Raynald Tanny is the Godfather of the French wake scene.
Along with his friend Philip Sirech, they converted what was considered by many Gallic sportsmen as an adolescent hobby, into a respectable sport at an epoch when the nostalgia of a certain ‘Petit Prince‘ Patrice Martin, the World Champion water-skier, was still immanent.
Through their continuous determination and despite many initial financial difficulties, the fruit of this collaboration, Unleashed Magazine has become one of the most widely read and respected wakeboard magazines in Europe.
Between sexy photo shoots and trying organizing events that don’t end in police intervention, I caught up with the man himself to discuss the get the low-down on the magazine, now published for free online.
When did Unleashed Magazine start and more importantly, why didn’t you invest your time in a sport with money, like waterskiing, or barefoot?
It all started in 2003 during a trip to Australia with the French Wakeboard Team. I didn’t know much about the sport, I was there to take photos during the contests. The idea came to me in the back of a camping car, after a drinking session. I was already working for some skate magazines and I thought the idea of launching a wakeboard magazine could be interesting, especially as there were few, if any of the sort in Europe. I spoke to my current business partner, Phil Sirech and we went for it, without much reflection! And why didn’t I choose to do a waterski or barefoot mag? Because… I suppose that these sports don’t do anything for me.
How have you seen the French wake scene change since Unleashed’s humble beginnings?
The French scene has taken a long time to shed itself of the ‘guru’s’ who’ve wanted to control everything, without sharing anything, as other people in the industry had done.
These days, a few riders have singlehandedly succeeded, like Léo Labadens or Antoine Allaux.
It’s good to see them hold down a real international career and I’m really happy for them. The level of French riding is nothing to be embarrassed about on the international scene. Our wake parks are developing incredibly and the level of riding on each spot is improving profusely.
As a photographer, what was your most memorable shoot?
A series of lifestyle shots I took in the Philippines. Magic. The people are extraordinary and the landscape is breathtaking.
Could wakeskating overtake wakeboarding?
No, I don’t think so. Wakeboarding will always be up top. But one thing is sure, that wakeskating continues to evolve and is fast becoming crazy.
What does a European rider have to do to make it big in the USA, other than sleep with a reality TV star?
They have to stop thinking that everything is owed to them. They’ve got the means of making it, but high level sport is a business and they have to understand that.
At the same time, action sports brands in France need to stop thinking that extreme sports stop at surfing, skating and snowboarding. It’s a real shame and a big restriction for our sport and our riders.
Finally, are you Phillip Sirech’s secret son?
Sorry Hayley, but the gossip’s all wrong. Matt Pokora is his son!