Nick Ennen: “A laugh-inducing, board-destroying machine”
By Tara Nelson
“With sports, there will always be progression. For wakeboarding the winch has allowed us to go places we never thought were possible.” – Nick Ennen
Professional snowboarder Nick Ennen grew up in Bellingham and has lived most of his life in Whatcom and Skagit counties. Although he has traveled extensively across the U.S. and the world, this is still the place he wants to call home.
“It’s got everything that I need,” he said. “Here it’s all a step up from other places: You can go ride your bike in Florida but you’re not going to find any hills to air off of. In Washington – especially Bellingham – everything is so close. I can go out my front door and in 10 minutes be on a mountain bike trail, three different lakes or salt water. It’s also got tons of snowmobile country.”
Ennen, also a longtime pro wakeboarder, recently launched Agua Please, a new web series on Fuel.tv with the help of local filmmakers Jeremy Dubs and Scott Studach of Wild Card Movies (How The Northwest Was One and Saturday Night Ride – two other films he also starred in and helped direct). The weekly series follows local wakeboarders as they fly over raging river rapids, log rides and waterfalls in locations ranging from the Nooksack River, San Juan islands to Florida and beyond.
The September 30 debut episode, titled “Nick Ennen versus Eagle Falls,” features the 30-year-old daredevil traveling to Eagle Falls on the Skykomish River famous for its unique rock structures, waterfalls and phenomenal water volume – a place that friend and photographer Mike Yoshida called “nerve-racking.” But Ennen nailed it on his first try, and a photo of the ride was subsequently featured in an O’Brien advertisement.
Ennen and his friends were able to pull off this adrenaline-drenched stunt using a winch. At one point, as Ennen came off the second waterfall and hit the turbulence below, he landed a little sideways and the imbalance sent him tumbling down through a chute flanked by boulders on each side. Luckily, he shot out of the rapids unharmed.
“It was pretty scary,” he said. “There could have been some hard consequences but I was OK. With all that power, there’s not much you can do but just go for a ride.”
Another episode showed Ennen and his friends wakeboarding down an old cement chute in Whatcom Falls Park in Bellingham.
“We kind of got in trouble for that one,” he said. “We got a really polite letter in the mail asking us not to do that again.”
Other riders featured in Agua Please include Bob Soven, Mikey Ennen, Kevin Henshaw, Dustin O’Ferral, Kyle Walton and Collin Harrington.
Fellow rider and photographer Dylan Hart calls Ennen a “laugh-inducing, board-destroying machine. Hanging out with Nick is a sure way to have a good time,” Hart said. “He’s put time into wakeboarding and snowboarding and his talents continue to see him progressing and pushing the boundaries of what is possible.”
Ennen plans to compete in the 2011 Legendary Banked Slalom at Mt. Baker Ski Area in February.
What makes this area special?
In the Mt. Baker wilderness you can really get to your own playground versus waiting in line at the ski area. It’s pretty amazing to have 360 degree views from Canada all the way to Seattle with water and farmland in between and a beautiful sunset. I often find myself stopping and just being amazed at where I live and what we have around us. I’ll often stop and be like, “Hey, everyone, look!”
I’ve done a lot of backpacking, too, so that’s given me a lot of respect for the wilderness and beyond.
You are also starring in Saturday Night Ride, your second film with Wild Card Movies. How has that been?
We just premiered Saturday Night Ride in Seattle, where it brought in about 1,500 people and in Bellingham, where it brought in about 300 to 400 people.
Jeremy (Dubs) is super chill. He was actually the guy who brought me into the filming and videography side of things. And I had been involved in wakeboarding films so he and the rest of us were all kind of doing the same thing, and when we decided to collaborate and evolve into Wild Card Movies, we were really able to make it professional. We like using funny plots and try to put a lot of humor in our films as well. There’s a lot of funny lines and one-liners.
How has your snowboarding influenced your wakeboarding style?
I’m trying to progress wakeboarding in ways that haven’t been done before and also showcase other local riders and show their advancement. I’m taking (wakeboarding) to a different level with the snowboarding influence. I kind of have an eye for things like lines and cool obstacles or logs to jib. It’s kind of human nature to push yourself and the sport – otherwise it might get boring.
What do you eat when you are in the backcountry?
I’m kind of a chef out there. In the winter, I like to take two of everything to cook in my muff pot, a device that heats food by attaching to the exhaust pipe of your snowmobile. You can wrap a burrito or some leftover spaghetti in tin foil and throw it in there and drive around for a little bit and it gets really hot.
I probably eat twice the amount of food when I’m in the backcountry because you burn a lot of calories between snowboarding, staying warm, hiking and getting your snowmobile unstuck.
What else does Nick Ennen do for fun these days?
I like to barbecue with friends, ride my bike and mountain bike. Galbraith is really fun and Whistler and Glacier have some pretty amazing places to mountain bike. I’ve also been playing tennis – like I said, I never stop doing things – go boating in the San Juan islands and hang out on the beach looking for agates or crabbing and fishing and cooking them over a fire on the beach. (Agua Please can be viewed at www.aguaplease.com.)