It's all about family for the almost-legal Tony Iacconi. That's what got him into this sport nearly a decade ago and that's the most important part of why he's doing it now.
You may know Tony as that kid from Australia that showed up to crash the Jr. Pro Men party in 2012 to finish in second place on the year. He did it again in 2013 just to prove that 2012 wasn't beginner's luck. Along the way he has given the endless summer thing (six months in the U.S. and six months in Australia) a try and, apparently, it's working for him!
I had a chance to head out on the lake with this gregarious young man and I was impressed by both his riding and his positive outlook on what wakeboarding is all about. On a day when neither the weather nor the boat were cooperating, Tony took it all in stride and made the best of it with a clear realization that things could be much worse than any day out on the water with good friends. Here's what we learned...
WW: What is your full name, age and where are you from?
TI: My name is Tony Iacconi, I am 17 years old and I am from Newcastle, Australia.
WW: When and how did you get started on the water?
TI: I was eight when I first got up on my wakeboard. My dad and all his friends went out all the time and then dad took me out with him and I loved it ever since.
WW: Where do you do most of your riding now?
TI: I do a lot of riding in Orlando, Florida where I live for six months of the year and the other six months here in Australia. I live on a lake here in Aus and the States so it can’t get much easier than that to ride!
WW: With whom do you usually ride?
TI: I have quite a few local boys that are always keen to ride, so it's awesome going out there with them and just having good vibes all round! My dad will also take me out when he can get work off, which is awesome. He's been driving the boat for me since I started!
WW: Do you make a living from wakeboarding or is it just a hobby?
TI: Ever since I started wakeboarding, my dream was to one day make a living from being a professional wakeboarder. I've still got a few years, but I'm going to push myself to be that better rider.
WW: Boat, full cable, two-tower cable or winch?
TI: I'm always going to be a boat guy and nothing will ever change that. I do love to get out on the cable every now and then though. My dad built me a two-tower cable up on our property about 20 minutes from home, which is awesome. I get to ride that whenever I can.
WW: What’s your favorite part of wakeboarding?
TI: I like being able to go out on the boat with all my friends listening to music and having a good time out on the water.
WW: What do you think the future holds for wakeboarding?
TI: Wakeboarding is definitely getting bigger and bigger. There are more cable parks popping up, more kids want to learn to wakeboard and families love going out on the boat, so I think there will be a very strong future for the sport!
WW: What are your goals for your wakeboarding career?
TI: Just to accomplish as much I can with wakeboarding, do well overseas in the States and, most of all, to not stop having fun!
WW: What is the top trick you’ve ever seen done and who did it?
TI: Mike Dowdy: Indy double backroll and mute double half cab roll.
WW: What are your top three favorite tricks to do?
TI: I really enjoy doing nose grab crow mobe 5’s. I will usually start the set off with one of them. Lately, I've been doing some stuff to the flats, which has been super fun as well.
WW: If you’re trying to impress a dock full of pretty women, what trick do you pull out?
TI: A Raley is always the pickup trick, but usually anything out to the flats and big will impress a bunch of good looking women on a dock.
WW: Do you have a "guilty pleasure" trick that you do when you’re sure nobody is looking?
TI: Haha, not that I know of. I'm sure I have probably done one at the cable once or twice though.
WW: Why doesn’t somebody bring back the slowball (or are you too young to know what that is)?
TI: What's a slowball? Hahaha.
WW: Have you had any major injuries from wakeboarding?
TI: back in 2007 I had a fall and broke my foot in two places, broke my ankle and the bottom of my leg. I also had eight fractures to my growth plate.
WW: What do you do to stay healthy and fit other than wakeboarding?
TI: I go to the gym whenever I can, I ride my BMX and dirt bike quite a bit and we have a couple of Jet Skis, so I'm always out doing something and loving life!
WW: Was there a rider that you looked up to when you were coming up?
TI: Yeah, I always looked up to Harley. I rode with Harley nearly every day since I was 9 till I was about 11 or 12.
WW: Is there a particular rider whose riding you currently admire?
TI: I love watching all the legends of the sport. I looked up to them ever since I first starting wakeboarding.
WW: What board and bindings are you riding?
TI: I'm riding the 136 CWB TI board with the Marius boots.
WW: What rope length and speed to you prefer?
TI: The sweet spot for me is riding an 80-foot rope length and just under 24 mph.
WW: Any advice for up and coming riders?
TI: Go out there and enjoy yourself. There's no point doing it if you don't enjoy it!
WW: Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
TI: I want to thank my whole family for all their support, especially my mum and dad. Dad does his best to take time off work to take me riding and take me to contests. He is always helping me out with whatever he can! I also want to thank everyone that has helped me out in any way over the past few years. All my sponsors, you guys support me and wakeboarding like no other; MasterCraft Boat Company, CWB Board Co., Jetpilot, Rockstar Energy Drinks, Lusty Industries and Ethika Australia.