They say you need to put 10,000 hours into something to become a master at it. Mitchell Cobb is on the fast track to be the first wakeskate filmer to do that. No filmer in wakeskating has even come close to putting out the number of video projects and collaborations as Mitchell Cobb. Over the course of the last decade Cobb has been excelling at his craft. It’s incredible to believe to this day every one of his latest releases is an improvement on the one that came before it. That sort of consistency and excellence from a creative in wakeskating is rare and should be honored. Cobb is an inspiration to this film and we are humbled that he is collaborating with us on Istudiomo.
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Can you give a quick rundown of your gear and what you have been shooting with these days?
Canon 6d, Canon 7d, Canon 70-200mm L IS II, 2.8 Canon 16-35mm L II, 2.8 Canon 15mm Fisheye, Canon 50mm 1.4, Panasonic HVX-200a, Manfrotto 701HDV Fluid head, Manfrotto Carbon Fiber Photography tripod (to keep things light-weight), and Incase bags to keep things safe!
I have been putting a lot of time into shooting with dslr’s. I am an avid video camera user but have really been stoked on the durability and light weight feel of a dslr. I recently just bought me a brand new HVX-200 for the arsenal because I feel most at home with it and the post-production workflow in Final Cut helps speed up editing. A Fluid head tripod, long lens, umbrella and a mic… can’t go wrong with that.
What is your favorite facet of wakeskating to shoot? Chase sets? Winch missions? Cable days?
Nothing beats hanging out on some seadoos with 4-5 of your friends getting footage. Its awesome being able to ride so close to the rider filming chase. Talking with them on if the shot looked good, or what they should try. It’s one of my favorite things to film. Its fun to film winching but you can see a winch clip and not know how many times it took to land that certain trick, or what the sketch factor is at the spot. You have to see the trick done in person or hear from the winch driver what happened that day. I enjoy seeing consistency in wakeskating because wakeskating needs more of it. Witnessing a rider land 6-10 tricks within one clip is really impressive to me (with style of course).
What were some wakeskating videos from your past that were a big influence on you to create your own? What about them were so meaningful?
I actually never watched wakeskate videos before I started filming. I met Blake Steele, Josh Norman and Ryan Lemons one day riding on the Amite and they had a video camera. I had already graduated from Full Sail with some knowledge of a camera and editing and things just went from there. The more I filmed, the more I learned, and then learned about other wakeskate videos. The intensity of Nick Taylor’s Volume 6 part really stands out to me. It gets my hyped.
You’ve probably made more wakeskate videos than anyone else in the community. How did you manage to do that? How do you stay committed and keep things fresh? That is no easy task.
Having three professional riders living within a 30 minute drive really helped out a lot. The Bayou Boys [Blake, Josh, and Ryan] were so consistent it was easy to put out so many quick web edits. The fact that I-10 was a major thruway from Texas to Florida really helped as well. Having dedicated riders hanging out, passing through was a treat and it opened the doors to more videos. Then add in all the plane tickets and trips I set out on by myself to California, Texas and Florida kept things fresh so I was always having fun doing what I was doing.
What was it like riding and documenting wakeskating in the bayou of Louisiana?
It is very easy up until you have to find some winch spots. Down here all we have are bayous, lakes and rivers. There is not a lot of elevation change or hard ground to create a natural or man made dam that is hittable. The ones we do have are very dangerous due to the currents of our bayous during our storms. One day of rain can flood everything. A lot of ski sets, boat sets and shore winching is done and its fucking great and works awesome for filming.
That place has a lot of history. A lot wakeskating’s best talent came out Louisiana. You mostly documented Blake Steele, Josh Norman, and Ryan Lemons how was it filming those guys?
The consistency was unreal. Still to this day I don’t think people realize how consistent Blake and Josh were for their age. No one was riding the way the Bayou Boys were. Being so close, we were able to say certain things and do certain things to motivate and push their riding to the next stage. We would fight and laugh all in the same day of course, that’s what friends do… but they sure would make it happen when the camera was on.
You eventually became sort of the unspoken manager for the Integrity wakeskates team in addition to being their designated filmer. How did that come about? Was it a responsibility that you wanted?
After making video after video, Erich took notice on my work and saw the relationship I had with the Louisiana crew, and also Anna Maria’s finest Nick [Taylor] and Andrew [Fortenberry]. He pretty much asked if I wanted to help out. Our relationship grew into working on a team video, organizing team trips and trying to keep everyone connected. I really enjoyed the job. I loved it to be honest. Companies have their way in action sports and everyone involved then is now involved in something they are passionate about which is what made us such a family.
You then went on to become the graphic designer for the brand. You created their 2012 board graphics, and on top of everything else you were the producer, director, and filmer for their first and only full-length team video ‘Ride Among Us’. You slowly became the centerpiece of the company. You managed the team, filmed the team, and toward the end were creating the graphics. Did you enjoy that? Was it something you felt you needed to do?
Graphic Design is actually what I enjoy doing most. Filming is just something I picked up when I met Blake, Josh, Ryan, Nick, Andrew, Gabe, Collin, Dave and Jen. It was a true blessing watching them ride and being apart of their style of riding. I would tell them to do things again even though I know I captured the first one, because I knew they could do it bigger, better and with more power. At that specific moment in my life, I needed to be the guy to document Integrity. Erich was producing a superior product with a talented team. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Since then Integrity Wakeskates has shrunk a great deal mostly stopped producing and are essentially no longer are a part of the current progression of wakeskating. They left a lasting impact that will be looked back on fondly and appreciated, but they won’t be making the trip on with the rest of us. What is your plans now with your future in the industry? How do you plan to move forward?
I just want to keep documenting wakeskating the way I want people to see it. I keep in touch with most of the team to this day and recently last year just started helping Nick work with O’Neill on some travel projects when we have time. Its comfortable to film and cut up with someone I have had the pleasure of working with for the past 7 years. Can’t forget about my west coast crew leader Keaton! I have been shooting with him since 2009ish and I won’t be stopping anytime soon.
You recently released one project with ex-team riders of yours Nick Taylor (now Remote wakeskates) and Andrew Fortenberry (now Obscura wakeskates). What was it like getting back to work with those guys?
Like we never skipped a beat. I feel it is more professional now. My filming is a little better and their riding has gone so far. Were making legit videos I feel like but still having a killer time and being friends. I am very close to Nick and Drew and it shows in our edits I think.
Are there any people that you hope to work with in the future? Any new types of projects you would want to create?
I would really like to spend time with the Pasturas filming. I enjoy their style a lot. I would like to film a devise and conquer again but with one other filmer and us get to work together on the post production.
One your latest project titled ‘Summer Wine’ was received really well from the community. Is community feedback important to you? Do you take viewers opinions positive and negative seriously?
I make these videos for the community, to give them something to love or hate. But honestly, how could you hate on 12 minutes of Nick, Andrew and Wootang shred spots in Florida? Ya bishhhhh
Do you have any pieces of wisdom for the aspiring wakeskating filmers and photographers out there?
Spend the money and get decent equipment that will last. Take time and learn about your equipment and for Pete’s sake, watch a tutorial on graphics in a video. Keep it lean, keep it mean and keep it interesting.
Cinematography by Mitchell Cobb
Photography by Andrew Roehm