In recent years, Aaron Rathy has cropped up as one of the most surprising newcomers to the top-tier of pro-level wakeboarding. Yet as a rider who can throw 1080s—and the first to launch a wake-to-wake KGB 540—Rathy's recent deals with the prestigious Byerly Boards, Nautique, and, now, Rockstar Energy Drink, are only indicative of a burgeoning professional career. Here the 21-year-old Canadian talks about some recent filming down-under and his predictions for the 2009 King of Wake season.

Alli: So what have you been up to since the 2008 King of Wake season ended?
Aaron Rathy:
I spent about a month and a half back home in Canada, just chilling with my family and friends. Then I flew to Australia and rode in a couple of contests down there. After that, I went to New Zealand with some of the guys to film Ronnie Romero and David Cervenka's Global Warningvideo. Now I'm back in O-Town [Orlando], getting ready for Wake Games.

Speaking of Wake Games, have you put together a strategy for drafting your team?
[Laughs] I haven't put a lot of thought into my draft picks yet, but I have a couple riders in mind, like Jimmy LaRiche. I need to get out there and see which kids can shred. It's my first year as a team captain, so not a whole lot of pressure, it's just about having fun.

As a Nautique team rider, is it any easier for you competing at a Nautique event, such as Wake Games?
Totally! I have the same boat that's used in the contest, the Super Air Nautique 230. I ride behind it every day, so I'm used to the wake. It's a killer boat, and I can't wait to shred at Wake Games.

A lot of people are saying you will make the finals at Wake Games. Which three riders would you least want to face?
Probably Phillip Soven, Rusty Malinoski and JD Webb. Phil because he's just so on-point. He's a consistent rider and he always lands the hardest tricks. Rusty rides so big and he's incredibly consistent–it's also hard to beat him. JD is so well-rounded and he has mad style. I want to compete against them because it challenges me to ride better. It's more fun that way.

Have you set any goals for the 2009 season?
Just to get on the podium and have fun, really. Maybe try to win some contests against some of the top guys, like Phil [Soven] or Rusty [Malinoski]. It would be nice to get a win early in the season, like at the Wake Games.

I heard you recently signed with Rockstar Energy Drink. What's it like to ride for them?
It's unreal. I'm riding with guys like Randy Harris, Rusty Malinoski, Chad Sharpe, and bunch of dudes who can seriously rip. It's a tight-knit group of really good riders and I'm stoked to be a part of it.

Any sponsor shout-outs?
Yeah, for sure: Nautique, Byerly Boards, Rockstar Energy Drink, Oakley, and Hart & Huntington Tattoo.