Braden Ioi may be Canada’s happiest camper; that should already tell you a great deal about the guy. Always with a smile on his face and looking on the brighter side of things, it’s hard to not to want Braden a part of every trip you plan and any video you film. Just from his shear ability to keep the spirits up Ioi is a huge asset to this film. If keeping a film trip positive and enjoyable wasn’t already enough he absolutely destroys it on a wakeskate. Braden has taken the stale and standard stuff we see on the water and shapes it into something fresh and new. He will do a trick you’ve seen a hundred times and tweak in just the right places and you’ll think it is something completely different. For Ioi, wakeskating is something that is always open to interpretation and experimentation. We can’t wait to see the results in Istudiomo.
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What’s your date of birth? Where are you from? How long have you been wakeskating? What stance are you?
Born 08/26/1993 in Toronto, Canada. I got my first wakeskate about 8 years ago but really started to ride a lot the past 5 years. I skate goofy, right-footed or whatever else you want to call it!
It was spoken on in Yan’s previous interview, the difficulty of getting new wakeskaters on the water in Canada. How did you get into wakeskating? What kept you committed and motivated to progress your riding?
Where I come from, the watersports scene as a whole is pretty strong. A lot of people spend the short Canadian summers at lake houses and most people have some sort of a boat or jetski. My grandfather had bought my family a small bowrider so that’s sort of what got me into wakeskating. I think what really kept me going though has been the rise in two-tower cable parks that have opened in my area. There are eight or so cable parks in my area and around the greater Toronto area. It’s been super cool how many friends I’ve made just through visiting parks and riding with people so I think that’s what has motivated me through the years.
What wakeskaters did you first look up to when you began riding? Did anyone’s riding serve as a reference point to progress toward?
My first real wow moment was when More Than Machines came out and it blew my mind. I think it’s a bit cliché to say any specific person in that video but I remember trying to steal little things from everyone, Nick’s fluidity, Ben’s flick, the Pastura’s style etc. I think that video made me realize that there are a lot of sick tricks to be done and cool spots to search for.
Most of what people have seen of your wakeskating is behind the winch. What is so appealing about winch wakeskating? And do you find winch wakeskating more important to film than other disciplines?
For me a video part is a full composition of you as a wakeskater. In most situations I find that the spot is almost as important as the trick. I see too many cable edits that have crazy logos or white plastic and it’s not really what I have in mind for my part. Winching allows me to be creative and hopefully find something that sets me apart from others in one way or another.
What sorts of spots do you enjoy winching the most? What is it about these kinds of spots that you enjoy more than the others?
I’ve been filming a bunch of drops over the past summers and that’s just because that is what’s most accessible. Last summer I found a couple of drainage ditches that I’ve been really excited to hit too because I feel like bank tricks haven’t been fully explored yet.
Drainage ditches that are actually rideable are rare to come by, and if they are rideable they are certainly among the sketchier of spots. What makes you want to go after these spots most people shy away from? Do you do a risk vs. reward assessment before you go for a questionable spot?
Toronto is full of ditches so it’s too tempting not to! They are definitely scary but I’ve put in a bunch of concrete work into some of these spots to make them a little bit less chunky. In the end I think a bunch of winch spots are sketchy so no matter what you’re putting yourself in risk somehow.
You do a bit of drawing and photography, and you have put out a couple of your own impressive self-made video sections online. Has your drawing and photography influence the way view wakeskating and create your online parts?
Yeah I definitely think that anyone who rides any type of board can relate to the arts in some way. I think that riding boards is always in conversation with the arts so my wakeskating feeds off of my photography/drawing and vise versa. My buddy Evan Ciniello has filmed and co-edited all my winch parts up till now and I think the reason why it works is because him and I have very similar tastes in photography so it translates to my winch parts.
Shortly after you released those videos you were picked up by Water Monsters a distinctly creative company in its own right. Do you like their style as a company? And did their style influence your decision to team up with the Pasturas and the rest of the team?
Yeah WaterMonsters is sick! I’ve always really felt like WM was the brand I related to most so I was super excited when I got asked to join the gang. From winch heavy videos to hand drawn graphics I think that Andrew has lead WM into a really sick direction. It’s funny because I’ve been riding the new graphics at the cable here in Bli Bli, and everyone has been loving the new graphics.
Exploring and finding new spots is key to progress winch wakeskating and you have covered a lot of ground discovering and riding new spots all around Ontario, Canada. Where is somewhere else new that you’d like to go explore and find new spots? What place right now do you think has completely untapped potential?
Right now I’m living in the Sunshine Coast, Australia and there are tons of spots here I’ve been itching to hit. I recently made a trip down to Melbourne and I saw a bunch of spots that look really sick to winch! The city has a river running through it so I’m sure there are plenty of spots that haven’t been ridden yet.
Yeah so you’ve been in Australia for a little while now. A lot of wakeskaters will escape the harsh winters to the cable parks of the Philippines, Thailand, or Indonesia. What drew you to OZ? What’s the scene like down there?
Australia was kind of on my bucket list for a little while now so I felt like this winter was the perfect time. I’d seen a bunch of edits from the guys out here and also from Nick and Ben’s trips in the past and it looked awesome. Funny enough I got out here and I’ve ended up wakeskating less than I thought just because I get so busy exploring and skating/surfing. The scene out here is sick though! I was lucky enough to be here for Skate or Die which was wakeskater meetup/contest at Cam Prest’s place here in the Sunshine Coast. There was a really good turn out and everyone shreds! It was rad to meet everyone who you’ve just talked to on the internet or whatever.
You seem to gravitate toward the basic trick sets but with raw and powerful style, taking them to larger spots and throwing them bigger than most. You’ve also been seen mixing it up with creative options like pole jams. What sorts of tricks do you want to see more of from wakeskating?
I think I tend to gravitate toward simple tricks because, in all honesty, those are the only ones I can make look similar to skateboarding. I know I’m not much of a technical wizard so I want to make sure I get tricks the way I want before I force other tricks into my bag of tricks. That being said I’ve been really working out some ideas on how to use lock-in’s for other purposes than just nose/tail slide tricks so we will see!
Many wakeskaters look to skateboarding for a direction to take wakeskating and use the sport as a sort of map for wakeskating’s progress forward. Do you take a lot of influence from skateboarding? Is keeping your wakeskating as close to skateboarding as possible important to you?
Skateboarding seems to be the center of the ‘boardspot universe.’ If you watch surfing or snowboarding it’s pretty cool to see the skate influence brought into all these sports. I think that it’s not so much about making wakeskating look just like skateboarding but you can definitely get creative direction from it.
Wakeskating is sometimes viewed as soft from skateboarders’ points of view. But with wakeskating a majority of the factors that make a spot sketchy are hidden beneath the water’s surface. Do think wakeskating/wakeskaters don’t get enough credit when someone watches their parts and they are stomping stuff at these deceptively “safe” spots? Does wakeskating need to show this rougher side and prove its gnarliness to these skeptics; how do you think it could be done?
Back home a bunch of my skate friends all get stoked on wakeskating. I think that wakeskating’s past had some stuff that the skate community thought was kind of kooky or whatever but whenever I show my friends the wakeskate tour footage or new videos parts they get super stoked on it. Wakeskating is in a good direction at the moment in my opinion and I think all that needs to happen is more and more people pushing it and putting out videos so the public can see it.
What are you expecting from Istudiomo?
I’m mostly excited to see the different styles of wakeskating put together. Filming with Yan has been really sick too because I know he’s got some hammers! On top of that I think that it will be sick to get footage from all around the world and see different spots.
Cinematography by Andrew Roehm
Photography by Andrew Roehm