How was it getting back on the water? I was so pumped. I missed it so much and realized how much I loved the sport. I went out to the cable with Adam for my first ride back. During my first lap, I caught my edge on a raley and knocked myself out. My brain was unstable again because of the swelling, and I was out for another six months. I didn’t know why I liked wakeboarding until I couldn’t be a part of it. During my time off I really made up my mind about it. I realized how spoiled I had been before the injuries, being able to ride and hang out with my friends whenever I wanted, and I wanted that back. So I came back, learned a couple new tricks and ended up getting 10th in Junior Men’s on Tour that year. The following year I got third, behind Jimmy LaRiche and Harley Clifford and started getting some recognition. I still wasn’t sure if I’d ever be a pro. I loved it, but it probably wasn’t going to be my future. The next year, 2009, I did awful in my first two contests, and then came the first Tour stop, and I won. From there, it’s pretty much history. I won the next four Tour stops, sweeping the Tour. I also won the On Point award and did a 1080. That’s when people started saying, “Holy crap, this guy can wakeboard.” That’s when Bob was born. I have two major “what-ifs” in my life: What if the accident never happened? I would have probably quit wakeboarding. And, what if I never changed my name to Bob? Everyone had always called me Robert until that first contest I won. That was the first time it said Bob on the heat sheet.
As far as having fun on Tour, it almost seems like you are having a Parks Bonifay kind of year. Whoa, I can’t even hold a candle to what “Parxxx” did in his prime Tour form. If Chuck Norris partied his face off, those stories would be a distant second to those of Parks. It’s an honor to be mentioned in the same line, but I have a long way to go before I’m considered on Parks’ level — maybe one day.
It does seem like his persona has had an influence on you, though. Of course, I grew up at the Bonifay ski school, not realizing the impact Parks was going to have on both sides of my life. Now, he is one of my closest friends, but we rarely converse about wakeboarding — except on one flight when we got deep in our wake emotions. I was given the task of not only carrying on the double flip torch, but also carrying on the tradition of being a badass. I didn’t really know what that meant. Then I asked him about a new trick I was working on and if he thought it was cool. He made everything clear when he said, “You don’t do something because it’s cool, something is cool because you did it.”