In a previous article, read about Léo Labadens’ background and in this one, find out more about his wakeskate weekends.


What made you decide to do these wakeskate weekends?

Picking up a little kid who is on a cable going from right to left is a pleasure for me. Giving them an opportunity to come together purely without competition, without having to keep up with each other. We all share a good time. There are no winners or losers.

Why would participants in your wakeskate weekends have more fun than in competition?

Giving an opportunity to several people, regardless of their level and age, is fun. The good thing about wakeskate weekends is simple. After two days, they will have ridden two full mornings where the cable is reserved only for us. So they can ride the rest of the day. Friendships are created. Few people practice wakeskate, we quickly find ourselves in the four corners of France.
In competitions, people meet up but spend 500€ for a French championship and we stay in a competitive spirit. Moreover, at the end of the weekend, the person will only have done one wakeskate ride twice. The bond that is created between people in a competition will never be the bond that is created by wake skaters in wakeskate weekends…
I’ve been competing for a long time. The time I had the most fun was clearly not in competitions. They are still important in the sense that you meet people who are more or less at the same level. To be able to put yourself at their level during a run remains pleasant.

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What is your best memory in wakeskating?

My best wakeskate memory? I’d say I have a lot of them.
When I was being pushed around by the older ones all over France. I must have been 12-15 years old. Otherwise, I have good memories of sharing sessions. The ones in the morning, when I’m alone on the cable, or with one or more colleagues doing wakeskate.

Otherwise, my trips in a truck where we crossed the United States. The goal was to make a video in a month and a half. So we lived in a van with 7 people. We were all crammed in, camping at the ranch, eating hot dogs. Then we spent our days wakeskating on natural or semi-natural spots.

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Do you need to have a basic knowledge of skateboarding or even wakeboarding to practice wakeskating?

Not necessarily. After having already done wakeboarding, it allows you to know a little bit about sliding.

For wakeskating, you are only towed by a boat?

No, you can be towed by anything you want. A ski lift, a boat, a jet ski, a bicycle, a car. So just about anything!

What are the most common tricks in wakeskating?

We are still at the beginning of the evolution of wakeskating.
Afterwards, in tricks, we find all the variations of shove-it, kick flip. Today, young people who have a good level, they have all the basic tricks. Once they manage to do one, they can do it again and again. Besides, wakeskate tricks are very similar to skateboard tricks.


Can you tell us about your wakeskate weekends?

It’s a great way to get together with other wakeskaters without having to compete. It’s a real opportunity because you have time to ride over a whole weekend. Whereas for example in a competition, you’ll do 3-4 laps during the weekend.
On my wakeskate weekends, we have two full mornings. So 2 times 3 hours or 2 times 4 hours, which will be reserved just for us (i.e. for about ten people).
The access to the classic ski lift with the clients of the wakeskate weekend, is shared with the clients in the afternoon. The aim is really to get young people to get together, to share, to bond.
For me, the main reason is really there. I try to organise several a year. The aim is to give the opportunity to those who come from the four corners of France to be able to ride next door.

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Can you explain what you mean by “making connections”?

For example, a young person will meet another young person at the other end of France during these wakeskate weekends. They will build relationships, and change spots to meet and ride together.
The first year, they go to the wakeskate weekend near their home. The next year, they will befriend others and want to join them at another spot.
In addition, riding on several different spots, inevitably brings progression and open-mindedness.

Une personne qui n’a jamais pratiqué de sport nautique avant, peut-elle venir à tes weekends ?

Yes, yes. There’s no pre-requisite level, anyone can come. Sometimes I’ve had beginners who have never done anything.
We’ll teach them, and everyone will be there to give advice, discuss, share. It’s really nice.


Est-ce que tu penses que la pratique du wakeskate est plus compliquée que celle du wakeboard ?

I would say that wakeboarding is a more accessible sport. However, on the other hand, it is very painful for the body.
The wakeskaters who have been riding for a long time, but also the old ones, we have all hurt ourselves in wakeboarding.
The wakeskate hurts less. So of course, you have to be a bit more patient. We will learn to fall and to get up again. When I say fall, I mean: fall in the water, swim, walk, and start again.
But the concept remains the same. For me, there is an important human value: the ability to pick up your head when you fall. That takes us a long way. I saw it with wakeboarding when I was younger. I learned a lot.
So, it brings patience and being able to work to achieve your goals.

So you would say that wakeskate is better?

Physically it is less demanding than wakeboarding. You can also get hurt, but it’s always on a smaller scale. And it’s like anything else, you have to take it easy. Don’t want to run before you can walk.
That’s what I say every time. Some young people arrive, they do three laps of the cable on a wakeskate, and they tell me they want to do a flip. I tell them that they have to wait, that they have a lot to learn first.
That’s why I say that wakeboarding and wakeskating are complementary.
Someone who arrives at the cable and who has never done anything, or any board sport, I’m going to give him a ride on a kneeboard. You need at least one ski ride, then a wake ride and finally he’ll do some wakeskating. In that order. There’s no reason to rush the stages. I went through the basics of the thing, I did water skiing and wakeboarding for a long time, so when I started wakeskating it was obviously easier.

Apart from these weekends, do you offer other activities?

Not necessarily, it requires a lot of organisation. During the week I am in Toulouse.


Do you stay on the spots of your wakeskate weekends?

Yes, sometimes I stay on the same ropes at the end of a weekend for a week. On the other hand, a person who comes to the wakeskate weekend and is motivated, has time and wants to follow us between the current stage and the next one, can do it with great pleasure. It’s always fun to share, to carpool.

Where can we find pictures and videos of your wakeskate weekends?

On my Instagram @leolabadens or on the dedicated page @wakeskateweekend!