The Steve Aoki Wakeboarding Press Opp
Honestly, I agreed to go on this outing thinking that it would be good for a few one-liners, and that it certainly was; but it was also a very lovely sunny afternoon spent with an unlikely but genial crew: low-key celeb DJ Steve Aoki, wakeboarding masters Parks Bonifay and Brian Grubb, model and Aoki fiancée Tiernan Cowling, among others, on a Red Bull-sponsored MasterCraft wakeboarding boat, which I was later told cost $145,000. We zoomed out to a cove near the Bay’s Marine Stadium, where someone mentioned that Steve’s dad, the late Benihana founder Rocky, might have once raced cigarette boats. Anyway, wakeboarding or wakesurfing or wakeskating is akin to water skiing – you’re pulled behind a boat, then let go of the tow rope and try to surf or skate on a board through the foamy wake.
I sat on the small beach while Aoki learned "to shred behind a boat," as he put it. At first, he held on tentatively, then face-planted and then got the hang of it, as Bonifay shouted, "Weight on the front foot, front foot!" "Crouch, bend you knees, straighten your arms!" Aoki complied, and then finished his next pass with a dramatic backwards flop, always the performer. A photographer and I looked on, our eyes wandering to a yacht docked nearby, where young people frolicked to EDM-pop toons. "I want a boat," said the photog. "Life is better on a boat." Indeed, it is.
Afterwards, different thoughts occurred: Aoki, who’s styled himself as the P.T. Barnum of EDM, only learned to DJ several years ago (taught by the late DJ AM and actor Danny Masterson) and now thrives as a viable business entity who employs a staff and shit. Hanging with him on this jaunt didn’t make me like his music, or the music he releases on his label, but it did make me not want to pass judgment on his music, since that’s clearly not the point. The point, as stated above, is the Business of Young People Partying. Is my unwillingness to pass judgment an abdication of journalistic responsibility? Indeed, it is. But abdicating journalistic responsibility now and then, in the culture of EDM, is essential to understanding the depth of what’s going on.
Later, one of the genial wakeboard crew told us about a film that he’d worked on with Noam Chomsky, a.k.a. the P.T. Barnum of modern linguistics. Describing Chomsky, he said with a grin, "Noam’s a cool dude, but he’ll crush your melon with knowledge, bro." Indeed, he will.