By Meagan Singletary
University News Service
July 22, 2008
Tweak, stack, pop, ollie, bonk, jib.
These are all terms that may seem foreign unless you are a championship wakeboarder like Texas State University-San Marcos student Thomas Fooshee.
Fooshee, an Austin native, recently took first place in the men’s pro division of the Wakepark World Championship in the Philippines. This was Fooshee’s first time to ever compete in a world championship event. There were 230 participants in this event from 21 countries all over the world.
Fooshee began wakeboarding at 13 or 14. He decided to try his hand in this sport because he was already an avid waterskier.
“I learned to do it (wakeboard) because I would go to the lake every weekend to waterski as a kid,” Fooshee said. “I saw a wakeboarder riding at the lake and just wanted to try it. I’ve basically been wakeboarding ever since.
“I choose wakeboarding as a sport because it was such an awesome feeling of freedom compared to waterskiing. I was very big into water sports and once I stepped onto a wakeboard, I fell in love.”
Fooshee, who is only 23, began competing in wakeboarding five years ago and he already has many accolades under his belt. He is the 2007 Wake Park pro tour champion, has won TSR’s cable stock both behind the boat and on the cable and he also has top 30 ranking on the pro wakeboarding tour.
“I didn’t start competing in wakeboarding until I was 18. I was done with high school team sports at this time and I had graduated so therefore I really started to wakeboard a lot at this point,” said Fooshee. “I was getting good very quickly so I wanted to try out my skills in competition.”
Fooshee’s talent has earned him many sponsorships. He rides for Liquid Force wakeboards and clothing, Reef footwear, Spy Optics, Helium wakeboard vests and handles, Freestyle watches, Texas Ski Ranch and Boardstop.com. Even with all of this support he still manages to remain humble.
“I am so thankful to be a part of all of these different teams because they each do so much for me,” said Fooshee.
One of the perks of being a championship wakeboarder is getting to travel to exotic locations around the world.
“Wakeboarding has taken me everywhere I have ever wanted to go in life,” said Fooshee. “It has taken me to France, Germany, Japan, China, the Phillippines, Ukraine, Denmark and domestically I have gotten to go all over the United States.”
In terms of who has supported him the most and nurtured his gift, Fooshee said it is a tie between his father and his friend Keith White.
“Both of them have supported me so much and have taken a lot of their own time to help pull me behind the boat and do whatever they could to help me get by,” said Fooshee.
Even though Fooshee already has an impressive career as a wakeboarder he is still focused on bettering himself with an education. He said there are not very many pro wakeboarders that have college degrees and this senior is working on obtaining his degree in exercise sports science to become one of the few.
Fooshee plans on pursing wakeboarding as long as he is physically able to. Once this is no longer possible he plans to continue working in the wakeboarding industry or getting a job as a coach at a high school.
As for wakeboarding role models, Fooshee does not have one in particular but he expresses a deep respect for his fellow wakeboarding athletes.
“I look up to anybody in wakeboarding that is always being creative with what they do. If they are pushing the sport in new directions then they are in the sport for a good reason,” he said. “I just really love to see riders taking their riding to another level and progressing the sport.”