A mystery to many Cole Kraiss keeps to himself; he lets his riding do the talking for him. Fortunate for everyone this quiet introvert’s riding is extremely communicative. Kraiss’ approach to wakeskating and his style on the water are constantly catching people’s attention. Authentically original on the water people have no problem connecting with the way Cole wakeskates. A truly fascinating sight on the water; when you watch Kraiss you can see his riding is deeply personal to him. Wakeskating is a form of self-expression for Cole and he really is exactly like his riding: spontaneous, creative, versatile, and inventive. You never know what you are going to get out of Cole during any session and that’s why he is so interesting to watch. It’s hard not to be intrigued by this soft-spoken stylist.
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What’s your date of birth? Where are you from? How long have you been wakeskating? What stance are you?
I saw outside of my mom for the first time on Jan 2, 1993. I am from Lake Havasu City, Arizona and I am goofy footed and have been wakeskating for eight years.
You learned to Wakeskate in Arizona. That may come off as strange to a lot of our readers. Arizona is sort of an unexpected spot for a talented wakeskater to hail from. What was it like learning to ride there? Does Arizona have any inherent difficulties for wakeskating that most everywhere else doesn’t? What is something you really enjoy about riding in Arizona?
I lived near a river in the later part of adolescence. I learned to ride with friends in high school that would take me out with them to wakeskate. I enjoy the environment and climate of Arizona. With hot summers and mild winters, it makes it possible to ride year round. I am grateful to wakeskate within Arizona’s beauty.
If you could live anywhere to fully enjoy and progress your wakeskating where would it be? and Why?
To fully improve and progress my wakeskating I would live in a place within proximity of other people that love wakeskating. The place isn’t as important as the people are to me. I learn from watching others teach me how to ride in a different manner than I know.
You sort of made your emergence into the core wakeskating scene at the Wakeskate Tour events specifically the second Suwannee Pro. People were talking about your back lips all weekend in Suwannee. How do you feel about the Wakeskate Tour, and contests in general?
The Wakeskae Tour is amazing. Without it, I wouldn’t be where am I today and I don’t think wakeskating would be either. A place beckoning all wakeskaters to come together and create new connections, advances in wakeskating, and friendships. Contests are capable of doing the same thing and I think they are a somewhat necessary part of wakeskating.
What mode of wakeskating do you enjoy the most (e.g. cable, boat, pwc, and winching)? What makes this mode so appealing?
I enjoy winching more than other modes of riding because of the great variety and uniqueness of spots.
You have a pretty tenacious dedication to making your riding look the exact way you want it to. There have been moments filming where you have went on trying a trick for an additional hour after already landing it to get the exact one you want. You put style above everything else not only when filming, but even at contests where most others toss out style for points. What is so important about style?
I use wakeskating to express myself and create the individual I am. I don’t define myself by the tricks I can do, rather the way they are done. I see wakeskating as a tool to help improve myself overall.
When watching you, your riding would suggest you don’t really follow a very strict regimen to your riding. Your sessions even at a pretty limited spot develop organically. This spot can be somewhere that has been hit the same way a hundred times before, but you come out with something completely extraordinary and refreshing. What is going on in your head at these spots? Are you just naturally different? Or do you try hard to find that unusual angle, that unorthodox trick?
I appreciate others’ ways of riding. I like to respect their style by creating something that is my own and maybe a different angle at looking at something. I’m not keen on replicating others’ riding as I feel that is their way of looking at it and it should be left to them to view it that way.
You recently went on a winch trip from Florida northward into New England riding regions where few have before you, and hitting spots even fewer knew existed. Was this your first van dwelling winch trip? How did this all come about? and Do you see more of these wanderlusting excursions in your future?
The trip up the east coast was my first van dwelling trip and came about when I was extended an invitation from Bammer Rehn, Nick Taylor and Mitch Cobb to join them on the journey. After such an amazing experience I see myself taking more trips like this in the future.
Is somewhere in particular you would like to go on your next wakeskate trip? What places are you eager to explore to wakeskate?
There are a lot of places I would like to go but there isn’t anywhere in particular on my radar. Wherever I can ride with other people is good with me. I’m eager to explore more places not yet visited by wakeskating yet.
Grabs pretty much disappeared in the core of wakeskating about six years ago. How have you managed to bring them back here in 2015 with such style and poise? What inspired you to start grabbing your board in the first place?
Grabbing is fun! I don’t mind if it’s not cool or a past way of wakeskating, I enjoy it.
Do you take influence from other things to push your riding? Do other sports inspire your wakeskating? Do other people or riders’ styles influence the way you want to ride? If so who in particular?
Skateboarding is the most apparent influence on the way I wakeskate. I can’t say any one person in particular influences my riding, rather I try to acknowledge the things I can learn from anyone riding a wakeskate no matter their skill level. I think everyone has something we can learn from them.
Do you watch many video parts of wakeskating? Are there any specific videos or sections that get you stoked or motivated to get out there and shred? What about them were so appealing?
I try to keep up with the video parts as they come out, I haven’t been the best at learning the histroy of wakeskating which is something I plan to work on. As I have gotten more involved and deeper into wakeskating I have scrounged the wake sites to watch any recent videos of wakeskating that I can. It’s another way of learning to ride to me. At the time I became more intertwined with wakeskating Good Ratio and Human Rocket came out. Other than my friends I grew up with wakeskating I had never met any other wakeskaters or seen any of them ride until the weekend of the Good Ratio premiere. With Human Rocket premiering around the same time and seeing the guys from both videos ride and being within proximity of them, these videos are real special to me.
Will this be your first part in a full length wakeskate video? What makes a good video part in your eyes?
Yes it will be. I think a good video part is made by pushing yourself to be better and advance your riding.
What are you expecting from Istudiomo?
I don’t have any expectations other than I think it will make people happy.
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Photography by Andrew Roehm
Cinematography by Andrew Roehm and Mitchell Cobb