New Blood : Simon Paton
We love seeing new faces in our sport and that’s what the “New Blood” series is all about, we sit down and chat to the newcomers to the tour and find out more about them aswell as introduce you to them so get to know who you are watching when you see them shred!
In light of the upcoming tour stop in Ballito, we decided to Simon Paton in the hot seat, who took the win at the final stop in the amateur division last year (His first wakeskate comp). Simon has become a regular fixture at The Dirty Habits Playground, putting in many hours on the board, he’s not afraid to charge the rails and has really stepped up his game in preparation for his debut in the Open/Pro Division in Ballito. Here’s what he had to say…
Howzit Simon, hit us with the basics first off, age, stance and hometown?
26, Regular, Port Elizabeth
Liquid Force Tao 39
Favourite riding spot you’ve been to?
The classic answer.. CWC bi-level
So tell how you got into wakeskating, how it evolved for you and what other boardsports keep you busy?
I grew up between St Francis Bay and Port Elizabeth, being small coastal towns, you have to make your own fun.. I have been surfing for about 12 years and the progression into other boardsports was pretty organic. I got into downhill skateboarding 6 years ago and competed on the national racing scene, when I moved to Cape Town I was lucky enough to have Jason Colborne introduce me to wakepark riding, after meeting Sean Bacon and buying my first wakeskate from him.. The rest is history
I know you are quite the multi talented boardsportsman, being a pretty good surfer and not afraid to bomb some hills on a skateboard. How do you think those backgrounds have influenced your wakeskating.
It has definitely helped with my confidence and control on a board, translating skills between boardsports is easy and they all compliment one another in some way.
What is it about wakeskating that love compared to other sports like surfing or skating?
The thing about surfing is that you always run the risk of getting skunked, taking a long trip to a beach of choice and getting sloppy or no waves – there are so many variables that need to line up for a good session, not to mention the time it takes to get your quota of waves. Wakeskating is a lot easier to focus on skills and get quality riding time guaranteed, it’s also a super social environment where you get to meet and mix with passionate people from all over the world.
So last year you entered your first wakeskate competition and ended up taking the win in the AM division at No Worries in the Quarry on your local turf, the Dirty Habits Playground, how was that experience and how are you feeling about stepping up to the pro division this year?
I only did it because it was at my home cable, to be honest.. I’m not a very competitive person by nature, I’m just having fun, pushing myself to feed my need for progression. I definitely didn’t have any expectations going into the ‘no worries’ stop, super stoked to come out with the W against some stiff competition in Andrew Nero and Kiera Booker. Riding Pro is a massive step up from Am and I’m just riding to push and expose myself to the level of riding the SA Wakeskate Tour has to offer.
So your first event you are competing in this season is The Ballito Jam, how are you feeling going into it and are you preparing for it in anyway or just going into it to ride and have fun?
I had to give the first stop a skip, but I’m super excited to be riding in The Ballito Jam with the guys! I have been working on consistency and a few new tricks and lines for the last couple weeks but comp or no comp, I am always pushing myself. So in short, I’m just going to ride, progress and have fun.
I’ve sensed a little bit of a friendly rivalry between you other newcomer to the sport Andrew Nero, is it cool having someone at a similar age come into the sport at the same time, do you find it helps push each other to progress?
SImilar age? Andrew is almost a dinosaur but yes.. Andrew is an amazing skateboarder and he has come onto the scene with a bang – I don’t compare myself to anyone but we’re always stoked to ride together and push each other, trying new tricks and lines.
Who of the our local skaters on tour do you particularly enjoy watching or riding with?
I am lucky enough to ride with the Playground crew (Sean, Taco and Dylan) weekly and they all inspire me to try new things..
And who are some of your favourite international pros to watch?
Does Matty count?
What wakeskating plans have you got for the future, any specific tricks you want to learn or trips you want to take?
BS bigspins have been giving me some trouble and I guess I should try flip the board soon. I’ve got a lot of unfinished business at CWC too..
Any advice for new people wanting to get into the sport?
Have patience, it’s not as easy as it looks.
Any last words, shout outs or thanks?
Shout-out to the SA Wakeskate tour for giving us an opportunity to shred together and share the stoke!!