See Raph Derome’s new wakeboarding masterpiece

Forget what you thought wakeboarding was about – Beyond Perception takes it to a whole new level.
By Geoff Padmore

Each is entitled to their own opinion. Rarely do we all share the same view on things and, if we did, the world would probably be a pretty boring place. Such is the nature of perception; it’s all in the eye of the beholder.

When it comes to wakeboarder Raph Derome, lots of opinions have been thrown around about him over the past year. Wild rumors that he doesn’t compete anymore, that he doesn’t care about wakeboarding. He’s lazy. He joined the slalom ski tour. And other such nonsense.

© Chris Garrison/Red Bull Content Pool

There was some speculation that I took a year off... and not really doing much...

So while the wakeboard industry collectively wondered, "Where's Raph?" he was in fact getting busy on one of his most ambitious projects yet. Just because he couldn’t be seen didn’t mean he wasn’t there. He was in stealth mode, with only a handful of his closest crew on the inside, including filmmaker Jonathan Ferguson. Despite fewer contests and appearances in the public eye, it just may have been the busiest season Raph has ever had.

Raph Derome in Tampa, Florida, for Red Bull Wake Open 2013.
Raph Derome in contemplative mood © Christian Pondella/Red Bull Content Pool

“There was some speculation that I took a year off, just missing in action and not really doing much. Truth is, I was working harder than any other year, focusing on progressing my riding and doing something that I had spent so much time talking about… it was something I needed to do,” says Raph.

The hard work shows. To give the project the attention it deserved meant sacrificing things like contests, magazine coverage, web clips, signings and other such trappings of the pro-wakeboarding circuit. Everything was kept under heavy lock and key, only to be revealed in one final cut. And what made the final cut is nothing short of mind-blowing…

Over a year in the making, Beyond Perception is truly a labor of love that captures Raph's raw passion and dedication to the sport. Bringing a no-bullshit attitude, the clip gets straight back to the core of wakeboarding by delivering pure action and a progressive style that is not just about adding an extra flip or rotation but using one's creativity and imagination to take wakeboarding in new directions.

Raph Derome wakeboarding in Tampa, Florida, for Red Bull Wake Open 2013.
Raph Derome: cable guy © Robert Snow/Red Bull Content Pool

The film visits some of Raph's favorite shred spots including Florida and Quebec. Featuring custom built rail setups that include wall-to-wall transitions, urban jib spots including Ontario Place in downtown Toronto and some classic boat riding, Beyond Perception sets the tone for the future of wakeboarding. Breaking free of the mold, Raph's progression is reflected through his creativity by seeking out new locations, unique rail setups and finding a different approach to the norm.

“This project re-inspired me. I think it is what I needed. If I’m competing again, there’s no doubt I‘ll be way more pumped for it and I’ll be ready to get back into the scene a little more. I have 110 percent of myself on this, and I’m already thinking about the next project.”

As a self-prescribed introvert, it's sometimes tough for Raph to express himself and difficult for people to truly understand the passionate, dedicated rider that he is.

Naturally, Raph prefers to let his riding speak for him. See for yourself.

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