PLAY: A Wakeboard Collage Series

A few summers back, before I made the move to Orlando, I remember cleaning out my room and finding my old stash snowboard and wakeboard magazines over the years. Being the sentimental person that I am, I thought it'd be cool to keep them all to look back on, but also being the perfectionist that I am, not having the full collection I knew I once had left me with a mixed-matched batch of mags that were all out of order and disorganized...so I trashed (eh, recycled) every single one. (And maybe I was pledging allegiance to Wake Journal at the time too, I don't know).  

But flash forward a few years to this past summer, and as I prepped for my move here to Vermont, I found one single Wakeboarding Magazine that had slipped through the cracks after all these years.

It was a Gear Guide Issue from 2013 I believe with Jeff House on the cover (coming off his laundry list of injuries if I recall correctly). As I sat back and flipped through the issue, seeing BP with long hair, Twelker with short hair, and the initial hype of the first ever G23s, the memories and pure joys of squeaking in every ounce of ride time back in middle school and high school as a teenager hit me real hard.

Those riders, their gear, and the photos that brought it all to life in that magazine (and others like it) were the only source I had to the world of wakeboarding outside my own little rural river in Virginia. And because of that, there was nobody to tell my brother and I the right way or wrong way to interpret what we saw in magazines. No advice, no trick tips, and certainly no pressure. We simply gathered what we had, got stoked, filled up the gas, and played as much as we could.

And it was the most raw and honest state of play we knew.

So, as I'm holding the long lost and last remaining Wakeboarding Mag in my stash, I decided to recreate that journey of play through a series of collages.

I've never really been an artist, but as a kid, I used to always cut out bits and pictures of these action sports magazines and rearrange them on my doors, or slap stickers on my board setups in clever ways, or even hang posters with some sort of design system in place. It always fascinated me that you could take a photograph, sticker, or poster and rearrange it yourself to create something that not only looked different, but said something totally different by placing it next to or on top of something that felt new. It's no wonder why I found collage to be my favorite medium while I was in design school. And looking back, that same playful spirit was there for me in collage as well.

So together, with the two most natural forms of "play" I knew as a kid, here are four original collages created only from that sole surviving Wakeboarding Magazine I found this summer.

The visual inspiration for this came from one of my favorites, Jesse Draxler. Not only am I highly drawn to the emotion and style shown in his work, but I love the clean and minimal approach he uses in this medium that can sometimes be stereotyped as "messy" or "random". Also with each collage I brought in a piece of nature, as to represent and symbolize the raw and organic state of play throughout this artistic process and the emotion behind wakeboarding itself. (They're not perfect, and neither is the scanning I did, but enjoy! More to come for sure.)

Would love to hear your thoughts, comments, and which one is your favorite!

Cheers,
Ben


Josh Twelker — Wakeboard: Boat

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Aaron Reed — Wakesurf

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Raph Derome — Wakeboard: Cable

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Reed Hansen & Brenton Priestley — Wakeskate & Wakeboard: Boat

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