Converse Factory Orlando by bradlee rutledge

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"SAME LOCATION. NEW EXPERIENCE. The Converse Store at Orlando Vineland PremiumOutlets® re-opened on June 1st with a revamped retail experience and curated product from our newest collections, including Converse x Miley, One Star,Chuck 70, and the latest Chuck Taylor All Star fashion sneakers. Come check us out. We can’t wait to share it with you."

Converse is one of the most iconic brands in the shoe industry. Everyone can remember when and what their first pair of converse were. For me, It was a pair of navy blue high top classics with gold piping around the soul. Getting to work with the entire marketing team to show off their 1st completely re-designed store experience was rad!

B.E.T - DOMINIQUE "SONICFOX" MCLEAN by bradlee rutledge

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I recently got hired to follow Dominique "Sonicfox" Mclean around while on assignment for B.E.T at the Injustice 2 tournament in Orlando, Florida. I can't ever say I was the biggest gamer in my younger years. For all the flack pro gamers catch the top level gamers have an insane amount of skill. I can honestly say I have never seen anyone press buttons as fast as Sonicfox. His ability to think ahead 3-4 moves is what separates him as one of the worlds best. Also, his knowledge of all the characters and their strengths and weaknesses is something that most people underestimate. He knows his opponents strengths and weaknesses as well as the character they chose to fight with. You can read more about Sonicfox here in his interview with B.E.T.

Present - 2017 Editor letter by bradlee rutledge

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Present

I think it’s safe to say that lately the majority of us have lost some sense of what it’s like to live in the moment. Often that’s why it’s easy to find so much enjoyment and peace when you travel out of the country. It forces you to be present in times that are usually consumed with a cellphone in your hand and face. You’re forced to learn how to get around to somewhere new without a data plan to fall back on, and you have to have a real, genuine conversation with people to get directions or find the best place to eat or drink. Our phones have really cut down on moments like these.

A big goal and push for me this year was to be more connected, on a human level, when I was in the boat with other people, or grabbing a beer with an old friend. Not sitting next to people and trying to continually show them something cool on the Internet. It’s become our default these days. What happened to doing something stupid and being the only the people that got to be in on it, and enjoy it? That’s how the best memories and stories are made. Not who can get Snapchat to load the fastest. We live in the “Timmy the Topper” generation (sorry if your name is Tim or Timmy.) Why can’t we go out to eat and not snap what is on our plate, or the person next to us awkwardly eating something with that slow, tight zoom that pixelates everything? Why can’t we go on a boat and not look at our phones the whole time?

This issue shows that it’s okay to live in the moment, and not just do things for the social media payoff. Just look on the cover this month. Driving double ups alone takes a lot of practice. Driving a double up past me floating in the water, so the boat hits the rollers at the perfect distance and angle away is a whole nother challenge. Next, we have Alex Graydon, who wrote an article about not taking the easy way out and filming with your crappy phone camera when you land that banger new trick. We all know that professional riding is a race for new tricks, but at some level, Graydon argues, you’re only hurting yourself and the talent you have by posting it as fast as possible. We didn’t see Max VanHelvort land the first ever Double Cork on a wakeboard through the lens of an iPhone 6. The hype of him landing it lasted way longer because he made and released real video. Not a single clip or one of the boys riding doubles filming it and claiming it with a handle spike, dab, or whatever is cool these days. Next, we have the boys from Istudiomo, who have been working on a project for the past two years. You haven't seen Snapchats and loads of photos on Instagram showing off what spot and location they’re at each day. And finally, we have Courtney Angus, Ange Scriber and host of friends who premeditated a 10-day trip to hit 10 different cable parks, and make a movie about it. They struggled through language barriers with filmers and photographers, and managed to create some of the most memorable experiences together with a group of girls from eight different countries.

What I’m getting at is put the cellphones down sometimes. Sit there in silence at the end of the dock and enjoy the colors of the sunset. Let your toes soak in that golden water that the Earth is reflecting onto the glass calm lake. Stop worrying what filter will make the lake look better, or hashtag will give you more likes on your picture. These moments will make you appreciate what’s in front of you and what you care about. This isn’t just for the wakeboarder or wake fan out there; it’s for everyone.

So I challenge you, next time you go out on the boat to ride or party at the local sandbar, leave the phone in the car. Have fun with the people around you and make real, genuine memories. Everything doesn’t have to be posted, hashtagged or filtered. You’ll appreciate these moments a lot more than only having a random video clip or photo that will get lost amongst the other 7,000 in your camera roll.