Oh Valdosta…why would anyone fly halfway around the world when the new best wake park is only a short 20-hour drive (for us Canadians) and you can experience the true southern hospitality and unreal riding that Valdosta Wake Compound has to offer. Ok, so you are not really saving any time on the travel, but it is easy to get to at least! Once hitting the border it is a straight shot for the next 16 hours, down I-75, through the rolling hills and county landscapes of middle America until you arrive in Valdosta, Georgia. With a myriad of interesting characters moving around the property, living out of cars, trucks, tents, and campers of all shapes and sizes the place feels more like a campground than a traditional “cable park.” Now don’t get me wrong, the compound is on a whole other level from other parks! The laid-back environment, friendly faces, and creative and original features make this place one-of-a-kind. The way that Quinn, Wes, Terry, Luke and the rest of the crew out here have designed the multi-level pool system 2.0 setup has changed the game. More like a slope-style course from snowboarding, or a street plaza you would see at a skatepark than what one traditionally thinks of when they hear “cable park.” Is it even wakeboarding anymore when a euro carve on a grassbank has become a legit trick? I guess “waterboarding” is already taken (and we have a bad enough rep without going around telling people that’s what we do all summer).
What started out as a crazy idea, with a bunchof kids building ramps, rails, jibs out of whatever wasdropped off by friends, or found at the dump, a handrailhere, some corrugated pipe there, a few street signs,etc., has turned into the sickest setup in wakeboarding.
What started out as a crazy idea, with a bunch of kids building ramps, rails, jibs out of whatever was dropped off by friends, or found at the dump, a handrail here, some corrugated pipe there, a few street signs, etc., has turned into the sickest setup in wakeboarding. The guys here worked their butts off to get everything ready for the Yardsale contest, building day-in, day-out until the day of the event. The Yardsale was a huge success, the riding was insane, the weather was amazing, and everyone had a great time. Canada was well represented by a solid crew of riders, Dary Znebel making it into finals on all three days, Raph Derome making it into two, Oli Derome one, Groms Riley Dillon and Liam Brearley making it into wildcard spots and riding with the big boys, along with some awesome riding from the rest of the Canadians, Aaron Rathy, Dylan Miller, and Nick Dorsey. Taking home the top spot for Day 1, Best Line on Gaps 1 and 2, was William Klang. Day 2 saw Aaron Gunn take the cake for Best Full Line, and again on Day 3 for Best Trick. This was one for the books! At the end of the weekend the only thing left was a few stragglers, a pile of garbage (which almost led to the “great garbage riot of Valdosta”) and a bowling ball…?But that’s enough from me, let’s hear what Quinn, Wes,and Terry have to say…
So, the VWC Yardsale, how and when did the ideacome up?
Quinn: The idea came up with Jamboree really,but came to fruition in…January…? …or December.
Wes: At the Jamboree, ya, we talked about it. The nat expo, Dishman and Jeff sat us down and discussed the idea and then it kinda rolled on from there. The boy sat Jamboree didn’t want to do a third year but everyone wanted to keep that vibe and the tradition going so we decided to take it on here. Seemed like a good fit.
Terry: I think, I guess, it officially got started at Grassroots Café, R.I.P., balsamic bacon egg and cheese…ooh that biscuit though! But ya, I think Dylan Miller was there as well.
Wes: That’s when the riders’ list got formed.
Quinn: Format was kinda loosely talked about…
Wes: The format changed all the way up till the day of the contest basically. It was essentially everyone would ride and film on what they wanted to film on and then towards the end of the contest we’d try to film lines.We anticipated that it would take the first two days to where people were comfortable enough to film a full line through this hectic park, but everyone crushed it on the first day and everyone was getting hits on everything so then we decided to just do the lines on the first and second days, then on the third day we committed to just media. Everyone could ride and get their best trick on whatever feature they wanted to and then we made sure we had photographers on it, videographers, getting it all tight!
So how did you guys select the riders?
Quinn: A lot of the guys who were at Jamboree, who all, you know, brought the vibe to Jamboree, and then a lotof the homies who were killing it. Just pretty much tried to look out for everybody that’s been on top of it. We had to have a cap of some sort, so we couldn’t get everybody on the list, just because once we got to 35 riders it was alot to really realize the actual amount of riding everyone would be able to do if we went beyond 40, so…kinda had to cap it and rely on the wildcard to draw the other people that we wanted up this way.
And the wildcard was always going to be part of it?
Quinn: Yup. It was originally going to be a video wildcard, like the ones in the past, and we were going to just judge them ourselves.
Wes: Ya cus we didn’t want all that online drama with people f***kin’ poaching votes and shit, you know.
Quinn: Ya, so it was just going to be everyone send us their videos but then as we were building and time was going on we were just like, maybe we just do an onsite contest. That way everybody can fully just be here, whether they are riding in the Yardsale contest or not, it’s something that they can still come and be a part of.Tell me about the jackets. You had these made up for all the riders, where did that idea come from?
Wes: Happy (Gilmore), “Gold Jacket, Green Jacket, who gives a shit.” They fit the vibe of the contest, cus it’s not really about who wins, it’s just about the weekend and everyone riding together and progressing on a challenging set-up.
Who came up with the design for the features? Was that a group thing?
Wes: Collaborative. For sure.
Terry: I think Quinn did as far as the final draw up mostly. He said, we’re going to put this one here this one there, you know but as far as how long stuff was going to be and angles and things we pretty much decided as a crew during the build.
How long did it take to build everything?
Wes: Too long.
Quinn: Haha. Ya it was, like we started moving dirt and grass seeding to make the jumps and all the berms and everything really nice back in January then we went to Argentina while the grass was growing and then cameback and pretty much when we got back in mid-February we were busting it from that point until the day of the contest, just building and building and building.
Wes: The day. Of. The contest.
So how do you think it went? Everyone seemed pretty stoked!
Wes: I think the content that we got out of it is unreal! For sure! As far as the event went, I think we have a lot of room for improvement next year.
So there is going to be a next year?
Wes: I think so! Haha.
Quinn: All the sponsors seemed really hyped, other sponsors already seem interested, so hopefully ya, we’re down!
Wes: Ya, it’s happening again! Cus now we have such a solid base layer to work on, you know, that next year will be, f***kin…, not nearly as bad as this year. A little more organized. Next year we can spend more time on some of the stuff we slacked on this year because we just had so much building that had to be done.
Did you have stuff that you wanted to build that just didn’t make the cut?
Quinn: So much. For sure, but all the main things we wanted done we got done, there was nothing that was like, “damn, if only that was out there.”
Terry: Ya, it was just more like we ended up being able to collect more materials than we originally thought we were going to be able to collect. I mean, we really built the plan before the budget was given to us.
Quinn: Ya, so we were trying to build what we could with no budget and then once we finally got the budget it was even less time until the event so it was like, bust it out as hard as we can and then all of the stuff that we were planning kinda flew out the window cus we were just focused on getting the materials we needed to finish and build all this other shit.
Terry: But luckily while we were getting everything together we ended up getting a lot of cool stuff that we can use for next year.
Quinn: Ya, we have tons of handrails under the tree over there that are just waiting!
Terry: Hopefully we can get the rest of those handrails in next year, and we can get down on them!
Any shout-outs or things you guys wanted to say to wrap up?
Terry: I guess my thoughts on the event and what I want it to be for the next couple years is just an event that is like what Wes was saying, an event that is not really a contest, but more of a content contest, where you just come and try and get as much content as possible at the beginning of the year to send out to all your sponsors so that way, you know, even if you have an injury midseason, or your travel plans don’t work out, you still have a lot of content from the beginning. When we were picking riders that was another thing that we just wanted to pick “street” riders, people that were going out winching, and guys that were hitting snowboard-like features. So, hopefully more and more people get like that and it becomes a prestigious contest, you know, really push that side of the sport and not for prize money but for the content. One of the biggest things also I think next year is we gotta get the filmers budgeted in because for the content, they are the biggest part of it.
Quinn: For sure.
Wes: Well said.
Quinn: Just trying to make it bigger and better every year really. As far as the setup and riding goes, this year couldn’t have really been better, but like Wes said there’s a lot we could do to make the whole event better. We got a lot of space out here too so, there are endless opportunities to do stuff. Hopefully people keep coming out and we keep people stoked on the event, and other people in other industries are hyped and want to come out and be a part of it somehow. Work it out to where it’s just likea big event and wakeboarding is just kinda the highlight of the whole thing.
Terry: Thanks for coming SBC!
Wes: Ya! It’s been a wild ride, eh!?
Let’s do it bigger, better…all the above next year.
Terry: Bigger, better, more Canadians!
Wes: Ya there’s your closer, more Canadians, we love you! Come back!
Words and Photos: Brennan Grange