Collin Gee


Athlete

The smoothest rider on this roster, on and off the water. When the sport is relentlessly pushing forward with extreme technicality and complexity, Collin keeps his riding grounded with simplicity and style. Always staying true to his roots he never strays too far for too long from home. His infectious positivity makes him a magnetic personality in the sport. It’s surprising how much he does for growing the sport without even trying. With ease he’s able to get others motivated and on the water giving wakeskating a try, all by doing nothing more than being himself. Collin garners a lot of attention in all aspects of his life and what he does with that attention is always a treat. We’re excited and hoping that his part for Istudiomo will both draw an attentive crowd and leave them pleased.

Everyone knows the deal by this point. Let’s get this thing started, How old are you? Where are you from? How long have you been wakeskating? What is your primary riding stance?

I’m 25 years old. I was born and raised in Texas and currently live in Austin. I’ve been wakeskating for about 13 years now. I’m goofy y’all. 

How did you find wakeskating? It’s a bit of a hidden niche not only in action sports in general but even within the smaller water sports industry itself. When did you first step on the old wooden three stage?

My brother, Clint, introduced me to wakeboarding when I was 12. When I first got on the water, my dad, brother, and I were weekends warriors at the motocross track. Before long, my family fell in love with the aquatic lifestyle, sold the motorcycles and bought a Malibu. The first wakeskate I ever saw was the Brian Grubb SBG. At the time, I had just started skateboarding so when I laid eyes on this flat piece of wood with a foam top.. my imagination ran wild. I was 13. 

Why wakeskating? You started wakeboarding first with your brother and he’s still wakeboarding, what motivated you to make the switch over and unstrap permanently?

Skateboarding is what fueled the desire the most I’d say. When I wasn’t on the water or at school, I was on the concrete with my small town squad. I was attracted to the freedom and individuality of not being strapped in. Simply, I was having more fun wakeskating. So one day Clint and I had a heartfelt discussion about our love for the water and I decided to start wakeskating solely.  

You have a pretty interesting life. You are constantly experimenting and pushing the boundaries with different things. You are wakeskater, skateboarder, hiphop artist, skydiver, and a slew other interesting roles in life. What draws you into of these things and why does wakeskating fit in with the rest to you?

Some of my first memories are being above the clouds flying with my Dad. He’d stall the engine in the plane and it would simulate weightlessness.. and put the biggest smile on my face. It was moments like those that started shaping me as a human. At a young age I was hungry for adventure and adrenaline. When wakeskating came into the picture it coalesced with my personality well and pushed me to be better. Being able to express myself on the water became an inherent part of who I am. I’m thankful to do things I love with people I care about. 

What was it like coming up in wakeskating in Texas? When you really started to come up in the scene and push it on the water everybody who was anybody was in Florida. Did you ever seriously consider picking up and perching in Florida?

Coming up in Texas was a journey. When I first started riding I was living in a small town with hardly anyone but a few friends on the water. When I started traveling (first trip was to the Projects thanks to Madre and Pops) and riding with people outside of our crew is when I realized how connected the wake community really was. I took every opportunity available to make my way to the sunshine state, vibe out and progress with the Florida boys. So yeah, I’ve debated on packing up and making my way to Florida more times than I can count.

Texas has seen some extraordinary growth in the wake industry over the course of a short few years. The state churns out a new cable with every passing year with a whole slew of new riders along with them. Do you feel there is a vacuum there in terms of wakeskaters?

I miss Baytown Throwdown. Does that answer the vacuum question? [laughs] Absolutely, having that experience gives you the opportunity to set an example and share the stoke with other riders of all ages and skill levels. 

When you were coming up what guys were you looking up? Who were the guys that got you stoked to get on the water and push yourself? — How about now? Are there still the same faces pushing you or are there any new kids on the block that are getting you motivated to push your wakeskating?

When I first started learning I was studying the likes of Aaron Reed, Scott Byerly, Thomas Horrell, Brandon Thomas, Brian Grubb, Danny Hampson.. watching every video part I could get my hands on. Definitely some new kids on the block lighting a fire these days. Matti Buys, Ollie Moore, Coco Mendez, Cole Kraiss… the list goes on. 

What were some of your favorite video parts growing up? Which one’s did you have on repeat when learning? Is there a specific trick from a section in a video you stop and watched frame by frame to learn for yourself?

Dave Hanson’s part in Esoteric always gets me stoked on wakeskating. The Project video, ‘Genetics’ was on repeat for me back in the day. Pat Panakos, BT [Brandon Thomas] and [Ryan] Doyle all ripping the rail park and narrow boat lakes. I couldn’t get enough. I remember slowing down Justin Scott’s backside 540 bigspin in Flatline.. that was wild.  

From the beginning you were a real quick learner. You picked up on wakeskating really fast. Right out the gate you were focusing heavily on technicality with your wakeskating. It seems to be a different story today. Where is your head at now? And where are you looking to take your wakeskating in the future?

I want to continue to enjoy every second on the water. That’s the most important thing. Do what feels good, be creative, learn and push personal boundaries along the way.

Moving forward what is your approach when learning these new tricks or pursuing new spots? Is there a lot of psychology at play for you to overcome any difficulties on the water? Do you have any tips or tricks for anyone just beginning their time in wakeskating?

I’d say the approach on learning new tricks or pursuing new spots is being persistent and patient. Hell yeah, there’s always psychology at play. It’s a mind game and seems to be a balance of maintaining confidence and humility. My advice would be to go outside, wakeskate with your friends, don’t take things too seriously and have fun!

You have been at Project Wakeskates now for almost three years. A pretty low-key company in the wakeskate industry based out of Brazil. What has that been like for you? What should people be expecting from you all in the coming season?

It’s been rewarding to witness the growth and influence of such an organic company in the place it originated. You can feel the love Brazil has for wakeskating from across the globe and that’s a family I’m thankful to call my own. People should be expecting progress from Project. Not only in the construction of our boards and products but in the way we present wakeskating to the world.

You’re latest part was in fact your announcement video for joining Project. Do you have any other wakeskate projects (pardon the pun) in the works to come out in the future?

Indeed, Andrew Roehm and I spent a ridiculous amount of time together in the process of filming that part.. and somehow still love the guy somehow [laughs]. As most people know that are reading this, we are all working on Istudiomo. Excited would be an understatement.

What is your ideal wakeskate trip? Are you hopping on a flight to somewhere exotic or remote? Or are you packing up the van and setting off for somewhere domestically? What does this ideal wakeskate trip consist of?

My ideal wakeskate trip would be to an exotic destination. Somewhere clandestine, uninhabited and challenging with a crew of trues ready for the mission. Maybe a helicopter ride deep into a rainforest surrounded by ancient ruins and aqueducts, winching an oasis.

Where do you see wakeskating going moving growing geographically and progressively in the future?

Grassroots initiatives will always be a way for wakeskating to grow in any particular area. Much of the progression relies on us to continue pushing not only ourselves, but those around us to be innovative and expressive on the water. Whether that be behind a four-wheeler in a flooded ditch in your neighborhood, a boat in a perfect cove on your hometown river or winching a drop under the only bridge in the city. It’s all about coming together and making things happen. It will forever be a team effort. I also see wakeskating becoming available to a larger percentage of the population with more cable parks being built throughout the world.

What are you expecting from Istudiomo?

 I’m expecting the lifestyle of wakeskating to be captured in such a magnificent way as to make anyone fall in love with it… no pressure.

 

Cinematography by Andrew Roehm

Photography by Andrew Roehm and Evan Molina