A COLLIN GEE GOES PRO INTERVIEW
Interviewed by: Andrew Roehm
Andrew: Happy Birthday! You have completed another glorious revolution around our sun. How does it feel? Is sitting down with me and answering some questions everything you dreamed for your birthday?
Collin: Of course. Psyched as ever.
Andrew: Firstly, Congratulations you are officially Pro. Again. [laughs] The prodigal son returns to the promise land of professional wakeskating.
Collin: [laughs] Shut it! But in all seriousness thank you.
Andrew: It would have been a disservice for Project not to do it after the comeback you’ve made on the water. So let’s get the basics out of the way. How old are you? Where are you from? Where do you live now? What Stance are you? How long have you been wakeskating?
Collin: I’m 24 years old today. I’m from several different places around Texas, but I recently became an Austin, Texas resident. Was that everything?
Andrew: Your stance and years you’ve been riding.
Collin: Right. I am a goofy footer, and I’m a decade deep.
Andrew: So, where do you usually ride at? Sorry for ending with a preposition.
Collin: [sigh] I expect more professionalism from you than that.
Collin: As of recent, it has been a winching extravaganza with you. Besides that I spend some time on the cable, and if I’m lucky I’ll catch a ski set every now and then.
Andrew: What or who inspires you on the water?
Collin: There definitely are people that I am inspired by on the water. For me skateboarding was my foundation, and when I use that to find inspiration on the water I can’t help but think of the Pastura Brothers. Just to name someone though that is pushing my wakeskating personally and has motivated me is David Roehm. He’s worked harder and has pushed our crew here more than anyone else and it shows because he is way better than the rest of us [laughs], but seriously.
Andrew: Yeah Dave is definitely putting in the time and effort out on the water and it shows. He’s not getting nearly as much back as I feel he is giving to the community around here… Can you go a little wider, and list other things that influence you?
Collin: Yeah definitely. Style is a big part of what influences me, particularly smooth style… This is a pretty big question I am just now starting to realize [laughs].. But to keep it short music is another big factor of what inspires/influences me. Your style on the water or the music you listen to or maybe the music you make is a way of expressing yourself and in that respect they go hand in hand. Yeah maybe you are out there trying to learn a new trick or film for a video part but you are in the end just out there expressing yourself with your style. Creativity is pretty much what it boils down to. I try to on a daily basis create something new and different.
Andrew: Is there anything on the water you keep coming back to, because it just feels right?
Collin: Yeah. [Laughs] That would be back bigs (backside bigspins) for me. I can’t really do them all that well on a skateboard, but maybe that’s why I like them so much. It’s something wakeskating showed me that I liked, and that I didn’t necessarily appreciate as much before. It also just really captures the smooth and ‘flowy’ style I like and is something that someone can make their own….Besides that I really like [laughs followed by a smirking stare]…
Collin: I really like frontside 3 shoves. [Laughs] No surprise there.
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah they make frequent appearances in your sets.
Collin: aaaand….Ollies, just kidding, but seriously. I like Ollies a lot as well.
Andrew: Who doesn’t? They’re great.
Andrew: Is there anything you are seeing in Wakeskating that you don’t do, but you want to see more of?
Collin: I am really stoked on heelflip stuff. I don’t do any heelflip variations right now, and I’ll call myself out on it [laughs]. It is certainly something I want to work on, but I don’t know man….they’re just so tough. It’s so rad seeing guys getting them consistent though. Like Trav at the Texas Stop. (The Wakeskate Tour’s Texas Two Step) Did you see him inward heelflip the drop?!? That was one of the craziest things I’ve seen in my life….Besides that stuff, switch riding is really important to me. Like it’s rad that some people can do all these crazy tricks regular, and they are pushing what can be done on a wakeskate, but a warrior on the water is going to switch it up [laughs]…. Like for example not too long ago we were at that one spot…[seriously hard thinking]…
Andrew: Little Blanco.
Collin: That’s it! Yeah we were just there and Matti Buys was trying Switch Frontside Flips down it. Like that is what I am talking about people pushing both sides of their riding. So technical, it was rad to watch.
Andrew: Yeah that was a lot of fun to watch. Matti has a fun take on wakeskating in general. Good guy that Matti.
Andrew: What is your process when learning a new trick? Is there a mental game you play to overcome any difficulties on the water?
Collin: Yeah of course. It’s all mental so like everyone else I think I play the trick over and over in my head and before I throw the trick each time I just envision myself landing it. It’s repetition in the end. All it takes is you trying it over and over till you find those pieces that need fixing. Simply put, it just comes down to trying the trick… that’s the thing for me. I get so comfortable in the middle of my set with my normal stuff and I forget I wanted to try something new. I get into a mellow mood on the water too often and forget to try stuff [laughs], then by the time I remember at the end of the set that I wanted to try something I’m too tired to give it the effort it requires.
Andrew: Yeah we all get hypnotized on the water with our trick routines and lose track of time and our energy levels. It happens to the best of us. How does it feel being back on a wood board?
Collin: Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. [laughs] I’m kidding. But seriously. It’s nice being back on one. I just feel at home on a wood board. The feeling itself is hard to explain. I didn’t really realize the attachment I have to wood boards. I in general love being on a wakeskate. When I was making my transition to a composite wakeskate a couple years back I wasn’t bad by any means and the board was fine; it was different but I still loved it. I was wakeskating and it was a good wakeskate and in the end that is all that really matters to me. But after getting back onto a wood board I felt something I hadn’t felt in a long time. It was a level of comfort on the water that I forget I had.
Andrew: Just a sensation that you felt from learning on a wood board, an old familiarity?
Collin: Yeah. I mean I landed my first shove at the Projects on a K41 that Pat Panakos gave to me. So there is a great deal of nostalgia, and natural familiarity I have with a wood wakeskate. And I feel like that constant reminder of my past in wakeskating helps me push forward.
Andrew: Speaking of the Projects and their undoubted involvement with the competitive side of wakeskating. What’s your outlook on contests, specifically The Wakeskate Tour?
Collin: I think its rad. I only went to the Texas Two Step last year but it is an awesome time. There’s nothing quite like all the homies coming together in your neck of the woods and having a good time. There’s just a different vibe at the TWT stops opposed to other contests. Everyone just shows up and shreds the set-up. Some people hate on how it takes all the freedom out of wakeskating and it’s nothing like freeriding, and they are right. It’s nothing like freeriding, but it’s still a great thing for wakeskating and nothing says you can’t go to a contest and freeride in your heat. No one is forcing you to follow a certain structure or lay down a specific set of tricks. TWT is organized in a way where people really can do whatever they want, and if they do something awesome it is going to be rewarded. It is a shame I couldn’t compete in more of the contests this year, but I plan on making it to more next year rep’n that Project scene.
Andrew: Couldn’t have said it better myself. I’m excited to see you at more tour stops. Is there any facet of wakeskating that you like the most? For example p.w.c., ca[interrupted]
Collin: Winching. I like winching the most.
Andrew: …Alrighty [laughs]
Collin: [laughs] I just like the process of it. I like the team aspect. It’s not like going to the cable alone and some dude or dudette is pushing buttons for you while you go around in circles where every trick has been done a hundred times. With winching you and at least one other person is going into a session with the same focus and objective and you two, or three, or however many are trying your hardest to get something meaningful out of a scenario that takes everything you’ve got. I don’t think either of us have worked harder for wakeskating than the past summer when us two get off work/class each day, load the winch into the backseat of your car, drive 3 hours to a spot battling rush hour traffic, having three hours of sunlight, and I’m using all three of those hours throwing myself down a 7 foot drop to get one clip; all the while you are filming, driving, talking to angry locals, park rangers, and police officers. Sometimes we fail and have nothing to show for those 7 hours of our day but a couple of bumps and bruises and an empty tank of gas. Fortunately, other times we leave with that one clip and couldn’t be more satisfied. Winching is something magical, it can be the most frustrating thing in the world, but when you put in the time nothing beats a successful winch session, nothing.
Andrew: Yeah it’s something that really can’t be appreciated until someone has experienced it for themselves. So many things can go wrong and do all the time, but when they don’t it’s the best. What do you enjoy the most to wakeskate behind the winch? Like drops, ledges, step-ups, what?
Collin: If you asked me that question a couple months ago I would have said drops, but after getting to session Leviathan’s Ledge for my debut part it got me hooked on ledges. That was the first ledge outside of a contest that I’ve hit that was so smooth. Plus it fluctuated in height throughout the week. New trick options every time you roll up to the spot. It’s a surreal feeling locking into a bluntside or a noseslide on something that is unintentionally perfect for wakeskating. I’m hooked on ledges right now. That may change next month or next week but right now I am loving ledges [laughs]. I love winching though I’ll session anything.
Andrew: So your debut part came out at the end of last season. How did you feel it turned out?
Collin: I think it turned out really well. We definitely put in a lot of effort. We worked hard and we managed to have a lot of fun in the process. That isn’t always the easiest when it is just the two of us at a spot killing ourselves to get clips. But we managed to still keep the vibes positive and our spirits high.
Andrew: Do you feel like we could have done more or were you satisfied?
Collin: I was satisfied with the outcome, but you can ask any wakeskater about their last part and they will come back with a bunch of things they wish they had done as well or done differently. It’s hard you want to push your riding and looking back seeing missed potential can be tough. It gives you something to do in the future and keep pushing yourself. All in all I am happy with how the part turned out.
Andrew: How was the Premiere?
Collin: The premiere was incredible. It was a breathe of fresh air for me. After beating ourselves up at spots day after day for months I was exhausted. And after having that premiere night I was so hyped. It made the work feel worth it and I was energized to get after it again. Having so many of my friends and my family there supporting me, us. It was really cool. They were all showing love for our work. I mean it was a full house for a five minute wakeskate video, that’s pretty nuts. I am just thankful for everybody showing up and being so into the whole event.
Andrew: Premieres are really a unique thing and a premiere for this in particular video even more so. Usually when you release an online part it is just announced and released on a couple sites with no big fuss. You will get a couple supportive comments on the various websites the video is posted on and maybe a couple people come up to you at a cable or a tour stop and say something nice which is awesome, but a premiere is different. With a premiere you have all these people there in person spending their night to come see this five minute video you spent a couple months filming and they are genuinely enjoying themselves. You get to see their first impressions and you get a real sense of how the video is being received. That is a really crazy experience and when they are really enjoying it its a great feeling.
Collin: Exactly, I love how everyone is coming together and be a part of the celebration. In some way I feel like they are a part of it in some way. You feel a connection with those people. It reminds me a lot of when I play my hip-hop shows. Just the overwhelming feeling of support and the connection you have with those people that invest their time and interest in your work.
Andrew: Never thought about it that way. I like that. So How has Project Co. been for you?
Collin: It’s been great. I haven’t been this productive on a wakeskate before, but besides being able to ride a bunch and doing cool stuff, it feels right. From an outside perspective before I was a part of it I saw Project’s image and the quality of their work, along with what you had been showing me for the past couple years it made me envious I wasn’t a part of it. Now that I am a part of it, I am really pumped. It’s one thing to watch a company grow from the outside and be stoked that they are making things happen, but being a part of a company’s growth and know that part of their progression is your doing is really satisfying. Project I think does the best job of capturing the lifestyle and character of wakeskating I try to represent. I am proud to be a part of spreading that lifestyle.
Andrew: Yeah I feel the same way. For me, it just started with a fascination on the internet of some prototypes they were working on back in ‘06 or something, and I just wanted to have one of their concaves. Fast forward 6 years when I first got involved with Project. It was their image that reeled me in. Dudu’s (Eduardo Figueiredo’s) design style for their graphics and videos resonated with me. I accepted their offer to be a part of their family with little hesitation. The lifestyle bit still hadn’t factored in till I went down there. I saw their trailer for Skate Na Agua while I was there. That documentary pretty much encompasses everything I have ever loved about wakeskating. Then I saw how in love all their community was with wakeskating and how involved skateboarding was in wakeskating down there, it’s true camaraderie. The U.S. doesn’t even come close to Brazil when it comes to how inclusive the community is and how they are one huge support group for one another, it’s inspiring…and it gives me a lot of hope for their future in wakeskating.
Collin: Yea I can get that feeling from what I’ve seen from you down there. I can’t wait to get down there and see it for myself.
Andrew: The wait will be over soon.
Collin: YES. [laughs].
Andrew: What were your thoughts when you saw your graphic for the first time?
Collin: I was stoked. I don’t really know how to elaborate on it more than that. I walked in saw the graphic and I had a smile stuck on my face. I am thankful for this graphic it really is a gift from you guys. I am excited for people to see it soon.
Andrew: Is it tough entrusting Evan (Molina) and myself with your graphic’s design?
Collin: [laughs] … Is that a rhetorical question? Because it is a laughable question for me or if people knew you two at all like I do. I would entrust Evan and you to work on anything of mine. I have no concerns when leaving my personal graphic in your hands. I am thankful to be working with and representing anything you guys create.
Andrew: Thank you it is appreciated, I am sure Evan feels the same. We kinda glossed over this before but you’re pro now. Again. How does it feel? What does it mean to be pro to you?
Collin: Am I? [laughs] I think being a professional or being considered a ‘professional’ in wakeskating is different than just about any other sport. You know being a professional athlete in practically any other circumstance you are titled that because you are making your living off of that sport. With me in wakeskating that isn’t the case, and it is only the case for a select few of wakeskaters out there. Wakeskating does not even come close to paying the bills for me and it doesn’t for some the most talented guys out there. For me, Project, and I think the rest of the community we have come to realize that being a professional in this sport it is less about the money and more about the impact. What has someone given to wakeskating? How much time have they put into it? How devoted is this guy or gal to the sport? Is this person considered to be extremely talented and stylish on a wakeskate? Does this person act professionally on behalf of the brand and the sport? And does this person have a positive influence on the community that is worthy of admiration and promotion? I like to think I have done and do those.
Collin would like to thank his Family, Project, and everyone who has supported his wakeskating, his music, and Project.
2015 Project Wakeskates
Coming this Spring