Hard Work Disguised as Luck Twenty-seven is not young in wakeboard years, but Fooshee still glides around the course, pulling off one huge aerial trick after another. He makes it look almost effortless, and not just to the wakeboard novice. “Tom doesn’t fall,” offered TSR’s Carrie Woodard, matter-of-factly. “One day somebody came inside and said, ‘Tom fell,’ and I said, ‘You’re kidding me, right?’” Fooshee claims he’s lucky to still be at the top of his game at his age. “Everybody else is younger. We got a guy who’s on his way to becoming the next best thing. He’s 14. My next closest competitor is like 21, 22 years old. There’s no one in the second half of their twenties. So, there’s a big gap between me and the other guys.” But there’s definitely a lot more than luck involved in Fooshee’s continued reign. For one, he has been dedicated to his sport since the beginning–both on and off the water–revolving his life around the sport and committing himself to constant improvement. He developed and perfected some of his earliest wakeboard maneuvers not behind the boat, but on the backyard trampoline. “I was always jumping around on that, and I made things, like stapling some shoes to a skateboard,” Fooshee recalled. “And I’d have a handle with a rope tied to a tree. Now I really see that that stuff kicked in. It obviously helped me progress at a faster rate than I probably would have without.”
Even when he was doing the “typical high school thing” and playing football and running track at Round Rock’s McNeil High School, Fooshee was still logging consistent time on the water. “I’d go out and pull my high school buddies on a tube. I’d wear them out for about five minutes, and then I’d get two or three sets of them pulling me wakeboarding,” Fooshee recalled, grinning at the advantageous arrangement. When Fooshee made the wakeboard team at TSR, all that time behind the boat and on the trampoline turned into even more time on the cable. “Being a part of the team, I got to ride in the park for free,” he said. “I was just driving down here all the time to ride this cable.” Those regular commutes to ride the cable continued through Fooshee’s first and only year at Austin Community College (ACC). But he quickly altered even his college venue so that it better fit his wakeboard regimen and kept him closer to TSR. Fooshee recalled his epiphany, asking himself, “‘What am I doing going to ACC, driving all this distance? I could be going to Texas State and live right here and do this even more.’” So the decision was made, with wakeboarding considerations trumping even long-held allegiances. “I chose my university–because I’m a Longhorn at heart, still am–but I chose to be a Bobcat specifically because [TSR] was here. I always wanted to go to UT. My mom’s a UT alum[nus]. Both of my grandfathers worked at UT; one was a
He developed and perfected some of his earliest wakeboard maneuvers not behind the boat, but on the backyard trampoline.
Catch the Wake
Bringing the Sport of Wakeboarding to the Masses By Courtenay Verret
chool is out, warmer temperatures are here, and many Austinites will agree that the best way to stay cool and active for the next three months is to hit the water. There is no shortage of swimming holes, lakes, and water parks in Central Texas, but if you’re looking to try something different this summer—say, a water sport that provides both a thrill and a fullbody workout—then consider joining the increasing number of men and women across the globe who are stoking out on wakeboarding. Once a fringe pastime of surfers and skateboarders, today wakeboarding is an officially sanctioned sport that is growing in popularity every day. (Continued on page 72)
Jimmy Redmon carves on his Redline design on Lake Austin, late '80s
The Outside Issue with #1 Cable Wakeboarder, Tom Fooshee, as the cover feature.