He is one of the guys whose opinion I really appreciate to hear every time he speaks. It’s a day too late, but I wouldn’t want to wait till next Monday to put up his thoughts.
N: Hey Raph, first of all, you told me you hate interviews. How come?
R: Maybe I exaggerated a bit when I said hated, Hate is a pretty strong word. I think what I hate the most about interview is you are not controlling who you talk too. I don’t talk much around people I don’t know so well and I have always been this way. I share my thoughts with people I know around but I don’t enjoy talking to someone about something when I don’t think they will have a clue of what I mean at all. I talk and I can sound so cocky or sound like I am telling people how to think and that I am right. I also feel like you heavily tall about yourself in an interview.
N: Usually you are not speaking out loud directly, you are calm and quiet. But in recent time you have put your word out a lot in magazines and videos. I enjoyed talking with you about wakeboarding very much. One thing you told me was if you were a team manager you would do your job a lot different from how most of them do it right now. In what way?
R: I’m not here to bash anyone. I would do some stuff differently maybe because I’m a rider and I have another perspective on some things.
To change up the question a little bit. I think I personally see so much more than just contest results. Marketing in wakeboarding is so unidimensional sometimes. There is much more than just results and it is frustrating that a lot of people only focus their marketing around results.
Let’s just take Mitch, He was the best boat rider there was back in the days. Won all the junior pro contest, got hurt and stopped getting results. Started riding rails without getting too many results at first and it is like people forgot how sick Mitch is. Mitch is the shit. He rides like he wants and doesn’t give a F*ck. But the real important part is that he’s got style and he represents something on and off the water. It’s crazy to see the lack of love he gets from the industry sometimes. He’s 21 I think. I don’t know Mitch that well but I can tell you that.
N: You are someone who sees a lot of lack in wakeboarding, especially when you compare it to other board sports. I assume you are getting bored of it sometimes as well. What do you think about wakeboarding as your job though? Would you prefer to do something else as your profession? Or do you think you are living your dream? What would have to change so you would say you do live your dream as a pro wakeboarder?
R: I think about that everyday. I don’t think I get fulfilled just by wakeboaring. I just see so much more than just wakeboarding. It is a huge part of my life because it is ultimately what I do the most and I always think about creating new projects around it. Most of the stuff around me, I relate it to wakeboarding. But I could be the best wakeboarder or win a big event and I would not wake up fulfilled where I am so stoked and nothing else matters if you are alone or if it is alone in the process. After everything is done what was all of this worth. Because if you get to that level you obviously took a lot of time doing it or traveling or whatever. You made a lot of sacrifice towards that career and I just find it sucks if once you accomplished most of all what you wanted and realize that there is nothing that amazing about it if you sacrificed everything around it. Even if I only ride 5-7 months a year, as a young kid I was just really focus on wakeboarding so hard. Except for snowboarding, I don’t think I had a lot of other passions. It’s like now all I want is everything I wouldn’t really do maybe when I was younger. I don’t know, I think whenever you grow up and get in the real life or this case the industry you realize it is not like you portrayed it. Never as beautiful as you thought. That’s my way of appreciating things more. I couldn’t appreciate just wakeboarding but I couldn’t appreciate just all the other things kind of.
N: We are out of Olympics 2020 and I don’t think you are really sad about that. Where do you think wakeboarding will go in future?
R: Pretty stoked about it.
It s hard to know where wakeboarding will stand. System 2′s seem to be running the show and it looks like they will for quite a bit now. The whole industry is tilting towards them. I think air tricks will slow down and that the boat industry will get closer to the cable scene and probably become one whole. I think it is kind of weird how one event can change the whole industry’s way of riding. One Wake Open and now the go to is to be well rounded rider.
N: Obviously you are on the road quite some time, but still try to be at home as much as possible. What does home mean for you?
R: Home is where I always been and where I am from and I don’t want to forget that. Sometimes when I look around me I find it crazy when I see everyone quitting a big chunk of their life to go pursue their “dream”. It’s cool to have that opportunity but I don’t know. It’s not like you do it for a year or two. It becomes what you do for a living for a really long time. What’s left after all this is really what I am confronting myself with everyday. I love building new rails so that you hit different stuff and really session it. Go skate with your friends. Have friends around a fire, play guitar. That type of stuff. I always try to figure out what I like the most and what I really want to do so that I live it the way I really want it, of course it is not exactly like that but the idea is there.
N: When we talked about girls you said you don’t think there can be close “normal” friendship between guys and girls as either side would always think about more. So does friendship in a way that you hang out together a lot and talk and do things together mean being in love?
R: Do you need advices?
I can only talk for myself on this since this is what I have experienced but there there are exceptions for sure. but even then how much do you really know.
The easy way out would be to say it is a different kind of love if it is love.
N: On the first night of the day you came back from a long trip you got really good tickets from a friend to go to playoff finals with him and your favorite hockey team is in them. But you haven’t seen your girlfriend in a long time and she wants to go out with you that night. What do you do?
R: I go see my girlfriend really quickly and convince here going to the game is the right thing to do and I’ll see her the next day. You aways want to start that procedure couple days before the actual day.
N: Thanks for sharing your thoughts, appreciate it.