Kyle Rattray - The InterviewKyle Rattray is one of Canada's top wakeboarders. In the past few years he's gone from a local rider in Haliburton to an X-Cup Tour Champ in Ontario to a top Pro on the US Pro Wakeboard Tour. He's also one of the nicest guys on the tour.
SC: Can you give us a little info about your wakeboarding background?
I grew up “cottageing” in Haliburton Ontario. My family water-skied, tubed, the whole deal. I rented a wakeboard from a local shop up there, and since that day haven't stopped yet. I entered a few local tournaments called the X-Cup, and started doing fairly well in a few. I met Gerry Nunn at Wakestock one year, he invited me to come ride at his house, and the rest is history. I started going down to Orlando a lot to ride, train, learn new things, and each year from then on I keep accomplishing things I never thought possible.
SC: Can you briefly describe a day in the life of Kyle when you’re not traveling?
Most days I'll wake up and eat, then me and Chad (Sharpe), my roommate, will go out on the lake and ride. We live right on the water so it’s real easy to jump in the backyard and go for a set. There are a lot of other pros on this lake so we usually spend a good part of the day in the boat riding with each other. Some days I work at the boarding school with Shaun Murray and Travis Moye. Those days start at 8:30 in the am. I'll head out to the camp, and coach in the boat all day, do a little riding, then make my way home again to have another set before the sun goes down at home.
SC: It’s pretty tough to break through on the Pro Tour and make it to the top tier. What helped you get there?
There is a long list of people who have helped me get there. But I think what I've learned the most is being confident on the dock, and having your game plan set well before your ride and sticking to it. For me I'm still trying to get it all locked down 100% of the time. It takes a lot of experience to understand how it works. You can train all you want, but actually riding in the contest is the only way to gain that kind of confidence. The more you put yourself out there and experience first hand how it is to compete in an environment like that, the sooner it will start to become not so overwhelming and you can just focus on your riding. It’s hard though. I'm just starting to think I got it under control.
SC: I’d take a wild guess and say that Glen Fletcher has played an important part in helping you get to the level that you’re at now. What’s the most important thing he’s taught you?
Yeah Glen has helped me a lot in the past. He's a really good coach to help people come up. What’s helped me the most is riding everyday with Chad and all the boys. The level of average out on our lake was a lot higher than I had ever seen before. Being in the boat watching Chad Rusty, Waston and Tino all ride forces you to step your game up and bring your level of a normal average set a lot higher. Riding with people a lot better or with more experience than you is the best way to get yourself to that level I think.
SC: You’ve recently moved over to Gator Boards. Why the switch? And why GB?
First off, Gator Boards is sick and next years line is gonna be awesome!! So look for it! I felt a bit of a switch was necessary for me. J-Star was awesome and Brett Hagen always treated me amazing. I just wanted to be with a company where I could be involved with product development, marketing, and on a team with more of a family and team feel to it. Gator has totally taken me in and made me part of there team. I've been on a lot of trips with everyone filming for our new movie Transgression, and it’s so much fun. Being on the A list of a big company like Gator has always been my dream. Gator has given me a lot of freedom with building a new team board shape this year, as well as included me in a lot of stuff goin’ on you’re gonna have to watch for. I'll ride for Gator the rest of my career.
SC: Who are your other sponsors?
I also ride for O'Neill, Reef, Spy, Roswell, and the Boarding School.
SC: Now that you live in Florida, what about Canada do you miss the most?
I miss the days in Muskoka. I would like to get back up there and ride with the Militia guys again. I use to have a lot of fun up there with that crew, out on the water roaming the lakes. Muskoka is the best place!
SC: There are a number of stereotypes for us Canadians? Do you fit any of them? IE Do you play hockey? Say ‘eh’ a lot? Speak French?
Yeah, I still claim Canada as where I’m from. Chad, Rusty and I actually put together a hockey team this winter to play in a league. Our team was full of pro riders. It was real fun. There’s also a lot of hockey watching and X-Box hockey played in our house.
SC: What’s your favorite contest?
Wakestock is always real fun. I look forward to the winch pool every year.
SC: Where else in Canada will people be able to see you this summer?
I was just in Kelowna for the Pro Tour stop. I ended up getting hurt so people didn't see much of me on the water. I'll be at Wakestock next weekend, and Canadian Nationals I think. I’ll also be doing a fair number of boat shows up there this winter.
SC: Do you ever get out on a wakeskate?
NEVER. i'm real scared of falling one foot on one foot off the board. I'd rather ride my board. I like to flip!
SC: How would you describe your riding style? What other sports have influenced you and your riding?
I would like to say I look smooth. I try and make stuff look effortless. That’s what feels good to me. I watch snowboarders hit rails and try to make some stuff look like they do, pressing rails and stuff. Mostly I watch the boys ride and not copy them, but get ideas to do stuff a little different.
SC: What is your favorite trick?
Toe side roll to blind. I just got it dialed.
SC: When you go our for a session, do you normally spend more of your time working on tricks you’ll during a comp, or do you try a lot of new stuff?
Right off the dock I'll do all my stock trick first. I like to make sure doing all that stuff is the norm for me so that in a contest I don't even worry about falling. That said, lately I've been trying new stuff a lot more. Not till the end of my set or after I've done a set of all my stock stuff. So a bit of both I guess.
SC: If you could spend a day wakeboarding with anyone, who would it be?
My Girlfriend. She doesn’t get out on the boat much. She's fun to take on the boat and she loves to ride. She'd go all day!
SC: If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring your Canadian wakeboarders out there that want to make it to the Pros, what would it be?
It’s definitely a long road to become a pro from Canada, a road I'm not even traveling yet. It’s definitely worth it. If its something you really wanna do it’s worth it to stick it out the whole way. And it definitely doesn't happen over night.
SC: Tells us something about Kyle that the wakeboarding population doesn't know?
I just blew my ACL. Sucks. I found out two days ago. I'm gonna not be riding at the next few events and get myself better. But I'll still be traveling the same, just not riding. Next year I'm coming back twice as strong!!
SC: Who would you like to thank?
My parents, my sponsors O'Neill, Roswell, Reef, Spy, the Boarding School, Gator Boards, my chick, the usual… Definitely Travis Moye and Shaun Murray. They do a lot for me! And Stoke City for the opportunity to do this interview!!