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Athlete Spotlight

WaterSki Mag: In the spotlight w/MB

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Got some love from Waterski Mag a little while back. Thankful to still be able to give back to the sport and community I love!

Waterski Mag: In the Spotlight with Marcus Brown

We called up legendary West Coast-style water skier Marcus Brown a few days ago to talk to him about his motivation behind the video FlowPoint, as well as the development and lifestyle of Freeride skiing. Brown has had significant influence on our sport over the years, from his West Coast skiing style to the new era of Freeride skiing and trying to expand our sport beyond the typical six-buoy course.

Athlete Spotlight

A conversation with Corey Vaughn

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Corey Vaughn just completed a full pass at 10.25m, on a water ski, in a tournament.  He’s the 9th person in the World ever to have done that.  Its a very Elite group…6 of those 9 skiers have been World Record or Co-World Record holders at some point.

I first got to hang with Corey Vaughn in Acapulco at Ski Paradise about 6 or 7 years ago.  Back then, he was a long-haired hippy who was committed to his craft (slalom skiing), dedicated to taking care of and looking after his Grandfather (Grand Dad), and he was a humble competitor.

Today, his hair is short, his Grand Dad is no longer here, but despite the changes and his incredible performances this season….he’s still as humble and upstanding as ever.

I figured I’d give him a call and check in…..so here it is. Excuse the audio quality…he’s on his way home, driving his sweet ass RV from Florida back to Virginia.

…and unfortunately I didn’t catch the beginning of our call…so you’re going to have to deal with coming in 15 seconds late.  Sorry…

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Corey, Grandad & Amelia
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Throwback to Buoy Wonder, in Acapulco
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Stoked on his Personal Best Performance at LaPoint Ski Park
Athlete Spotlight

SkiTrav – The South African GoPro Guru

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I’ve been following this kid from South Africa for some time now. He rides a Syndicate, posts something almost everyday, and is developing a pretty significant filmmaking skill.

So a week or so ago, when he came out with his latest summer edit, I knew it was gonna be something pretty cool.  He didn’t disappoint.

Keep your eye on this dude….he’s going places, and he’s not afraid to take you with him.

 

FreeskiingMarcus's Articles

Free Skier Trash

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FreeSkier Trash

If you don’t ski, sorry…this piece is mostly skiing. If you do, Listen up:

I spent all winter skiing, but its not what you think. I wasn’t in Tahoe, where I usually am. I wasn’t in Chico, skiing buoys left and right. I was in Tennessee, working on new product at MasterCraft. And most of my time spent on the water wasn’t spent in a course. It got me thinking about the culture of water skiing, specifically competition water skiing. It reminded me of how wrapped up we all get in our own efforts to challenge ourselves and push limits. So that’s what I want to talk about today….a secondary (and maybe someday, accepted) approach to improving and making gains on the water. 

I can’t even count how many times I hear folks tweaking out on a technical aspect of skiing. Sure, to get better at slalom skiing through a course, it takes a focused technical diligence, far beyond what most sports call for. But, there is a balance.

Take a second to think about the last time you did some sort of on the water, functional*, technical drill for slalom skiing……how long ago was that? I am going to guess Never? I’m right, right? Right. 

*Functional is defined as movement performed at or very near the speeds, tempos, rhthyms, angles, forces, etc. experienced during a typical run through the slalom course.

Now imagine a basketball team that never did anything other than play basketball, every day at practice. Or a football team that played 2-3 hours of football, 5 days a week, plus games on weekends. No drills, no skills, no discipline….just balls to the wall. I’m calling lots of injuries, poor technique and sloppy playing. AKA, performance well below full potential.

That’s us. That is what we do as skiers. And that is Trash. (I know, because I’m stuck in the trap too!)

If you golf, you can dial in your short game all day long on the putting green….or go impress the ladies at the driving range like John Daly (without the alcohol, of course) by swinging as hard as you can until your disks start popping out of your lower back like slobbery skittles from infant fingers. These are just a few of the drills, or what I call skill work, feasible within the sport of golf. 

In water skiing, no one drills functional accelerations, transitions or carves. I mean, someone may go out once, and whip out to the side of the boat, let go of the rope and bank a carve until they run out of speed and wicked witch their way into the water (like they’ve seen portrayed in the magazines many times). Chances are that’s the last time they do it…because it only allows for one carve per serving, its not even a functional carve, and it burns through so much time, gas and friends that it really isn’t worth it. Another ridiculous drill is the “pulling drill” folks often use, whereby the skier simply pulls out to one side of the boat, and continues to try and stay out beside the boat for as long as they can. Hanging out beside the boat is a static position. The skier isn’t moving relative to the boat, the ski, or the handle. Again, not a functional drill. 

There is something that works, however. And its almost so simple its stupid: Freeskiing. Its that thing we used to do before we were even good enough to make a slalom course. I hate to be the one to say it but once we mastered the course, it was in that moment that we instantly became its bitch (“we” being 95% of course skiers, myself included). The problem with skiing in a course becomes evident the first time a course skier tries to Freeski. It instantly seems impossible to carve with a tight line when there is no reference point, no buoy to say “turn now”. The accelerations and transitions start to fall apart and the frustration levels mount…usually.

But WHY? (As a side note, I am a firm believer that its not enough to just DO the right things on the water (or anything in life), without understanding. With understanding comes a deeper level of fulfillment, and a higher potential for performance. So, I always try to ask WHY?) “Why is freeskiing so hard?” Because we’ve learned to use the slalom course like a crutch, and forget to FEEL when we ski. The course conditions us to be numb to the input we are receiving from our body, and instead rely on our eyes. Your eyes tend to focus on the course and its checkpoints….”Just get a good gate, stay connected and move outbound, and keep a tight line at 1, then 2, 3…so on” The result is a series of sub-standard muscle memory movements based on punctuated or choppy input…which often results in choppy output. We try to connect dots, instead of find a rhythm, and that ultimately limits us from reaching our full potential…and truly “Flying”(…that moment when your mind clears, your body lights up and shit just happens without even trying). 

To get there, we have to take a step back and remember why most of us started skiing in the first place: it was that rush of shredding on top of the water, banking big turns, throwing mad spray and FEELING accelerations and forces we couldn’t find anywhere else. The course takes a lot of that away from us…slowly so we don’t notice it happening. Its time to fight back…

With a new season comes a new opportunity to chart a different path. Of course your days at the lake will most likely be consumed by thousandths of inch fin movements, the latest technique fads and complaining about rollers, ducks or bad driving. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pry yourself and a few buddies away from the buoys every once in a while to remind yourself how important feeling is. 

The more aware you are of your movements, the better they become. Freeskiing is the closest thing to a functional drill for us water skiers. It allows you to feel forces, line tension, swing, transitions, accelerations, carves, etc….without worrying about buoys, scores, timing or an ego. Do this at least twice a week, and watch how your course skiing suddenly becomes more natural and effortless. 

Sometimes the simplest thing is the right answer. This is one of those times.

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Go FREESKI!! NOW!

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Athlete SpotlightMarcus's Articles

9 Questions For MB

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Taken from www.HOSports.com, here’s 9 questions current Master Champion Will Asher (www.WillAsher.com) threw at me a while back.

WA: If you weren’t skiing, you’d be…?
MB: Working at some Civil Engineering firm, solving differential equations by hand to figure out the reinforcement required for an inverted concrete T beam.
Or I’d be a snow chasing bum,… living in Van down by the river.

WA: Paleo way of life,…what’s it all about?
MB: Paleo or “Cave Man” diet is simply the way we (humans) are supposed to eat….the way we really ate, before agriculture and farming began. No grains (no more bread or pasta), legumes or refined sugars. Basically real food: Meat, veggies, fruit, nuts. Simple.

Wanna live longer?…feel better?…ski better? You probably should give it a try.

WA: Do you ski different on a Syndicate product vs. everything else?
MB: To keep things short and sweet, heck yes I ski different on Syn product. I ski better. My moves are better, I’m more balanced, and I’m more dynamic….all because the board on my feet is the best designed piece of carbon in existence. The first time I tried a Syndicate (reluctantly, due to all HO products I’d previously tried & failed on) not only did I ski better than I had on my stock ski…but I skied different. Things were happening that I’d never felt before…good things.

I never looked back.

WA: What’s the best part of Team Syndicate?
MB: Team Syndicate is so well rounded: It’s an idea factory, a grassroots movement and a product development team with more collective competition and R&D experience than any other team out there. Syndicate is pushing the limits of what’s possible, moving in new directions and reaching new heights. Just having a chance to be a part of that is an honor. I have ambitions & passions…fueled by successes and failures…that’s why I ski. Team Syndicate embodies the same ideals. It’s a perfect fit.

WA: Are you stronger than your girlfriend??
MB: Haha…funny, I’ve never heard that one before (jk)!! I hope so…! But who knows these days. She’s a BadA$$….you’ll be seeing more of her in the near future. Anyone ever heard of the CrossFit

Jenny at the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games

Games? Keep your eyes open for Jenny LaBaw. AND, maybe we’ll organize a “battle of the sexes” brawl and put this nonsense to rest, once and for all.

P.S. – her nickname is “T2″…as in Terminator 2.

WA: MarcusBrown.TV, tell us a little about it, and when will it re-launch?
MB: When fall and winter comes, it gets cold. Cold = water freezing. That means no lake skiing. That doesn’t mean people forget about it. MarcusBrown.TV was an effort to give folks something during the ‘off’ months.

It was fun, having a live webshow…bringing on a new guest each week. Even had Team Syndicate on at one point!

Basically when we re-launch the webshow (hopefully soon after the new year), it should be legit. Guest experts, speakers, news, videos, stories, prize giveaways, etc… There will be something for everyone.

Keep it locked here to www.HOSports.com for news on the upcoming re-launch and MarcusBrown.TV updates!

WA: You started a new school way of thinking…West Coast Slalom. Where did it all start?
MB: Former world Champion, and friend, Mike Suyderhoud slapped some sense into Terry Winter and I when we were 16 & he said “boys, you could be good, real good…but it’s gonna take some work”. So we went to work. We hypothesized, tested, failed, tested, tweaked, tested, etc… At the end of it, we had a new approach to skiing.

West Coast Slalom was born.

At its roots, it’s an explanation of how to move. Everyone moves, whether they walk, jump, run, skate, board, bike or ski. The basics of movement, no matter what the sport, is almost all the same. We had cracked the code, and come up with a “movement for dummies”.

Try it…it’ll change your life.

WA: Tell us something we don’t know about you:
MB: I eat like a Caveman, The Universe fascinates me, working with wood is a passion, I drive a van…a really really big van & 75.8% of my life has been spent with hair shorter than a Mexican Hairless Chihuahua!

WA: I know people ask you this all the time…but how much do those dreads weigh?
MB: Dry Dreads = 1 lb, Wet Dreads = 6 lbs

Team Syndicate Rider & Ambassador, Marcus Brown