About three weeks ago, we initiated an interview with Lou Wainman. It made sense, he is commonly viewed as one of the OG wakestylers, he always seemed to have a fresh and interesting perspective on not just kitesurfing but life in general. The interview started off, normal enough, well normal for Lou. He gave his thoughts on the current state of the wakestyle scene, he gave a few choice anecdotes and in general it was Lou being Lou.
Then we decided to probe his mind a bit about the current state of Wainman Hawaii. We couldn’t help but be a bit curious, Hannah Whiteley had just jumped ship onto the Best juggernaut, the ManiaC had finally come out after a very long wait, and of course there was the now deleted Facebook outburst of emotion by Lou himself.
What followed was something that we did not expect, an outpouring of text describing a near death experience, a frank admission of mental illness and a freeform train-of-thought block of words that we had a hard time configuring in our own minds into something that we could truly understand.
At that point, we had a decision to make. Publish this, an article that would probably rock a few boats, or lay low and hope that this was something that would blow over. Normally, yes, Kite Scoop is about unbiased coverage and while it was tempting to drop this bomb that was sure to generate views and buzz, in the end we decided to leave it unpublished.
Our hope was that Wainman Hawaii and the man whose namesake the company took would find a way to reconcile. Making public what could be viewed as an emotional rant of a man in the grips of his manic state would definitely drive a stake between the two entities opening a rift that would not be easily repairable. Keep in mind Kite Scoop is an unsponsored entity at the time of writing. Wainman Hawaii had never contributed advertising, nor contributed as a company to our website.
Imagine our surprise, when a section of our unedited correspondence found its way to the public when Lou himself copy and pasted it to his public social media page. Something we had never intended.
So why did we care if WH and Lou Wainman were a happy go lucky couple? Simple, because we care about Lou and Wainman Hawaii is his main, if not only, source of income. Lou has a wife and a daughter, both of whom he cares very deeply about. This much was evident in our brief correspondence.
Perhaps Lou was mistreated, and it was time for this relationship to end. Or perhaps Lou was viewing things at a different angle than the rest of the world. Or maybe it was something in between. Regardless a blowout in a public forum benefits nobody.
To Lou. You inspire. That much is clear. Kiteboarding today takes so much from everything you have done in the past. As such, you’ve probably touched more lives than even you realize. How many times have people strapped on boots and launched themselves with reckless abandon because of you? You’ve given more people wings than any energy drink could claim. We simply hope that you find your peace, wherever it may lie.
To Wainman Hawaii. You took a risk, a gamble, years ago. You tried to capture force of nature and harness it to create a business. Perhaps you didn’t know what you had truly partnered with until later, but we sincerely hope that you speak the truth about keeping Lou’s interests in mind. We understand you have a business to run, and we wish you the best of luck. Kitesurfing needs its visionaries, we need those that are willing to push and press that envelope.
To the rest of the masses. There are those of you, championing Lou’s emotional posts on Facebook like they are the prose of a bard. Let us pose a question to those of you in the cheering crowd, those of you encouraging him and screaming for more.. What kitesurfing company will now be willing to take on board a diagnosed bipolar man? Someone who had a spectacular and very public spat with his prior employer? What’s that? “Screw the system! He’ll form his own company.” Well, where will his seed capital come from? While Lou dreams big and vibrantly, he still needs engineers to shape those dreams into reality. Who will step up and volunteer to help him create the foundation to begin building his new dreams? To those of you who took advantage of a man who had nothing but kindness and passion in his heart, shame on you.
Lou has always been ahead of his time. Perhaps in ten years, we’ll all be riding across the waves with inflatable carrots strapped to our backs, or hopping across the water with pogo sticks. Maybe some new sport will capture all our imaginations and a new generation of groms will sport “Kitesurfing is cancelled” bumper stickers on their hover trucks. Wherever the future leads, we simply hope that the events that have transpired lead Lou to find his peace.
We will edit, and publish the rest of the interview with Lou. His thoughts on the current state of the industry are refreshing and brutally honest, something that we feel our sport needs.