30 Jun TRIP | STATE SIDE
STATE SIDE by Louis Floyd & Jon Shrimpton
This much-awaited trip to Orlando has been on the cards for a while. Myself and Jonboy (Jon Shrimpton) have been talking about going to the states to shoot for a long time, but life has always gotten in the way.
Finally, in the same place at the same time, Jon stayed at my place for a few days while working in London. Chilling out, having a catch up over a cup of tea, I jokingly said «Jon, let’s just go to Orlando for a few weeks and we can ride and shoot everyday», Jon laughed it off like I’d never said it. I couldn’t let the idea go, so started looking at flights and found a couple of cheap ones that were leaving the following Tuesday. Again I said, «Jon, we should just go to Orlando”. A mischievous grin exchanged and it was a done deal, we were going.
“One of the main reasons for this trip was to get promo shots for my collab board with Surface 2 Air Sports (S2AS). My Signature board was launched late 2016, I was honoured when asked to work with Angelo (S2AS) and Slingshot on a board, bit of a life moment for me. We chose the Reflex; it’s a board I’ve been riding for a while so all we had to do was work on the graphics. It was important for us to represent our individual backgrounds with Surface 2 Air Sports being a UK based company, and with me being Irish. Fitchen over at Slingshot HQ came up with a graphic that really represented us both and now all we needed were the images, so roll on Orlando!”
Once we had the flights booked, Jon and I had to figure out how to take full advantage of the ten days worth of riding. After spending a few weeks riding cable out in Thailand, I really wanted to get back on the boat.
Day 1: One phone call, the day was sorted and we’d organized to spend it with Jeff McKee and Dylan Miller. McKee has a beast of a wake that takes a little getting used to if you haven’t ridden in a while so this was the perfect start to our week for both of us, me to get back riding behind a boat and for Jon to get his eye in.
Day 2: We hit Valdosta Wake Compound; Valdosta has to be my favorite park in the US. Quinn and Luke have set up one of the most relaxed feeling wake parks I have ever been to. It was also one for Jon to tick off his bucket list and he was super excited to shoot the unique rails and setups that you don’t normally see.
Jon was in his element, in and out of the pool gap more times than a kid at his local swimming pool, he must have ran a marathon around the lake shooting everything he could. He’s the most active photographer I have ever seen, trying to get everything he needed all in one day.
Day 3: We really wanted a chill after the first couple of days being so heavy. We were being joined in the afternoon by my best half Mel and a few of the guys from the UK who were over in the US working and riding, with a few days spare to hang out before they left for home.
We woke up, had breakfast, and couldn’t help ourselves; Jon being a system 2 rider really wanted to hit OWC and I decided to have a few laps while we were there, so Jon could get the water housing out and get some shots from in the water.
Everyone turned up on time and we were quick making the decision to get out on the boat for an afternoon of Wake surfing. Lee Debuse and myself took it upon ourselves to teach Jon how to Wake surf. He loved it and we really had a laugh teaching him. How he explains his riding is, “I’m like an elephant on water”, which isn’t far from the truth. We ended a perfect day with a Sunset shoot, which made for some epic shots to add to the portfolio.
For the next few days, because we had help with the boat, we ventured out on it everyday mixing it up between Wakeboarding, Wakesurfing and Wakefoiling.
Only having a number of days left of our trip, the temperature in Orlando dropped quite drastically. Despite this, we tried to make the best of it and ventured once again to OWC.
The weather had everyone in wetsuits and I don’t know if it’s stubbornness or dealing with cold English springs but I decided to ride in board shorts: big mistake, it was freezing. Orlando’s winters are like England’s summers so I shouldn’t moan and we had a great shoot getting all the shots we needed.
When I first started riding all I wanted to do was Wakeboard, it was an obsession at first, but after a while I wanted to try something new, that’s when I tried out Wakeskating. I wakeskated for a few years but in the end I switched back to Wakeboarding. The experience though, along with my passion for being out on the water, made me realize how much I liked learning something new.
One thing that makes me so grateful for the sponsors I have is that they allow me to do what I want, especially with Slingshot, who lets me test all their boards from Wakeboards to Wakesurfers, and now their new Wakefoiler. This brings me to the Slingshot Wakefoil.
“The Slingshot Wakefoiler came out at the beginning of this year. Slingshot unveiled the foiler at Surf Expo and I had the opportunity to be one of the first to ride it with the Slingshot team when Jeff brought it around after the event for us to try. As a kid, I had ridden the original hydrofoils so I understood how the board worked. I instantly fell in love and the last few times Jeff has invited me out, I’ve only wanted to ride the foil.”
Riding a Foil gives you the feeling of gliding across the water with no interruption, a strange silence that you don’t get with another water sport.
The 24” shaft allows it to ride well in glassy or choppy conditions. You can ride it without straps to carve and glide or you can add a set of straps to do airs and different grabs. You also don’t need the biggest and best boat on the market, you can foil anywhere from 10mph to 18mph depending on what level of rider you are. I would recommend slower speeds in the beginning until you are comfortable riding it. The foil itself comes with a beginner shaft that is 15” and an advanced shafts, which is around 24” you can also get an additional 35” shaft.
Fast-forward to our last afternoon Jon was leaving that night so we had to fit in one last ride on the boat. Slingshot had just sent over the 35” shaft and I wasn’t heading home without trying it out.
From the beginning of the trip Jon had a sick idea for a shot, we just never got the opportunity to get it. This was it, water housing on, he was half in and half out of the water and had found a couple of cypress trees to frame the image he wanted. Not one to ruin Jon’s big ideas I agreed to try and Foil on a three- foot shaft in only a foot and a half worth of water, which was pretty difficult and sketchy. I managed to keep my cool and rode the foil through 100 feet of shallow water to pass Jon in the right place. Jon and I have worked together for a few years now and I’ve learned when you hear screaming and shouting and look back to see Jon jumping around we’ve gotten the shot. That was it, we had captured everything.
The trip went too quick but I can guarantee we’ll be back out to Orlando soon enough.
I’d like to give a big thank you to all my sponsors: Slingshot, Ride Engine, and S2AS, thanks to Jon for taking some epic shots and all the people that helped us while we were out here.
“Make sure you check out my signature board in store or online at www.s2as.com”.