There’s no holding back the goose bumps when stepping into Scott Byerly’s freshly decorated billiards room in his new Windermere, Florida, home. Neatly displayed are all his pro-model wakeboards, from WakeTech all the way through Hyperlite. A decade’s worth of greatness for all to see — if you’re lucky enough to get an invite to his crib.
Recently, Byerly has been reminiscing about his wakeboarding days and yes, the rumors are true; he’s been strapping on the boots lately. Why is this significant? Because Byerly as a wakeboarder is our sport’s original Legend and is universally known as the godfather of style. And 99.9 percent of you haven’t seen him on anything besides a wakeskate in the last 10 years. Witnessing the 1994 World Wakeboard Champion arise from the glassy water, carve the wake with his signature “hook” arm, then bust a toeside end-over-end front flip sent shivers down our spines. The consensus of our crew in the boat was “This is how wakeboarding should look.”
The ever-so-calm Byerly was surprisingly vivacious during the following interview, and the energy radiating in his billiards room created the perfect setting for a chat. You could see the glimmer in his eye as Byerly reflected on the type of riding he was once so passionate about. Yes, you might have guessed that Byerly would wakeboard again someday, but no one could have guessed what actually inspired him to get back on the horse.
This season, Byerly Boards had a huge year, with Aaron Rathy and Mitch Langfield both taking world titles. Then Mitch started hanging out and riding with you a bunch. How did all of that come together? Last summer, I saw Mitch in contests and heard that he might be available. So I started talking to him and I gave him a board. Then we hit the road for a couple of months. When I came back, Mitch said he loved the board and was ready to ride for Byerly Boards. He switched right before the Worlds and won Junior Pro Men. After that, we did a photo shoot and hung out with Mitch and started to get to know him. His personality is awesome and the way he rides reminds me of taking it to the old school, where simple things are so much fun and look good.
At one of your shoots, we heard Mitch talked you into something you hadn’t focused on in over a decade. For years, everybody has been trying to get me to wakeboard and I’ve just been into the wakeskate thing. I’ve done enough on the wakeboard to where it just hasn’t interested me. Mitch just sort of took it back to the roots and I thought, “Wow, this looks really fun.” Then he came over to ride before he was headed back to Australia and he was just like, “Hey, Scott, why don’t you ride this wakeboard?” The other guys in the boat had been trying to get me to wakeboard for a long time and were saying, “You’re not gonna get him to ride, you’re wasting your breath.” But I said, “You know what, Mitch, throw me that board, I’m gonna check it out.” And it was fun. I took it back to where it was fun. Mitch got me to do it and it was pretty cool.
Do you think all the wakeskating helps you to be a better wakeboarder? For sure. Wakeskating teaches you how to ride a board properly, so you’re not just depending on your boots. It felt different being locked in. I’ve never really worn closed-toe boots before. Your feet don’t even f—in’ hurt. The boards are way different too. It was cool, man, it’s like riding a bike. I think if I rode some more that I would get right back to where I was.
A lot of people will be psyched to see you back on a wakeboard because they’ve appreciated your style from day one. What inspires the way you ride and your style? I don’t know man, just grab everything. It’s been so long since I rode. My style is pretty much the same as when I stopped wakeboarding. Maybe it’s from surfing and skateboarding when I was younger, that’s when I learned to wakeboard. And I just tried to incorporate what I already knew, so I wasn’t
trying to copy anybody’s style, it just came with me.
Click here for the full article in Wakeboarding Magazine
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