On Board With: Brian Grubb

Brian Grubb is a wakeskating pioneer whose drone tow into a BASE jump in Dubai helped set a new bar for the sport.

Like a lot of aspiring watersports athletes, Brian Grubb traded water skis for a wakeboard in the late ’90s, but it was a picture of a pro riding skateboard-style that would prompt him to trade bindings for sneakers and grip tape. Grubb would go on to be a driving force behind the burgeoning sport of wakeskating, capturing National and World Championships in his rookie year on tour and forging a career that would last for decades. It’s his relationship with Red Bull, however, that’s thrust the now 43-year-old into the national spotlight. Grubb’s recent drone-towed wakeskate session across the rooftop infinity pool of a Dubai skyscraper—followed by a 77-story BASE jump to the beach below— has become the energy drink behemoth’s all-time most viewed clip on Instagram.

Why wakeskating?

I grew up water-skiing and wakeboarding in Florida. I saw some shots in the mags of (wake pioneer) Scott Byerly riding with no bindings and had to try it. I loved the freedom of it and hitting rails and kickers was super fun for me. It was such a new sport that we were doing tricks no one had ever done and that was very rewarding.

Still, it was a pretty niche sport. How did you attract Red Bull?

I got connected with Red Bull back in 2001 with some help from my friend Parks Bonifay who was already on the team. I was getting a lot of exposure in the mags and doing pretty good competing in wakeboard rail contests on my wakeskate. It was a new sport, but Red Bull took a chance with me and together we helped grow wakeskating into what is it today. Red Bull is the best sponsor in action sports and goes above and beyond to help its athletes achieve their dreams.

Your career has lasted longer than most. How have you managed to stay popular?

I’ve dedicated my whole life to watersports, and it has been very good to me in return. I’m always trying to do new things and ride in places no one ever has. I’ve had some amazing opportunities to do this with the help of Red Bull and my other sponsors. I don’t turn down opportunities and am always on the move. I have a friend group that also lives like I do and we are always chasing the next adventure.

The latest stunt in Dubai was crazy. How do you dream up something like that, and what goes into making it happen?

The wakeBASE was my dream project. It was just a wild idea for a while, but started really coming together after we built the drone and now had a way to tow it. Red Bull has an amazing team that helped with the logistics in Dubai and with the Address Beach Resort. It’s a 79-story building and the pool is the highest infinity-edge pool in the world at 965 feet. It’s an awesome BASE jump with about 7 seconds of free fall.

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So what’s next?

I’m always looking for the next adventure and traveling around the world to find it. Lately I’ve been chasing big waves on the e-Foil and looking forward to going on the road this summer with Malibu Boats on the Just Ride Tour.