Catching up with Shane Bonifay

Thursday, 7 April 2011

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By gobadirt.com 


Wakeboarding has its characters and right up there with the best of them is American Shane “Danger” Bonifay, who is well known worldwide for his style, natural talent, and innovation on a wakeboard. Shane recently visited Down Under to film the D5 – Danny Harf project, with the Monster Energy Wakboard team, and while here got a lot more then he bargained for, which you’ll find out more about in this interview we nailed with ‘Danger’ one day before he left our shores.   


Shane, the rumour is you came back to Oz because you missed VB and meat pies, is that true:


Yeah it was definitely like in the first five hours I needed a meat pie. I actually haven't had a VB yet, I've been on the Tooheys New and Carlton Draught, but everyone knows VB back home, they're like yeah, Down Under beer.


So you like Aussie beer: 


I do, but I think I like the white cans better (Jim Beam). That has got to be one of the most genius ideas in the world. For some reason America hasn't caught onto it yet. Jim Beam in a can, that's just art!


Back to pies, what’s the deal: 


I've been to a few bakeries, but I haven't had my fix yet of a legendary straight up good meat pie. Whether it's steak and cheese, steak and mushroom, or whatever, I’m not fussy, although I am a big fan of the steak and mushroom. I've been getting pies at gas stations and shitty little marts and stuff. I definitely need to get me a good one. I've been here for like two weeks, and leave tomorrow, so hopefully I'll get one before I go.


So you've been out here with the Monster Energy Wakeboard team:


Yeah, I've been out here with the Wake Boarding team and we're just shooting, trying to make a section for a video called the D5 – The Danny Harf project. Basically we did some stuff in the States for Monster, but our whole trip was meant to be us coming out here and wake boarding in the surf and finding cool new spots. But for the most part it's just been getting rained out. Even midday light isn't the best to shoot in, but it was like raining in the morning and the evening. We had no choice. We've just been getting butt-nosed the whole time. 


You also went to the ProWake event in Grafton, how was that:


Pretty wild. It was a pro event. It was raining all day and the finals were pushed back to the night. I don't even know how those guys were riding in it cause it was so dark. Straight after that we all went down to the local pub and were hanging out and one of the locals decides to shove my buddy Danny Harf, who was at the bar. He had shoulder surgery about a week and a half before this, and he's just hanging out on the tour, wakeboarding when his arm felt good. But he's at the bar, his arm was in a sling and one of the local Grafton kids ends up shoving him in the arm. Five minutes later the kid head butts him and breaks his nose, and just crazy shit happened. Another kid got punched in the eyebrow from the wake board contest. It was just a shit show from the start basically.


What provoked the locals to do that: 


I think the local Grafton kids got jealous that there were some professionals in town that were getting a little more attention than they were. Obviously they'd had a few beers at the bar, and didn't like it that we were at their local, and having fun. Whenever they saw my buddy with his arm in the sling they'd just come up and start f#@king with him and shoving him in the arm. My buddy was just like "Stop man, leave me alone." The guy just kept going, and when Danny said "F#@k Off" the kid just head butts him, broke his nose and then ran off. My other buddy went up to confront him and said like "What the f#@k?", and punched the kid, and as soon as that happened another one of his buddies pulled a knife and it was like “What The F#@k?” Grafton is insane! We had to get out of there as soon as we could.


Tell us about the wrong fuel in the car episode:


Well, most of the diesel trucks in America are really, really big, and loud. But the one we were driving was like a little Jeep so our buddy didn't even acknowledge that it was diesel, and when he put in normal petrol we drove down the road for about fifteen minutes and the car just like exploded. Well not exploded, but you know didn't work, made noises, clunked and crapped out. About a week and a half later we made the same mistake with a different car. So yeah us Americans are not too sure about how the whole petrol and diesel deal works out here, and we just love putting whatever gas in there.


In general what's the biggest difference between Oz and USA.

I would say, except for Grafton, that everyone is way more laid back and more relaxed about everything, and more willing to go with the flow. I love Australia. I've always said that if I had to leave America I would be coming to Australia for sure.


You’ve been spending time with the Jet Pilot crew, they’ve supported you for a long time yeah: 


I've been with Jet Pilot literally since I got into wake boarding (12 years ago). They found me as a tiny little kid, and for some reason thought back then when I was twelve that I would still be wakeboarding today, which is something I didn't even know at the time. They've stood behind me 100%. I just love the connection, and I love that these guys have realised that and I've realised how important that is. I've always been behind them as much as they've been behind me.


And you’ve got your own clothing range:


We've done everything from shirts, board shorts, vests, and hats. This year we're doing flannels and you know whatever idea I come up with as long as they can make it work they’ll do it. And it's vice versa. They'll be like Shane we've got this idea for a new vest and I'll be like let me try it out and if it works usually we kill it.


It’s your birthday soon, how will you celebrate: 


For the last 4 or 5 years I've done this thing we call 'Tubes, Boobs and Beer on Clear'. Clear is the name of the lake we do it on. But we get like fifteen or twenty boats and about fifteen or twenty tubes, or whatever type of floating device, and we just float off into the middle of the lake and bring out a few kegs and a bunch of liquor and I have a fun little birthday. It's probably like around 50 of my good friends who'll all be out on the lake enjoying the sun and raging. The lake is near where I live. It's called Clear Lake, in Florida. It's pretty good because it's right near down town Orlando and I usually have one of the local bars to sponsor it and supply the kegs and liquor so we get hammered, and when the night comes we just head down to the bar and party there. It usually turns into a shit show around five or six o’clock and doesn't end til 2 or 3am.


What's your focus for this year:


Well I'm really pumped on this D5 video because it's my good friend Danny. It's a documentary, not just about his past. It's more about who he rides with and the progress in the sport. He's been working on this movie for the last year and the next few months it’s crunch time at lunch time to make sure we punch out all the solid tricks we've been hoping on getting for the last year. That'll be one of the bigger projects I'll be a part of this year. Last year I got over a knee surgery around April/ May so I hadn't been back on the water for like a year and I just wanna really focus on riding and getting a lot of few new photos. I recently got the cover of TransWorld Wakeboarding so I'm super pumped about that. I'm probably going to go over to Europe for a couple of weeks this year because they have a whole line of events there. To be honest I don’t have too many plans, just gonna keep doing what I'm doing. 


Glad you had a good time out here Shane, except for the rainy weather and Grafton, good luck for the year ahead mate:


Yeah thanks, but I can't really blame Australia for Grafton. We'll just blame Grafton for Grafton. I love Australia, I think it's the 6th or 7th time I've been out here. I've lost track. I love it and I'm always going to come back. It works good because we can come here in our winter when it's too cold to wake board back home and it's perfect here. Makes it a never-ending summer! 


Shane Bonifay Competition history


2009: Oakley Riot - 2nd

2006: Pro Wakeboard Tour: Kelowna - 2nd

2004: Australian Pro Tour: Nowra - 2nd

2003: Gravity Games - 2nd

2002: Pro Wakeboard Tour: Orlando - 2nd

2002: Wakeboarding Pro - 3rd

2001: Wakeboarding Pro - 1st

2001: Wakestock - 3rd

2000: U.S. Masters - 1st

2000: X Games - 3rd

1999: Pro Wakeboard Tour: Ft. Lauderdale - 1st


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