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Pro Flyboarder Profile: DAMONE RIPPY – USA
Welcome to the Pro Flyboarder Profile page of Damone Rippy. Damone came into the 2013 Flyboard World Cup as the youngest competitor (15 yrs), his fellow Team USA member Jake Orel was also fifteen but Damone had a few months on him. No stranger to competitive sports Damone Rippy flew to Doha, Qatar with a great deal of confidence and when it was all said and done his aggressive style and on-the-water swagger landed him a tremendous 4th place finish.
I know that in 2014 he’ll be training hard with that World Cup podium in mind and it’s young flyers like Damone Rippy who are going to really push the limits of our sport and expedite its evolution.
Learn more about this Flyboard phenom by reading his interview below
and for all of his 2013 World Cup videos
visit his Official World Cup page.
FLYBOARD MAGAZINE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
FM: I know you play football, what other sports were you into before you started Flyboarding?
Besides football, I also play Soccer, Ran track. I am a snowboarder and have also always loved being on the lake.
FM: What do your friends think about all this crazy new sport you’re now ranked 4th in the world at?
My friends think that it is crazy that I placed 4th in the World Cup. When I told them what had happened, they thought I was kidding about Flyboarding the whole time but it turned out that I wasn’t.
FM: Once you were comfortable on the Flyboard what was the first trick you decided to conquer?
Once I was comfortable with the Flyboard, the first trick I ever tried to do was the backflip because it looked so cool and when I first saw Flyboarding on YouTube, I saw them do the backflip and from then on I knew that that was the trick that I wanted to do first.
FM: Talk to me a bit about the current biggest trick, the double back flip and what your approach is for mastering this trick and maybe even advancing it further with how you fly into it and out of it. You spoke in our interview about trick combos being very important so I’m curious how the double might be integrated into these combos?
My approach on the double backflip is to just take it head on and to do what I would usually do to do my backflip. Yet instead of the altitude I’m at for the backflip, I’m going to be at a much higher altitude and when I pull the trick, I’m going to throw my head back and just count seeing the water twice and then pulling out of the trick once I see the water for the second time. I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do to add the double backflip into a combination of tricks but all I know is that it’s going to be pretty big when it happens.
FM: I know that the 2013 World Cup experience really changed me and my perspective on the sport. What was your experience like and what things did you take away from the experience that you think will help you understand what competitive Flyboarding is all about?
My experience from the World Cup changed my perspective on what I thought the competition would have been to everyone. I thought that everyone was going to be very competitive and that it was going to be very tense the whole time. I was right about it being tense, but only for the first day. I say this because after the first day and everyone who qualified for the top 32, the whole mood changed. After that, everyone was happy to just be there and having been able to be there in person let me know that everyone just wants to have fun and is just happy to be in the position that they are in.
FM: Were there any accidental or intentional moves/tricks that you saw in Qatar that made you think I want to work on that and add it to my arsenal?
There were a couple of tricks that I saw in the World Cup that I would like to put in my arsenal. The first one is the trick that Aaron Gould did, the sideflip and the other trick is one that one of the flyers from Thailand did, the aerial flip.
FM: You fly in Texas with Aquafly and I know Gretchen and Bobby are very savvy business people and marketers, did they come up with the orange look or was that your call?
Me wearing the color orange started when I went to Mastercraft to help Bobby and Gretchen teach the workers there how to fly and how to train people how to fly. The owner there cut Bobby a very good deal with my neon orange Ronix Parks, the Ronix life vest I used in the World Cup, and also my Liquid Force orange helmet I wore in Qatar.
FM: I know right now this winter break from the water is killing you, when you get back out there what’s the one area of your flying that you want to improve on first?
When I get back out flying, the one area that I am going to improve is flying a lot higher then what I did in the World Cup. I feel like if I improve on how high I fly then I think that will help me with my confidence to do more risky tricks and on how fast I will be able to fly and transition between various tricks.
FM: Last question for you. You were 15 yrs old at the World Cup, I think the youngest competitor there, most of the flyers I’ve interviewed have been much older and so I’m curious how you describe the sport to your peers and what advice you might be giving friends who want to try the sport and maybe get into it seriously like you?
Well I am a trainer at Aquafly and that means that I teach people how to fly. So I tell my friends and peers exactly what I tell the people I fly and that is that Flybaording is very easy to get out of the water fast but it takes time, effort, and dedication to get good at Flyboarding. You can never take any sport for granted and when you understand what the Flyboard is and what it can do, then you’ll truly understand its possibilities and better understand your own capabilities.