Wakeboarder Jeff McKee: TransWorld Pro Spotlight
Words: Shawn Perry Photos:Bryan Soderlind
Jeff McKee just wants to have fun. Now, that may seem like a real carefree ethos to live by, but believe it or not, McKee has an extensive, strategic plan to ensure he has fun for the rest of his life. Sound ridiculous? Well, in some ways it is, but if you think about it, he’s actually spot on. After all, every goal-driven person sets his sights on something. For some, it’s monetary success. For others, family is their focus. Regardless of their motivation, they all have a plan. So why shouldn’t a free-loving, enjoy-life’s-little-pleasures guy like McKee have a game plan for a lifetime of good times? Taking it as it comes is one thing, but McKee’s mantra is a little more vigilant. He’s working hard for his fun. In order to keep up a lifestyle as good as a pro wakeboarder residing in Winter Park, Florida, McKee must remain one step ahead of the pack, constantly staying at the forefront of what’s cool. As a result, sitting down with a guy like McKee can be a real eye-opener. His outlook on the sport is different from most, but his approach to life in general is even more original.
For this interview, how about we skip the “how you got into riding” and all that. For sure. I’m saving that for my autobiography anyway.
That said, your professional career has been pretty unique. How have you approached it? Well, the fun part for me is that it has always been more than just wakeboarding. I was always doing articles for the magazines and being involved with companies like Slingshot a bunch too. They are almost like distractions in a sense, and that keeps my riding fresh. When it’s time for me to actually hit the water, I can finally clear my head of deadlines and genius marketing ideas and just focus on the moves.
There are a lot of facets to wakeboarding for you beyond riding, then. Yeah, I’ve always tried to think beyond being just a rider. I mean, there are a million wakeboarders, and they can all do every single trick, so if you don’t have something to offer off the water, you become very disposable. It’s almost not even about the tricks as much as it is about the personality or being some sort of standout character in wakeboarding. Personally, I’m not going to be the technical guy who does every spin and flip, but I want to be known for the things I do and be the best at doing them.
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