Last week, The Watercraft Journal received a great, personally-written recap from famed freeride and freestyle athlete Tanner Thomas, who gave us a person glimpse at how he prepared and performed at this year’s IJSBA World Finals:
“I can honestly say that preparing for this 2016 World Finals was the hardest I have worked for anything in my whole life. I did not win, but that was not necessarily the main goal. What I mean by that is that we are a judged sport. Quite simply put, Joe could ride much better overall rider than Bob and still come in behind. We have no finish line, no real rules, just put on the best show.
“This year, I set out to be the best rider I could possibly be. I wanted to push myself like never before to see what I could accomplish. I asked myself many mornings, ‘How bad ass do you think you are?’ To be a professional rider of any action sport, your body, your mind and your equipment have to work together seamlessly. That can be difficult, but with almost 10 years of experience under my belt on a jet ski, I feel like I am a professional at it. I am proud of the way I feel, the way I look and the way I ride. It started by completely changing my diet, my exercise, my stretching and my focus.
“I continued chasing the best equipment and working with my team and sponsors on developing more performance and I am proud of those results as well. I am proud of these photos that I get to share with you and the spectacular tricks I am able to do flying through the air on my jet ski. Most of all, I am thankful for the doors that have opened and let me run through them. My family, friends, sponsors and supporters. I do it because I love it and it has loved me back. Despite some speed bumps along the way, I stayed focused with my team behind me and I did the absolute best that I could. We took home 6th in the world!
“Now I am getting to the point in my life of wanting different things. I have learned a lot along the way and have more ideas and ambitions than I can even begin to describe to you. As of now I am not sure exactly my plan for jet skiing in the future, but I have to make some changes. I won’t be able to chase events like I have in the past. I plan on still doing special film, demo, or show opportunities. I also plan to keep working with some of my sponsors on product development as I enjoy chasing the best. I also have some business ideas. Starting off with my TanRak Truck Rack system that I have been working with JetLift on. I am hoping to launch that around the first of the year and have my own product available for people to use. That has changed the way my life works and made every one of my season tours possible!”