Parks: What influenced you back in the day to start wakeboarding?
Zane: I just always did things differently, and wakeboarding was a redheaded stepchild when I first started on the pro tour. I couldn’t do the traditional stuff. I didn’t go that far off the ramp, and I certainly am not a good slalom skier. So I wanted to do something different, and it just kind of fell right in with all the crap I learned in the circus years back.
Parks: You were doing 110-foot double front flips off jumps so it seems like you were in the making for some wakeboarding.
Zane: Yeah, man, and wakeboarding just took in this cool life, as you know. It just became so much more fun, and it went from being the redheaded stepchild to being the moneymaker on the tour and what really drove the industry. I wanted to be a part of that, man. And just watching people get up, you know, it’s cool.
Parks: Nice. You’ve had a very long, successful career, and you’ve been with roughly the same sponsors the whole time. This obviously paid off in the long run for you. Any advice to the pros nowadays and to future pros of the sport?
Zane: Get out now?
Parks: I mean, you see we have a lot of young riders who are chasing the next best dollar or the next person who’s going to send me here or make more for you here. You’ve been with MasterCraft, Connelly, like all these sponsors your whole career and no one else has really turned wakeboarding into the job that you have. There has to be something you can tell these dudes, you know? Or not?
Zane: Yeah, I got a couple more years left of this shit, man. I’m not done yet.
Parks: Yeah, we’ll let them figure it out.
Zane: Now, I’ll tell you what, I would tell them to stay in school. Don’t miss out on that. Because what wakeboarding can do for you is it can take you all over the world and show you some really cool places and different shit you never thought you would see and you would never get to do if you were just working a 9-to-5. But at some point you may have to go work a 9-to-5, you know? Bodies only last so long, right buddy?
Parks: How many times have you gained and lost 20 pounds?
Zane: Holy shit!
Parks: I thought you would say “not as many as you.”
Zane: No, no, the crux of that is “lost.” I’m going to go with at least five.
Parks: You’ve had numerous injuries. Can you go over them, roughly, like scratch the surface on the top 10?
Zane: I broke my leg with you when I hit the side of a boat. Then I broke it again with you trying to do an air mobe. I got a rod stuffed in it. I’ve had three torn ACLs, two scopes , chipped vertebrate, two herniated discs from jumping a PWC super frickin’ high. I broke some ankles, wrists and ribs. Oh, and then I got punched in the eye in a bar fight in Winter Haven, Florida, that broke my orbital in two places.