The Best Wakeboarder in the World …
“The best (surfer/skater/rider, etc.) in the world is the one who’s having the most fun.” That’s an old saying in action sports, usually dismissed by most insiders as an excuse for somebody that’s not quite professional material. But in the sport of wakeboarding, that cliché may actually be true.
If you ask anyone with even casual knowledge of the sport, “Who the is best wakeboarder in history?” Chances are, many of them will immediately say Parks Bonifay, and for good reason. Bonifay, 36, is one of the most decorated professional wakeboarders of the last two decades, having started his career and earned his first Pro Tour title at the age of 14. Yes, 14. He went on to win a few more Pro Tour titles, X Games gold medals and countless other accolades.
He has also pioneered new moves (Bonifay was the first rider to land a 1080 – three complete spins in the air – while wakeboarding behind a boat), led one of the most progressive rider-owned video companies (Pointless Productions) and brought wakeboarding to places most people didn’t consider possible. But, arguably, his most significant achievement was being an ambassador for the sport to countless thousands of people around the world.
“I think once I got signed to the Red Bull wakeboarding team that’s when I really started to branch out from just doing the contest circuit to traveling the world and getting to take part in some really cool adventures,” says Bonifay. “I’ve ridden on waves in Tahiti and on icebergs in Patagonia. I mean, I had a helicopter literally pick me up off the lake while I was wakeboarding and take me to 1000 feet so I could parachute. Those are unreal experiences.”
Fun, with Parks Bonifay
Indeed, travelling allowed the budding professional rider to develop his world view, one that inevitably involves a lot of laughter and comradery with friends, and a healthy curiosity for conquering new challenges — all while encouraging others to do the same. “He’s one of the most positive people I know, and he pushed me to be a better rider, even while we were competing against each other,” says fellow pro and longtime friend Danny Harf.
Most recently, Bonifay has partnered with Adventure IO to add “professional Adventure Guide” to his long resume.
“People always ask me about my favorite place to ride,” says Bonifay. “And as crazy as it sounds, despite having been to a lot of really amazing locations, one of my favorite places is at home in Clermont, Florida. It’s where I have the most fun lately, just wakeboarding or wakesurfing and shooting videos with my friends and roommates. We’re out on the water all the time. And now that I’ve collaborated with Adventure IO, it makes it that much easier for people to join me and see what I’m talking about.”
Bonifay will be offering both instructional and recreational Adventures, for full or half days, on the Adventure IO platform starting in April 2019. Whether you’re a casual water sports fan, looking for a unique “summer camp”, or have always wanted to ride with one of the world’s best wakeboarders, it’s an adventure you won’t soon forget!
Walking on water.
Wakesurfing the water forest.