Mitchell Cobb : A Case Study
“Summoning Storms: A look at Summer Wine and Yew Inglin”
Words by Andrew Roehm
Istudiomo is a project birthed from foolish ambition. Our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and we know it, but we are still biting off more than we can chew anyway. It is going to take time and a lot of effort, far too much effort for one person alone. That’s why this project has such a large and talented crew of dedicated people involved. Aside from the obvious talented arsenal of athletes that will be featured in this film there are a select few crucial components that have a direct hand in Istudiomo’s creation. These select few are our ‘Collaborators’. Collaborators are this film’s helping hands and its guiding lights. They keep this project on course and they make sure it is something everyone involved will be proud of. Mitchell Cobb is one of our talented and creative minds; Istudiomo will be greater having him on board.
Mitchell Cobb has taken the creative side of wakeskating by storm recently. After his first highly acclaimed full-length film ‘Ride Among Us’ premiered Cobb went on a well-deserved hiatus. The world of wakeskating had a couple years of calm clear skies, but Cobb has returned and there’s a bigger storm brewing behind him this time around. His first video piece he returned with was ‘Summer Wine’. The name couldn’t fit better for the piece. His use of film burns and earthy tones reflect an opulent and cassis wine. With camera in hand Cobb followed the travels of Andrew Fortenberry, Tommy Wooten, and Nick Taylor all around the state of Florida. Like the variety of tastes that one draws from a sip of an aged wine, this video touches an equally diverse and tasteful range of locations through their journey.
The crew makes moves starting from the northern swamps of the Suwannee River basin riding at Nick Taylor’s personal wakeskate compound. Followed by a couple visits to some notable central Florida spots. They visit the center piece of man-made wakeskate setups, Battle Falls, and every wakeskaters’ home away from home, Lake Pickett. These two locations make for a wide range of different kinds of footage to capture. The video concludes at the birthplace of the riding trio, Anna Maria Island. On The Island Mitchell boiled riding down to its simplest and most elegant form. He did this by just setting up a winch on the beach and had Nick Taylor riding flat water in a salty tide pool nestled between the beach grass and the crashing shore break. Cobb understands the beauty Taylor brings to his wakeskating at its core and captured that perfectly. Flat water wakeskating is a surreal thing to watch it shows the purest nature of the sport, especially when someone like Nick is the one doing it. This video is arguably Cobb’s best to date and is only the start for a new wave of things to come from this guy. ‘Summer Wine’ started with a smooth syrupy vibe and ends with a faint clack from distant thunderclouds and long lingering rubble from the approaching storm.
Fast forward to now and storm Cobb brought with him is in full force. ‘Yew Inglin’ Mitchell’s second major online video piece has just dropped. In association with O’Neill and Nike, Cobb delivers an action packed expedition following a young and hungry crew. Cobb brought the same level of quality and content with this follow-up piece. The video follows Cole Kraiss, Bammer Rehn, and Nick Taylor as they hop in the van and explore new ground for wakeskating in the north-east. This video embodies everything you want from a wakeskate video: top-notch film work, new spots, new riders, great performances, and a taste of life on the road. ‘Yew Inglin’ has further solidified to us all what Cobb is capable.
The video itself is its own form of story telling. These four dudes set off for some of wakeskating’s most untouched territory. The north east of the United States is a rather unexplored frontier for wakeskating and certainly hasn’t seen the likes of these fellas winching. This crew took a serious gamble setting out for New England in the hopes that their exploration would reap some rewards. Their gamble paid off big time because this “Yew Inglin” team had the deck stacked against them. Every spot they searched out for had a high chance of being a bust (kicked out from spot) or un-hittable, because of danger, for some unforeseeable reason. Unfortunate for them many of these spots were incapable of being ridden and they had to move on, such is the nature of winching. The search for these unique spots and the reward you get from session’ing them is what makes winching such an amazing experience. Their persistence wasn’t shaken by these short comings. This team’s determination kept them on the hunt until they got what they came such a long way for.
A long way they all really did come. Cole Kraiss made the trek from Arizona, Bammer Rehn from California, Mitchell Cobb from Louisiana, and Nick Taylor from the gulf coast of Florida. The whole crew came together in Florida and made the excursion northward. Covering thousands of miles throughout their trip these guys put in the hours between spots. The video itself does a great job of showcasing the nomad life they all adopted for the trip. Long nights on highways and country roads were spliced into transitions with night-time timelapses and were mixed well with shots of starry night skies, their struggles of getting the van stuck in sand, and their downtime on the road. Exploration and new experiences come hand in hand with wakeskating; Cobb does a masterful job presenting this in the flesh.
As well filmed, edited and stylized as this video was the riding in it was just as impressive. The performances in this video had an obvious magnitude to them up-front. The talent themselves brought their own style and intensity to to the video. Rehn’s tenacious attitude allowed him to throw himself down drops repeatedly till he claimed huge big spins or one of my personal favorite 360’s down a drop ever at 3:13. Kraiss brought power and ease to his riding. His ollie into the flat bank at 1:36 is something most wakeskaters would shy away from. Taylor brought style and composure to some of the sketchiest and most difficult spots. The front shuv on a toeside edge at 3:29 he does in order to thread himself through the narrow passage of the grass below is a type of nuance in wakeskating’s mechanics that many gloss over. The size of the drops, the difficulty and the cleanliness of the tricks themselves made the riding from these guys exhilarating and innovative. But what makes this video’s riding truly worthy of praise is what is below the surface.
One of the inherently misleading characteristics of wakeskating is what the water masquerades. Spots 99% of the time you see them are much more difficult than they appear. The landings are typically shallow, rocky, and full of different objects waiting to impale you. Spots’ run-ups usually force weird winch positions and strange approach angles for the riders. So next time you watch a wakeskate video, and this one in particular, take a closer look at the spots and see if there are any factors that make a traditionally straight-forward spot more dynamic. Nearly all the spots in “Yew Inglin” had shallow landings layered with boulders and sharp rocks. In fact the spot’s landing condition at 4:28 was so shallow and rocky that Cole Kraiss actually broke his foot and still went back and stomped the board slide to fakie, then went to the hospital, what an animal. At 5:42 Taylor hits a tall ledge that looks as textbook as a ledge can be, but there is more to this spot than meets the eye. Just below the surface of the landing is the remnants of a sunken dock. This landing was littered with two-by-four pieces of wood with sharpened ends capable of puncturing Nick if he doesn’t fall just right.
Wakeskating is more than meets the eye and so is “Yew Inglin”, an extremely exciting and stylish art that has a dark dangerous side if you dive deep enough into the details.
“Yew Inglin” has left me hungry for much more from Cobb and lucky for everyone he’s a talented contributor to Istudiomo and there’s even rumors of a third video piece featuring heavy hitters Ollie Moore and David Roehm just around the corner. It is said the upcoming release will document these two and the west coast crew including Keaton Bowlby and Bammer Rehn battling spots up and down the wild west coast. These are some exciting times for wakeskating thanks to Mitchell Cobb. He’s brought a hell of a storm with him and it doesn’t look like the weather will be letting up anytime soon.