Wakeskating is a wonderfully complex mix of things. As a sport it’s challenging, it’s eye-catching, and independent. As an art form it’s ambitious, deceptively simple, and constantly striving for perfection. With these traits in mind Andrew Pastura is essentially the personification of Wakeskating. Where the sport is at its best you are likely watching Drew win a tour stop. When the art form is at its best you’re captivated by one of Drew’s revolutionary video parts. But it doesn’t stop at his tour dominance or his video parts. The true reason for Drew personifying Wakeskating is everything he is doing behind his riding. Whether he knew it or not, Andrew Pastura may have started a renaissance in wakeskating after stepping onto the scene over ten years ago. For years, many in wakeskating were complacent in their quality and directionless. Leading by example, all of that slowly phased itself out as Drew and a handful of others set a higher standard for themselves and consequentially the sport as a whole. With a particular impact in mind for wakeskating Drew brought a poise and humility to the sport. Pastura has quietly taken off on his own and created one of the most impressive portfolios in wakeskating. Calculated in his professional partnerships Drew carefully chooses who he works with; where most others would accept the first offer at their door. He has painstakingly created one of the most iconic independent companies in wakeskating, Water Monsters, bringing in and supporting a bunch of up and coming rippers that deserve support. He and his brothers created the ground-breaking full length wakeskate film, Human Rocket, perfectly embodying the care and quality Drew takes with the sport and the art form. Knowing his standards makes his involvement in Istudiomo truly humbling and ensures the film meets all expectations.
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How old are you (use dates mm/dd/yyyy)? Where are you from? How long have you been wakeskating? What is your primary riding stance?
05/06/1988 Cincinnati Ohio. Regular. I’ve been wakeskating since is I was 15 years old so quite a while.
You grew up in the Midwest not necessarily known for its wakeskate scene. Did you start wakeskating in Ohio? How did you find wakeskating?
Throughout the summers growing up we would always take a family vacation to a lake in Tennessee or Kentucky. A few of my uncles had boats and were into waterskiing so I learned how to ski on those trips. My cousin got pretty into wakeboarding and knowing my brothers weren’t too stoked on it he bought a Cassette flat deck and introduced it to us. He had a few old wakeboard videos where they had a few wakeskate clips here and there. That kinda sparked my interest and then he bought the Cassette video Sfumato and it was on from there.
Your riding season was shorter than the popular wakeskate communities to the south. What did you do to maintain such an impressive progression with your wakeskating in those early years?
I’m not really sure. I guess we just tried to take advantage of the short time we had in the summer and ride a bunch. My cousin bought a seadoo when I was 16 so he could hit rails on his wakeboard and I would try to go as much as I could with him. We would build a few rails in the summer and hit those a bunch.
You had a few web videos online of you ripping up in Ohio and from a couple of your earlier trips down to Florida. Shortly after you broke onto the scene and quickly became everyone’s favorite wakeskater with your closing part in Scene One’s “Fun Boots” in 2009. What was it like filming for that movie? How did you meet those guys, Dave Hanson and Keith Lant? Was that your first part in a full length movie?
[laughs] I don’t think I was everyone’s favorite wakeskater, but yea that was my first full part in a video. When I graduated high school I got accepted into an electronic media program at the University of Cincinnati and did that for a semester. It was the middle of winter and I couldn’t stick it out with the idea of moving to Florida tempting me. I had met Chase Gregory at a boat contest in the Keys that summer and ended up moving in with him in Orlando for two months. I met Dave through Chase and Keith Lant from OWC. They were finishing Esoteric at the time and I got the chance to meet a lot of other wakeskaters through them. I spent the summer in Ohio after living with Chase through the winter and had been talking with Dave about getting an apartment when fall came. That worked out and Dave and I moved on Lake Nan a small lake close to the college in Orlando. From there I guess they just decided to film another full length and it was super easy to always film with those guys especially living with Dave. I can’t thank Dave and Keith enough for what they did and getting everyone involved. There were so many sick winch trips we did around florida and just meeting Hooker, Ben, and all the AMI (Anna Maria Island) boys through that period in time was unforgettable.
You were one of the three original members of Remote Wakeskates. What brought about the creation of Remote? What was you all’s plan with the company and brand? And how were those beginning years there?
Yea, so Ben and Silas came to me with the opportunity of doing Remote and it was a no brainer. I had been riding for New wakeskates which was only really me riding for them so I was missing the feeling of a team or an image of a brand. Remote first started out as a sister company under Company Wakeboards. The first year or two was working fine until we had some issues with a manufacture and Company went through some legal issues as well. I think the original plan with Remote was just something fresh for wakeskating and quality boards. Ben and I kinda took the better aspects of the boards each of us were riding at the time and came up with a good shape. We used the rocker I was riding on my New and an outline and shape he came up with. The name was sick and idea behind it that we all came from places that weren’t your typical wake scenes worked well. Ben killed it with the logo and I think Remote will always have a solid place in wakeskating.
Following Fun Boots and the formation of Remote Wakeskates you and the rest of the Nike 6.0 dudes started stacking for “Aquafrolics”. Remembered for its iconic wing boat angles and some of the first natural winch spots to be hit in the Philippines. What really stands out to you thinking back on Aquafrolics and the Nike 6.0 days? How is it today still being a part of the now solely Nike Wakeskating team?
I started getting flowed from Nike 6.0 a little before the idea of the video so it was amazing to be able to get involved for that. It was definitely a big deal with the production aspect of the video. We had Matt Staker filming most of the video and Josh Letchworth coming on some of the trips with us shooting photos so working with those guys was pretty sick. Tad even helped out on a few shoots in Florida which was rad. Filming at the time with the HD cameras and slow mo was different than what I was used to but it was sick. Staker was a rad dude to be around and would always give us shit on trips. I think my favorite trip we did was a two week winch trip through Texas. It was my first time hitting winch spots in Texas and it was just super productive and we were able to hit a bunch of cool stuff.
It’s like clockwork for you. Another year another video part. In addition to your multiple web parts a year you drop in 2010 what could still be considered today to be the greatest video part in wakeskating’s history with your section in Tad Mathew’s “More than Machines”. The video in general set a new standard for wakeskating. What wakeskating was set to become, what it is now, but your section in particular raised the bar for what people should be striving for. Your attention to style, cleanliness, and technicality were mirrored thereafter; and the density of winching and variety of spots you charged changed the template for riders in the future when building a proper video part. Was this a conscious decision when working on your part to sort of “change the game”? Or were just trying to do your own thing, make something you would want to see?
[laughs] I see the whole video setting the standard not just my part. There are things in there that will be impressive for a long time I think. Not only the riding but how Tad put it together, the music, and the filming are all pretty timeless. As far as my part I think I’ve always just felt when I do a trick kinda weird or know when it could be done better. To me its definitely worth putting in the extra time to do it right and film it well. Its not really something I’ll think about or be super aware of, its just satisfying to do something how you envisioned it. With the crew we had I think everything came together where we pushed each other to get creative we all were down to get spots hittable.
After a couple years at Remote you left the highly admired and quickly growing company to start your own unique project with your brothers “Water Monsters”. What motivated this split from Remote and what was your plan with this newly formed company?
I’m not really sure what exactly sparked that idea. I think it was a combination of me wanting to hook up other guys and take the creative aspect of designing a new board company. It was definitely rad to be involved with Remote and at the time and even now I don’t think there is a better company to be involved with. I just wanted to do my own thing and my brothers were into it and helped out a ton over the years.
Most companies in wakeskating don’t really have a definitive style or charisma that resonates through everything they do. Whether it be graphics, videos, and ads everything feels like it’s all connected to create a larger piece for the brand. Water Monsters seems to earn a spot within that select group of iconic uniform brands in wakeskating that have a unique pervasive style that is infectious within the community. Cassette and Oak Wakeskates come to mind when naming more of these authentically original brands. Where do you draw influence from when working on Water Monsters? And where are you looking to take WM next? What else should we be expecting down the sewer pipeline?
I think looking at what other brands have done has been some influence for sure. Growing up skating and seeing different board companies put out graphics and edits always sparks some ideas for wakeskating. I’ll look back from time to time and question some of the shit we’ve put out though so I think our image can always change some. I’ve thought of even changing the name of Water Monsters at some point so who knows [laughs].
You probably don’t consider yourself much of a contest rider, but that isn’t preventing you from continually showing up at the top of the podium over and over. What was your first contest in ‘professional’ wakeskating? How much has competitive climate changed since then to now with the wakeskate tour?
I think my first pro contest was a cable contest either at Ski Rixen or KCW. The wakeskate tour has definitely changed things for the better and just the 2.0 alone is a huge advantage to the only winch contests from the Toe Jam days. The amount of hits you get at a wakeskate tour contest is rad for the rider and for the videos they put out. Definitely makes wakeskating look better than anything you would see at a boat or cable contest. The cable comps are basically the same style which I think could use some improvement. If there were ever a cable with strictly wakeskate rails I think having a jam style format would be pretty awesome.
There’s a lot of different types of competition that have come and gone in wakeskating. We’ve had the classic boat competitions sideshow events for wakeskating on the pro wakeboard tour. We had the innovative Byerly Toe Jam events with a trifecta of disciplines being represented at his events. Wakeskating has had it’s share of creative/digital contests with Transworld’s “Devise and Conquer” series and Tige’s “My Wake” online submission contests. Now the majority of the wakeskate community is following and supporting The Wakeskate Tour’s two-tower setup bracket format contest series. What things in the past did you enjoy in contests? What if anything would you like to see come back from the wakeskating’s competitve past? And what would you change within the current competitive scene in wakeskating whether it be the current Wakeskate Tour?
I think it would be rad to have a video part contest similar to the Real Wake stuff the wakeboarders do. The Devise and Conquer series was pretty awesome as well. Any kind of video contest would be unique and fresh for wakeskating right now. The only thing I could think of for the wakeskate tour would be having new locations with different setups but that all relates to how much sponsors are willing to invest. It could be cool to see a 2.0 and a full cable Jam style contest at one event.
Who are some wakeskaters you think are doing it right right now? Where do you want to see the progression of wakeskating go in the future?
I don’t really like singling just a few guys out cause there are so many but I’m really hyped on Cole Kraiss right now. He’s been on fire recently and its been sick seeing what he’s done in the past few years. Cole is one of the most positive dudes and is doing his own thing for sure.
Hypothetically, if there were enough money in wakeskating and you could be making a living off of it in anyway that you preferred what would your day to day as a professional wakeskater entail?
I always thought it would be cool to do a demo tour going to different cables and meet up and coming wakeskaters. Get people hyped and ride for a company that could support the trip. I think it would be pretty huge in Europe to cruise to cable parks and winch in-between meeting new people along the way. Other than that just being able to keep traveling and filming with friends enjoying riding a board on the water.
You’ve had the opportunity to travel the world wakeskating. Annual winter trips to the Philippines, road trips through Africa, contests and tours around Europe, and countless excursions around North America. As someone who has seen and done a great deal in wakeskating and seeing first hand its many international communities; what’s the state of wakeskating outside the U.S.? Where are you seeing a lot promise outside of your home country?
I’ve definitely been lucky to check out quite a few wakeskate communities outside the US and its awesome to see different crews out there doing their thing. It definitely gives me hope and keeps things fresh to know there are people all around the world that enjoy the same thing we enjoy. Ever since I started going to the Philippines and meeting wakeskaters from all over it opened my eyes to how diverse wakeskating is. As far as specific places I think each are unique and important to our industry. I do think we will always get a good amount of talent from Europe since cable parks are so easy to come by in most countries there. But overall I think wakeskaters everywhere are doing cool shit and it’s sick to see, especially when it’s someone you really haven’t heard of. Whether it be winching, hitting rails at a cable park, or doing certain tricks I think kids from all over are getting better and doing it the right way.
You personally undertook the creation of your brand’s first full-length film with your brothers, “Human Rocket”. You had been through the process of being a rider in films and made web edits in the past, but never put together a full piece like that before. How would you describe the experience? Do you think full lengths have a future in wakeskating? With today’s world of social media and rapid content creation is it time to change the formula and adapt to the new mobile medium?
Oh man.. looking back I think we would have done a bunch of things different with Human Rocket and Im sure Austin and Aaron would agree. It was definitely something we’ve never done and I think we could have tied it all together better somehow. We took some rad trips and had awesome footage from everyone but I look back at it and think having a little more experience in putting something like that together would have helped. Needless to say I think it’s rad we did it and I’m definitely proud of it. The full length thing is awesome and I feel like it gets a lot of guys to get out there to winch and try some shit. I’ll always be down to work towards a full part and I hope to see more people want to put together full length videos. I do think web edits and trip videos are becoming more popular nowadays. Nick has done some sick ones in the past few years and I was stoked on how our Vacation edit came out. I think as long as it’s thought out and put together well it will make wakeskating look cool.
What are you expecting from Istudiomo?
Man, I’m really hyped for Istudiomo and feel super lucky to be a part of it. I definitely see a rad video documenting a ton of new spots and newer guys to the wakeskate scene.
Cinematography by Andrew Roehm & Nick Taylor
Photography by Andrew Roehm