Editor’s Note: Twenty-five-year-old Reed Hansen of Clermont, Florida, is the current reigning and seven-time World Champion Wakeskater and is one of the newest members of the Mossy Oak Pro Staff. The sport of wakeskating was born about 15-20 years ago, and Hansen was one of the pioneers of this new water sport. Like you, many at Mossy Oak didn’t know what a wakeskater was until Hansen gave us his information. Reed Hansen probably has one of the most-interesting jobs of anyone on the Mossy Oak Pro Staff.
I started wakeboarding about the same time I began hunting (when I could walk). I competed in wakeboard tournaments when I was really young, but the sport of wakeboarding became just a competition for me. I competed in the Junior Division and won the World Champion Junior Boys’ Division and then moved up to the Boys’ Division and won the World Championship in it. I was on track to be a professional wakeboarder, but then my best friend, Matt Manzari, and I discovered wakeskating. We both got wakeskate boards, started goofing round with them and decided wakeskating was a great sport. But neither of us was thinking about trying to become professional wakeskaters. We started wakeskating because it felt right to us, and we had fun on the wakeskate boards. When you’re having fun, you don’t feel like you’re working. When I was training and competing with the wakeboard, I felt like I was working. Soon every day, four times a day, Matt and I would wakeskate and learn tricks.
Some of the people who came to my mom and dad’s school told us we were some of the best wakeskaters they’d ever seen, because they had gone to wakeskating competitions. They hadn’t seen anyone throwing tricks like Matt and I were doing. Matt and I had bought some videos back in the early days of wakeskating and had watched them over and over and over. We hoped to understand what these pros were doing when they left the water on their wakeskate boards and did tricks in the air. We’d watch the videos in slow motion to learn how these competitors were moving their wakeskating boards to do tricks. Next we practiced doing the tricks from the videos on the trampoline. Matt and I both had quite a few injuries while we were learning the new sport of wakeskating. I even got knocked out on the water, practicing tricks when the wakeskating board hit me in the head. But I had a life jacket on, and people in the boat got to me. I simply had to have a few stitches put in my head.
When my dad saw how much time and energy I was putting in to wakeskating, he was totally against me participating in this sport. He told me, “Reed, you’re so good at wakeboarding and have a chance to become a professional wakeboarder. You need to put your time and energy into training for wakeboarding, instead of this wakeskating.” When your dad tells you something he thinks you should do, and you’re 14-years old, more than likely you’ll do exactly the opposite, which is what happened to me. I agreed to wakeboard first and get my training time in that I needed to be competitive. However, then I’d play around with my wakeskating board.
The second year after I started wakeskating, I finished second on the Junior Men’s Wakeboard circuit and also won the first event of The Wakeskate Tour. When I won my first Wakeskate Tour event, my dad said, “Whoa, I didn’t know you were that good at wakeskating.” I went on to win another event on The Wakeskate Tour, and I was only 15-years old. Finally my dad told me, “You’re better at wakeskating than you are at wakeboarding. Wakeskating is your love, and you need to chase it.” When I won my first World Championship, I just thought I’d gotten lucky.
As I look to the future I want to wakeskate as long as I can, and I want to use my position as a World Champion Wakeskater to help tell people why I love hunting, why I like Mossy Oak, and why I wear Mossy Oak anytime I go hunting when I’m not competing.