We called up legendary West Coast-style water skier Marcus Brown a few days ago to talk to him about his motivation behind the video FlowPoint, as well as the development and lifestyle of Freeride skiing. Brown has had significant influence on our sport over the years, from his West Coast skiing style to the new era of Freeride skiing and trying to expand our sport beyond the typical six-buoy course.
History of FlowPoint?
At the end of one day I was bummed with the lack of good content in our sport. Since I first made that mental note that someone needs to step up and do something, guys like the Wilson Brothers and/or Adam [Sedlmajer] are starting to do some cool stuff. I think people are on the right track and it’s fun to be a part of this kind of immediate movement where other skiers are getting involved. With FlowPoint I’m trying to do something different than what everybody else is doing. At the core of FlowPoint TV is the idea that, if I go out and run 39 ½ off in the world championships on the river in Russia, that feeling I get is the same feeling that a beginner skier gets when they get up for the first time, or a recreational skier gets when they are the only ones on a public lake in the morning at 6.15am shredding as the sun is coming up, just free skiing. That feeling…, that moment in time where you are just completely in the now, you’re on autopilot and nothing else matters. Flow. That feeling is not just unique to elite level athletes. I think anybody, whether it’s on a water ski or on a tennis court or in any sport, is able to have that experience. That’s where I got the whole idea for FlowPoint.
So is the bigger idea or message you’re trying to send out with FlowPoint that water skiing is not just about skiing in the course but the passion behind why we do it?
Totally. Because when you look at what we do and you look at what, no offense, but you look at what WATERSKI magazine does, you look at what all of our industry leaders do, like boat companies, ski companies, most everybody in the industry talks to their competition skier, Only. So what I’m trying to do is start the dialogue with recreational skiers and be that hand that reaches out to that bigger, much bigger base of skiers who are just skiing for fun or learning to ski, or people who have never skied a course but they love to ski on weekends in the summer. Those people don’t even know we exist and that’s what FlowPoint is really trying to do is reach across that gap and say, “Guys we’re here for you, We like what you do. We love your lake life, and we love living it. Sharing it.” But also to say, hey competitive skiers open your eyes. There’s more than just going around buoys every day all day. If you really want to grow our sport you can’t just keep talking to the same closed group of people every year. So that’s the bigger picture.
The idea of the Freeride ski, was that your idea?
That’s been my idea for five or six years. Maybe longer. I was talking to my buddy Glen Plake (think Mohawk) who is an avid water skier too. He and I have been getting around this idea that there needs to be a ski that’s not just for “racing.” It’s just like on snow. They don’t build race skis only. There’s also free ride skis and skis that are for the whole mountain. So that kind of planted the seed. Then really a lot of it was Dave Wingerter at HO and Bob LaPoint saying ok let’s do this. They believed in my idea and they took the bull by the horns and they shaped the first ski. They sent it to me and I hand shaped it up. That’s what started the free ride movement. Straight after that is when Radar came out with their Satori and some other skis tried to say we have free rides too. I think we’re the first ones to actually offer a true Freeride. It has a unique design that nobody has really done yet.
When did the HO Freeride ski first come out?
It was in 2012.
You’ve been struggling with some major back issues the last couple years. Are you able to at least still ride your HO Freeride ski? Is this a good alternative also for skiers who aren’t fit to run a course?
Yes I definitely free ride and totally! Not just that but people who don’t think they can ski anymore maybe cause their body’s beat up. Maybe it’s not their back, maybe it’s their knee or their hip. That’s what we tried to design the free ride for. For people who either have a hard time getting up because of an injury or they’re learning how to get up. The free ride is the only ski that’s as easy to get up on as it is and still be performance based. It can still carve and cut through the wakes because it’s not really that fat than any other ski that’s trying to be easy for people to get up on.
What are the top 3 most scenic free ride places?
Lake Powell is probably the top scenic place. There’s really no other place like it. I think another one that is really beautiful but you have to be an early bird, is Lake Tahoe. It’s amazing to ski on. Especially when the sun just comes up and theres still steam coming off of the water. It’s rad. And then Crescent Bar which is on the Columbia River. That’s a pretty unique place to ski. The whole Columbia River Gorge is pretty amazing.
Can we expect to see more awe-inspiring FlowPoint videos soon?
I hope to do quite a few. But I can’t promise anything right now. It’s one thing to put together like a one or two minute edit of the week but to do like a ten minute epic story takes a lot more. I’m definitely planning on doing something more regular. I can’t say for sure yet because I’m still trying to get funding to make it happen. It’s hard. I mean one of my sponsors is totally on board [HO] you know probably because we make the Freeride – they’re like “Yeah let’s do this. This is rad!” And then everybody else is like “..well, we don’t really get it.”