be much fun and different from the boat.
KS: Lake Powell looks like a very beautiful place on videos. I hope I can visit this place and be able to ride there. Also, there are some places in Russia that I’d like to ride at. One of them is about 4000 km away and you have to go there with a boat because this place is wild and there are no boats there. The lake is situated in the mountains in the south of Russia. The lake is surrounded with white rocks. The water is as blue as in swiming pools there. Only white and blue colors everywhere.
WW: Any words of advice to those that are starting out?
SS: I think the main thing is to have as much fun as possible.
KS: I agree have fun
WW: Is there anyone that you would like to thank?
KS, SS: Well, I've already done it in my answers. My parents, our crew, O.P.A., WakeWorld Russia crew. Want to take an opportunity to say hi to Darin, Dean, Shaun Murray, Ricky G, Keith Lidberg, Tom, Ryan Hedstrom, Oliver and Quentin Delefortrie, Dan Nott, Shaun Watson, Spencer, Kyle Ratray, Lotta, Bomb and other riders who recognized me. Once again, thanks to Kostya, Leha, Max, Slava, Tanya, Sasha Korotkevich and Leha Makeev.
And going really back, there was a guy who introduced us to extreme sports. It’s our best friend, Leha Gerasimov. He died four years ago of some head disease. He showed us inline skating and snowboarding. Before this we didn't know where to put our energy and were doing different sports where the main thing is to be the first. He showed us what is real fun. If not for him, I think we won't be who we are now. I'm realy grateful to him for that and to his parents who gave life to such a person.