Mitchell Keet – Alija Bos Photo

Flatland Friends started back in 2013 during the off-season when we used to drop into the local gymnastics club and take advantage of the foam pit and trampolines. It started as an Instagram hashtag on a couple photos, and as time went on, we decided we needed to start a crew and get more guys together. We’re just some average dudes from Flatland Saskatchewan, we’re not thug, technical, or super hesh—we’re just a group of guys trying to be creative and have fun while doing it. We live five hours apart and come from drastically differ-ent backgrounds: Bible college, engineering, agriculture. Without wakeboarding we most likely would never have crossed paths, but we’re bound together by our drive to shred and be creative.

Here in Saskatchewan, we definitely have the shortest wake season in Canada. The guys out in B.C. start four months before us and go a month later. Any wakeboarder from Saskatchewan who wants to progress with their riding moves down to Florida. Rusty Malinoski, Dylan Miller, and Anthony Hollick all went. Everyone in our crew is pursuing a post secondary education so we’re all stuck here in Saskatchewan. With such a short season, we have to go balls to the walls for the few short months of summer to try and catch up with the rest of the country. We really have to pull together as a crew and push each other to progress or else none of us would ever get better.

Mitchell Keet – Alija Bos Photo

Instead of competitors, we are teammates. This has had an exponentially large impact on how we improved as riders for the last couple of seasons. When one of us lands a new trick the rest of the guys go bananas, there is no jealousy just stoke. We give feedback and accept constructive criticism from one another. It’s so easy for riders to get caught up in competitions and sponsors but it doesn’t matter to us who rides for what rep or board company. We’re all equal and just stoked to be lucky enough to have friends to share this sport with!

Way out here in the middle of nowhere, we really have to do our own thing. We are so far removed from the huge wake scene in Ontario and Quebec and the smaller (but just as rad) scene in B.C. We have to do our own thing and try to create our own style. This past season Saskatchewan swept the podium in Men’s Traditional at the Canadian Cable Nationals in Winnipeg. Most people don’t realize that our closest System 2.0 is a nine-hour drive! These guys prove that just because we’re from Saskatchewan it doesn’t mean we can’t be players in the cable scene.

Brett Morris – Alija Bos Photo

MITCH vs. BRETT

Mitch: Every park has to have a few rules. Got any in mind for the new Flatland Wake Park?

Brett: There’s a few easy ones:

  1. Thou shall always have fun
  2. Thou shall not zeach
  3.  Thou shall not air trick
  4.  Thou shall film after being filmed upon (laughs)

Mitch: What do you hope to see in the future for the park?

Brett : I think it’s a tool that should be accessible to all. We’re definitely not exclusive to who can ride the park. From filming for contests, to hitting your first rail, it’s a great location for everyone. Our hope is to create a community of wakeboarders who love the sport and progress in their unique styles.

Brett: What is unique about the Saskatchewan wake scene?

Mitch: There is such a uniqueness to the way we ride. There is some heavy west coast influence but at the same time, you’d never say that by watching us ride. It’s crazy that we all ride together so much yet we all ride so differently. For example, Connor (McNeill) is crazy good at spinning, you (Brett) just charge and go so big and have front boards for days, I am a bit more timid but once I have a trick down I will make sure I get it grabbed good or pressed good and make it my own before moving on to the next trick. I also find a way to take the most gnarly bails on every feature we build, haha. If you watch us ride, we don’t do the same tricks and don’t look the same while doing them. We get along so well, well most of the time. I think this is due to the fact that we’re all easy going and just thankful to have homies to shred with. Since we’re so far from a cable, we’ve always had trouble keeping up with the cable scene. There are so many unreal boat riders in Saskatchewan (due to our abundance of lakes and access to great coaching/programs) but a definite lack of cable riders. We have always had this crazy ambition to build the sketchiest sliders ever and hit them. We started with a sawhorse with some pvc pipe over it, and over the years, progressed to a kicker with a seven foot step up to flat tube (the ender in our 2015 Judgement Video). We spent years building features out in a flooded spot in the middle of our wheat field and winching them. We rented a backhoe and dug a pond out behind our barns. We built a bi-level and winched it for a couple years. We spent four hours building a feature but we only hit it three or four times each before it got dark. It was great, but so inefficient it was holding us back. That’s when Bryce Bell came up with some ideas and Mitch spent the winter in chemistry class researching and drawing up concepts to build our own cable. Mitch invested his tuition money and (with a lot of knowledge and help from his dad) got a cable up and running. We’re excited to have something in the province for building crazy features and getting more guys interested in cable riding.

Mitchell Keet – Alija Bos Photo

Brett: So the original name for the park was Tetanus Wake Park. Where did that come from and why didn’t it stick?

Mitch: Safety Third! haha. So long story short, we aren’t known for our perfection, craftsmanship and cleanup skills. We have always tried to build the gnarliest and biggest setups, which should require skilled professionals and many hours of work. But we end up putting in about an hour, using recycled wood full of nails, and a whole lot of “good enough”. Actually you ended up going in to the hospital once to get a Tetanus shot after finding a rusty nail, hence Tetanus Wake Park. We weren’t exactly proud of it, but it put a smile on our faces and we always ended up getting the shot with minimal injuries. So when we decided to put up a cable we said we were going to do it right. I’m super proud of the outcome and so thankful for the amount of work you (Brett) and Bryce (Bell) have put in to make it clean and legit.

Mitch: The majority of the crew has long hair. Rumour has it you haven’t washed your hair in over a year. What else can you tell me about those luscious locks?

Brett: Hahaha…Yes it is true. The “flow” is all natural for over a year now. It’s amazing what you’ll get yourself into on the inter web. One minute you’re surfing the web and the next you’re mixing apple cider vinegar and baking soda into your hair. I’ve also been mistaken for a woman many times. One time this guy was trying to promote a nightclub to females; he started talking to me before I turned around. As soon as I did though he was completely embarrassed and just awkwardly walked away. Maybe it’s a sign that I need to work out more so I don’t look so feminine. — Cheers!

Brett Morris – Alija Bos Photo

THE PARK

Since we’re so far from a cable, we’ve always had trouble keeping up with the cable scene. There are so many unreal boat riders in Saskatchewan (due to our abundance of lakes and access to great coaching/programs) but a defi – nite lack of cable riders. We have always had this crazy ambition to build the sketchiest sliders ever and hit them. We started with a sawhorse with some pvc pipe over it, and over the years, progressed to a kicker with a seven foot step up to flat tube (the ender in our 2015 Judgement Video). We spent years building features out in a flooded spot in the middle of our wheat field and winching them. We rented a backhoe and dug a pond out behind our barns. We built a bi-level and winched it for a couple years. We spent four hours building a feature but we only hit it three or four times each before it got dark. It was great, but so inefficient it was holding us back. That’s when Bryce Bell came up with some ideas and Mitch spent the winter in chemistry class researching and drawing up concepts to build our own cable. Mitch invested his tuition money and (with a lot of knowledge and help from his dad) got a cable up and running. We’re excited to have something in the province for building crazy features and getting more guys interested in cable riding.

Mitchell Keet – Alija Bos Photo

SHOUT OUTS

Brett: Big shout out to the Keet Family, Andrew my boss man for letting me get off work early to shoot photos, Adam Burwell, Uncle Dusty O, Rusty Surfwear, Liquid Force, Liquid Sports Saskatoon, and my family.

Mitch: First off I’d like to thank my family for being awesome. Especially my dad for all the time he put in helping me dig the pond, fix the cable when it breaks, and teaching me how to wire vfds and motors. Brett Morris and Bryce Bell for the hours of labour they’ve put in after a long day of work pounding posts and shovelling dirt to get features up and going, Rip Curl Canada, WesternFront Sales, Ronix Wakeboards, and BackSide BoardShop for their continued support over the years. Alija Bos for shooting some sick photos for us, and Melissa Kurtin/ Ashley Leugner for setting this article up!

Brett Morris- Alija Bos Photo

 

Brett Morris – Alija Bos Photo