Words: Sean Reavis | Photos: Danny Braught
Eric Silverman, seems to be in the right place for turning his own world upside down – in the best ways possible. He is at the pinnacle of FlowRider® success, as he continuously keeps the bar high amongst his competition. Who is he really? Who does he have around him? The answers are never simple. They say that it's lonely at the top, etc... maybe if your journey to success was wrought with devious business practices, or because of complete negligence of those early supporters that helped you achieve that very success. However, unless it was like that, then it's not really that lonely at all. It is simply different with a refined focus. Those at the top of their athletic game (this includes all of the board sports that we adore)have gotten themselves into a position where everything is just a little different. They begin to be less challenged by new users in the sport, or even by the predictable nature of what they've already done. They are no longer satisfied with their infamous bag of tricks. Top athletes usually find themselves surrounded by other talented peers, also reaching for the top. They look around and see less people in their daily lives, but the consistency of those around them speaks for itself. The new challenge of being simply better than yesterday requires an entire crew of people that have the same goal for you - New Achievements. This sometimes means having management on your side, that is adept at seeing the big picture; while letting you get back to focusing on that new challenge. At other times it requires having other champions that push you out of your comfort zone, and show you that added perspective which opens your mind to an expanded challenge. In the case of Eric Silverman, he's perfectly encompassed by the kind of people he requires to continue to take his success to higher levels.
Most of us are extremely aware of how we learn best, some are visual learners and some more hands on. We don't normally stop to remember that it took someone else being there in order for us to gain a new understanding of what we encounter. Imagine if someone just handed you a skateboard and you only had the chance to see one quick clip of someone riding down a hill. If you went directly out and tried the same thing – most of you would collide with reality quickly and the scrapes or bruises would be your teacher. Skateboarding seemed like that anyways, but you know you recall your buddy telling you how to do something or where to keep your feet. It's the same with every board sport... we have to see greatness to know that it is really possible. Nine times out of ten, there's always somebody there to show us exactly what to do and how to do it, or even what they haven't figured out yet . This too is helpful; to see what challenges even those we consider great are facing. This brings me to champions in general.
When you get to the point of having reached championship status more than three or four times, who you have around you is very important. Eric Silverman, has racked up a total of 9 World Flowboarding Championship Titles (WFC) (8x Strapped Champion, 3x Strapless Champion),and is a master on the Barrel. If Sean Silveira is the Shaman of Flow, then Eric is the Yogi of the Barrel. It's been good for those at FlowRider Inc. to watch Eric travel, compete and win, and more importantly – watch him develop in the sport, while he helps grow the sport. It is all of the great ensemble of talent that FlowRider keeps on hand that raises the bar for the industry. Even Eric, who is a specialist on the barrel, knows that you get to a point where you need somebody to make you go beyond what you originally thought was your limitation. It is just simple fact: we all learn from each other and there's not one person that figured out success all by themselves. Whatever our particular board sport, it's important that we find out what exactly is holding us back. Many times it takes someone as skilled, to provide insight into what that next level should be. Just like hindsight is 20/20, self-betterment many times requires some outside perspective. Isn't that what we want? - to be better?
We dug into the minds of those around Eric to find out how his clock ticks, and we were happily surprised by some of the answers. Adam Muller, Flow Events Coordinator & Judge, is someone who truly knows Eric very well. He gets to travel with Eric to all of the worldwide events, and also is privy to the daily growth faced by Eric on the home front. He and Eric work hand in hand with FlowRider Inc. and also WaveHouse San Diego,the flow mecca, just down the road from the Flow HeadQuarters. We were curious, especially from Adam's perspective, what makes a “champion” in his opinion. Adam simply wrapped it all up in one sentence, “A Champion has to be hungry, even when they don't have an appetite.” Bam! – There you have it! Eric must be someone who knows he doesn't need to push himself to show off, because at this point he's not showing off. He is focused on trying to Be Better. He always has an appetite to see what's next. Most people get to that “top” position and lose interest or become sufficiently satisfied to not crave more. The fire soon dies out and sadly so does the career. Adam is without a doubt correct – Champion are people that feed that fire! It's like...Be Hungry! Or else. We asked him then to further point out what characteristics of a Champion were possessed by Eric, and what perhaps he has that others haven't discovered within themselves. Here is what he had to say:
“So... Yeah, most would say that Eric is a champion because of all of his world titles or unique talents, but to me there is so much more that goes into being that champion I've noticed. A true champion has dedication, desire and makes sacrifices. In regards to Eric, it is his progression and self-determination. Eric keeps pushing--or should I say, Keeps Eating! He is continuously experimenting and taking his tricks to the next level. He is NOT waiting for his competition to catch up; instead, he is focused on increasing the gap between himself and the competition. His goal is to push all the limits, and make it even harder for them to catch up. In return, he is growing himself in ways that provide longevity. He is contributing to a sport that he is passionate about, and no pun intended – carving a career for himself in the process by portraying a positive image of the Champion that he truly is. Let’s just say he’s not doing it for the money at this point."
Upon asking Adam, what it was like to travel with Eric to all these events, on a personal level not related to FlowRider Inc., etc., it seems like Eric even makes travel easier. Adam described to us how it was a luxury to travel with Eric, the world traveler, “The dude has been all over the world. He's familiar with the in's & out's of just about every airport worldwide. He's a champion traveler too, because he knows all the tricks and perks available.”
Recently, Boarders CEO, Danny Braught, went out to WaveHouse SD to visit with Eric and fellow champion Sean Silveira, and spy on what they do together to push themselves beyond their personal envelopes. These two guys, and even Adam, all joke and rake one another like only good friends should haha, and at the same time make it clearly visible how they share and all combine energy to vibrate daily at their desired Flow-Frequency. This is what really takes the game up a notch.
When we asked Danny what he saw during his visit that he could share with us about Eric, from observing his practice sessions, here's what he had to say: “Eric's attitude is one that reflects all champions, and you see it with him and also with Sean Silveira. Eric is always trying to help others.”
After hearing all this we felt it was equally important to hear what Eric and Sean had to say about each other. We decided to make it simple for these two champs, since we know they are competitive. We asked them to list the three things that they could say they've learned from the other that makes them bigger, better, stronger. We were happily pleased and fell over laughing. Check this out:
Eric – “What has riding with Sean Silveira done for your Flow?”
1. He has shown me how to simply look at the wave differently, and because of the new perspective I'm able to learn different tricks.
2. He has made me focus more time on riding switch; which obviously makes those tricks better, and opens up new avenues for more.
3. Just the simple way that we ride together, and are both learning new tricks gives the other person more drive to learn. Then at the same time we are stoked for each other when we land the trick. There is just that added cool factor, when your friends are learning in the same session as you.
Sean – “What have you learned from riding with Eric Silverman?”
1. He's shown me how to Air on the Barrel, which harder and nearly impossible to do on the regular FlowRider system.
2. Eric is great at doing flips on the Barrel, and now that is something I have worked into my trick line up.
3. Then he's shown me how to take shots of Jameson like a true Champ.
(We fell over! lol)
We pointed out that though Sean would have to see Eric's answers in this issue, he should go ahead and get him a belated Valentine's Day card because Eric was much sweeter haha. What we weren't prepared for was Sean's answer of, “Yeah Duh – Because I taught him everything, I'm older and basically raised the kid okay. We've partied together since he was 17. You can blame everything on me haha!” Tears pour from our eyes with laughter now, as only Sean Silveira could claim this... and rightfully so!
Thankfully we'll continue to see more from these two, and I won't be surprised if they shock us this year with a couple of new tricks that only this dastardly duo could release into the flow-frequency. People like Eric, Sean, Adam and really anyone of you that vibrate in that champ vibe, have one thing in common - True Passion for your sport. In the flow world, we can see the growth that continuously expands across the world and now even on cruise ships. Flowboarding is definitely evolving at a rapid pace, and so it's time to be introspective. Time to exceed our potential, and see how hungry we are. Champions aren't made, this seems obvious. Champions are discovered...first by the actual person that feeds that hunger, and then by those around him that want to see more emerge from that new found force. So smiles up and shots up – Three cheers for these champs and three more to that Flow-Life!