Wakeboarder.com sat down with Keith Lyman to talk about wakeboarding, his new team, his new board, and what he has been doing over the past season. We have been a big fan of his riding for years and we're glad we could take the time to get to know Keith a little better. Enjoy the rider review.
Keith just turned 24 years old and was born and raised in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. He started riding at the age of 14 and moved to Florida when he was 16 years old.
WB.Com: You have traveled all over the world filming for different videos. You have to have a great list of places you like to ride. Give us a few places you enjoy riding.
KL: I like the Butler Chain of Lakes in Florida. I also like Lake Austin and the Perd in Texas.
WB.Com: I remember you riding for a few different companies over the past few years who were they?
KL: Nirve, Krown, Origin, and Jobe.
WB.Com: That is a long list as far as board companies go, but it seems like you have really found a home at Liquid Force. To have your own Pro model board after such a short time shows LF is really behind you. How long have you been with them?
KL: I started with Liquid Force unofficially last season. I started riding officially on the Pro Team in January of this year.
WB.Com: Coming from some of the smaller board companies, how do you like riding for the big boys on the block?
KL: I love everyone at LF. I have known Don Wallace for a long time and have great respect for him. Everyone with LF and everyone associated with the company are so awesome. The people at LF are just normal people who are so intelligent and have a true love for wakeboarding. I love the feeling I get from being around these people.
WB.Com: Since you are not a big contest rider and are more of a freerider, who are you riding with now?
KL: I ride with Emily Copeland, Andrea Fountain, Ben Greenwood, Gerry Nunn, Shaun Murray and occasionally Jeff McKee.
WB.Com: We just saw you take a set. You are always going really big with a smooth style. I've seen that style from you since the first time you came onto the wakeboard scene. Where does your style of riding come from?
KL: Randy Harris is my hero. Randy has always been my #1 rider - on and off the water. He is aggressive and smooth. I feel wakeboarding should be spectacular and Randy makes every trick he does spectacular. I wish I could make all my tricks as spectacular as he does. Other riders I look up to - Shane Bonifay, Shawn Watson, and Scott Byerly. Ben Greenwood is another person who influences my riding.
All these riders are great freeriders and that is probably why I look up to them. I suck at contests. I just don't feel it when it comes to the contest setting. I like to ride for a crowd and I feel calmer just riding. I am a freerider and I am not in it to kill it in contests. The way I ride is how I want to ride every time. I never know what I am going to do. I go faster than most people. My line is longer than most people. I ride a 90 ft. rope. In a normal pass I will throw fewer tricks but try and take each trick as big as possible. This just does not work in a contest setting.
WB.Com: We know you have been filming, where can we see some of your video footage?
KL: I made an appearance in the LF Team Video, 'The Truth.' Recently I have done some filming for the new Oakley DVD the 'Push Process.' The video will complete filming in October so I am working on finishing my part. My section has a real surprise in it I cannot disclose. All I can say is my section will have a rail that has never been done before. I have always wanted to just do my own thing and Oakley has given me the opportunity to do it. I hope this rail will open the gates to getting wakeboarding back into the X-games. The rail is not a stunt...it is going to be cool.
WB.Com: Keith, what would you like people to know about you?
KL: I love meeting people, talking to people, and love wakeboarding. I think I am a normal guy. I am not a partier and I am a loner at times. I still have a hard time getting used to the fact people know me from wakeboarding. Sometimes when people approach me I still ask, 'Where do I know you from?' It is hard for me to comprehend people know me from what I love to do - wakeboarding.
WB.Com: You have been around the wakeboard industry for a while. What do you want new riders to know about our industry?
KL: Don't believe companies will do everything they say they will do. I want riders to realize they don't have to settle. Don't get taken advantage of. Pro athletes get pro deals so if you are that good, don't settle for less. Our sport needs to be legit. I would like to see a Union for wakeboarders someday. I think the idea of a Union might be a good idea for the beginner riders who want to go pro so they do not get taken advantage of by companies. The Union could provide standards for entry level pros. I think you should be in wakeboarding because you love it. So ride to ride and all the other stuff will fall into place when the time is right. I am lucky to be able to do what I love to do for a living but if the sponsorships stopped tomorrow, I would still ride.
WB.Com: What do you want riders to know about your new board?
KL: My new board is a fast board - that won't slow down. I really like to Ollie off the wakes so my board has huge Ollie power with smooth landings. I wanted all the features of a pro level board designed specifically for me but I wanted a board that was user friendly for all levels of riders. One of the best features of my board is the fin configuration. I created a fin setup that allows the rider to change the ride of the board. Everyone can find a setup they will like from my board. I have molded outside fins and with just the molded fin setup, the board will still track but it will remain loose and releases off the wake early. With the quad setup, the board really has super hold and generates more thrust off the wake. We changed up the removable fins and added additional holes that allow the removable fins to be adjusted closer to the center of the board. I ride the 4 fin setup with the removable fins closer to the center of the board. This gives the board a quick release off the tip and tail.
WB.Com: So we know about how it rides, how about the graphics? I noticed you went with the matte finish. That has been very popular since it was released on the Watson a few years back.
KL: Matte finish - huge on graphics. I don't have tattoos or piercings, just a personal choice, so I designed my board with what I would be willing to put on my body. Music is a huge part of my life so the 35/39/43 boards all have lyrics on them. The lyrics have to mean something to me. The 35 board is a black/blue board and has a song by Social Distortion called 'Faithless' which is a very personal song to me. The 39 is a black/red board and I have another song from Social Distortion called 'Through These Eyes.' I relate to this song because I have learned about life from the road that wakeboarding has put me on. The 43 board is black/green and I have lyrics from a song called 'Tip the Scales' by Rise Against on this board. The LF logo is written in Old English, my favorite font. My emblem is something of great significance to me. I am most proud of that as far as the graphics go. It is on the tail of the board with my name written across it. I have the final say so on all my boards. I won't put my name on something I am not proud of. I look forward to the possibility of designing my own boot someday.
WB.Com: Your board is one of about 16. What about the rest of the 2008 LF line?
KL: I feel they are the best products, most stylish, most innovative line in the industry. Every season LF blows me away. Watching the minds at LF work together is incredible. Jimmy Redmond is an amazing designer. Everybody wants to be like Jimmy. Jimmy has a surfing background. He is so good at what he does that he can pour water on a board, watch how it flows off and tell you how the board is going to ride. The rest of the staff at LF are passionate about their product and you can see it in the company.
WB.Com: You told us during the interview that you wanted to be with people who love the sport like you did. After describing the key people at LF, it seems like LF is the right fit for you.
WB.Com: Any Sponsors you would like to thank?
KL: I want to thank my sponsors: LF, Oakley, Excel Wetsuits, Voz Helmets, and Ambush/Buywake. The Board School, Shawn Murray and Travis Moye helped me out through the hard times; Murray was a huge influence on me as a person and rider. He is a great guy. Murray has it all figured out and I can't thank him enough. I would also like to thank my dad....I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for him.
WB.Com: We would like to thank Keith for taking the time with us at Wakeboarder.com. Keith is a great rider and an exceptional person. He is grounded and truly loves being part of the wakeboarding industry. Check out some of his video footage, you never know what to expect session after session from him. If you have a chance to check out his board this season, take it out for a demo and let us know what you think. Wakeboarder.com will see if we can get our hands on a Lyman Pro model board and make you guys jump thru hoops to win it. I am sure Don will send one right over.