After short flight one of the best Croatian extreme photographers Marjan Radović and I arrived to Holland Shipol airport where Protest crew picked us up and took to hotel Van der Valk (Houten). We left our stuff in the room and went directly to the Down Under cable in Nieuwegein. When I looked weather forecast before our arrival I was really depressed. We had 40 degrees at home and were leaving towards rainy competition. For the third year in the row they were unlucky with weather. But now, after event, I am so happy that weather was better than it was announced. Yes, we had tons of rain, than tons of sun, which was changing every second. I always find a way how to watch competition and don’t get wet, but for the spectators, this was really a challenge. I just hope for the next year they will be rewarded having the best conditions ever on the site because third year in a raw they are doing amazing organized wakeboarding and wakeskating event.
Friday was a training day. Around 55 riders from 8 countries worldwide came to be part of this amazing event trying to pick up 27.000 USD. We didn’t stay awake for a long time being tired from a trip needing to prepare for the tomorrow’s qualifications day.
Saturday was decision day for qualifiers to see who can drink and who needs to take it easy at the after party hoping to grab podium place. After amazing ride of 55 riders the “Feel good” party started on the site.
The spectators had great time on Saturday! They could see the competition from the shoppingstreet, where they could enjoy a lot other activities too. The big brands in the shoppingstreet had a lot of attention. Also the hottubs, free t-shirts, a photobooth grabbed everyones attention. After amazing party on the lake with some of the best Dutch bends (Handsome Poets, DJ Okkie, Offshore, F, The Rock ‘n Roll Prophets ft. Steve Conte of The New York Dolls and special guest Celluloid Gurus) Sunday morning came really too fast. With a blink of an eye we had first categories on the water. When I looked at the window during my breakfast I really wanted to cry. Rain outside looked more on a shower than on the rain… Oh, if it will be like this it gonna ruin the event. But someone “Up Stairs” heard our prayers and gave us a bit of sun… Every ten minutes we have change of the weather conditions, from heavy rain to +30. If you brought your flip flops it was the best thing, sun and rain could pass through it.
Competitors were split in 5 categories: Open Men, Pro Men, Pro Women, Obstacles only and Pro Wakeskate.
It was really tough for riders in Pro categories. Between all of them there are minor differences in their riding so at the end everything depends about the composition of their run.
All the riders had chance to get one pick up. If they had tumble turn it counted as fail.
In Pro Wakeskate category, as always, leading position took Daniel Grant (THAI), having really consistent run. In any category he participated this weekend he always finished on the podium and he is only 15 years old. On a question “What was your run” I got a simple answer “I don’t remember”, but other riders in his heat helped me with the tricks he through on the water. He started his run with switch 3 indy grab over the kicker, continued with 3 shuvit, than kickflip, bs 3, 180 slide shuvit off, huge Ollie, than Ollie on the flatbar 90 off, switch fs 3, rooftop switch ollie on, bs shuffle 90 out and finishing with bs 3 over the kicker. Samuel Kerner from Germany took 2nd place. He started his run with the switch boned nose grab 180 over the kicker, continued with switch fs big spin, than bs big spin, backlipping table and felt on the kick flip. Next attempt started with Ollie on the flatbar, boardslide rooftop, landing kick flip and finishing with bs 180 over the kicker. On the 3rd place was also German rider, Elias Erkan, being not proud on what he landed, knowing he can do way better than he did. He started his run with switch big spin over the kicker, 3 shuvit, fs 3 and fell on the kick flip. Second attempt started with the switch big spin, shuvit on box, bs big spin, Ollie north, Ollie on backlipping, fs 180 ollie north, switch Ollie on bs boardslide shuvit off and fell again on the kick flip.
Obstacle only competition win James Windsor from Australia. Being only 17 years old and having only 3 years riding under his feet he definitively rocked in both categories he participated. Obstacle only competition is really hard on this cable. All the riders have limited time for riding in a jam format. But the cable is really big, so if they fall on any of the obstacles they need to swim and run really fast to the starting dock, starting their attempt without a breath and having no chance to fall again, because next time they will hear a horn – which will mean “no more tricks, your time is done!”. Windsor was definitively highlight of this category landing switch bs 9 on the kicker and doing ts bs 180 to switch nosepress and fs 3 over the slider… including also front 3 on to nosepress and bs 180 off the slider. He was followed by Daniel Grant on the 2nd place who definitively kicked out with a stylish bs 9 off the kicker and backlipping gap 270 to tail and fs 3 off the slider. On the third place was Tom Fooshee from USA having hs bs 9 on the kicker and switch ts bs transfer 450 over the roof.
Women category, oh, what to say. Couple years ago it was easy. Maxine Sapulette from Holland always took first place. But after riding so hard she couldn’t avoid injuries, so now she was back for the first competition after her shoulder surgery. Unfortunately she fell 2 times and didn’t finish her run so she ended up on the 4th place. If all the girls would have landed their tricks it would be really hard decision who should win. On the 3rd place was German rider Cosima Giemza. She started her run with hs fs switch 3, raley, front to fakie, switch halfcab roll, transferring funbox, nosepressing slider 180 off, rooftop slide, backroll to blind and ending up with her signature trick tootsie roll over the kicker. On the 2nd place was Angelika Schriber from Australia. She is really rocking on the obstacles (being only girl who ever landed sw 9 over the kicker) and in case she didn’t fall on her front to revert she might won 1st place. Run was started with ts 5 over the kicker, s band indy grab, roll to blind, transfer backlipping 90 out over the funbox, switch roll to revert, nose backlipping 270 out of the flatbar, fell on the front to revert, landing blind judge and finishing with hs 5 over the kicker. On the third place was Sophia-Marie Reimers having consistent ride in her run. She started with the bs 1 tail grab, frontflip to fakie nose grab, left switch mobe (at the moment only girl who is putting this hard trick in her run), funbox gap, blind judge, Ollie on rail 180 out, switch krypt, nosepressing rail rooftop, roll to revert and finishing with ts fs 5 over the kicker.
The most highlighted category was definitively Pro men category. In the last years you definitively have no clue who will even from quarter finals pass through the semi finals and guessing who will pick up the first place on the podium is definitively equal to zero! I put my bets on some riders, but at the end it was completely different than I guessed. Differences between top 10 riders are so minor that composition takes the highest score. If someone unfortunately falls in his run for the judges it becomes way easier to set up results. Younger riders who were couple years ago riding Junior Men category already overtook Open Men. On the first place was Nick Davies from UK. He just started after really hard knee injury (trying behind boat double wake double tantrum) and is already back on top. He started his run with a nose grab crow mobe over the kicker, raley 5 (called Nicolodeum, because couple years ago he was first rider ever landing this trick), than switch tail grab roll to blind, 360 bs transfer over the funbox, bell air to blind, ts tail slide nose slide bs 3 out the slider, crow mobe, 270 on nosepressing roof tope, mobe 5 and finishing with switch ts bs 9 over the kicker. He was followed by Tom Fooshee from USA on the 2nd place who started his run with hs 9, tail front to blind and fell on the crow mobe. Second attempt was ts bs 450 transfer over the funbox, switch mobe 5 nosegrabbing s mobe, crow mobe, switch nose grab and ending up with his signature trick pete rose 5 over the kicker. On the third place was James Windsor from Australia who already won obstacles only competition. I suppose that the “Big boys” put too much pressure on him so he fell on the hs 9 over the kicker. He continued with front roll to blind, crow mobe, left foot forward back mobe, transfer fs 3 landing switch nosepress, ts bs 1 to switch nosepress bs 180 out, left foot forward nuclear roll to blind, ts 180 to tailpress 270 out, s mobe and finishing with a switch bs 9 over the kicker. If he would have landed his semi’s run, he might took first place, but I don’t doubt he will show us this on the next competition. So let’s wait and see who will be winner of the season.
Until the next year we have 12 months time to make deal with the God to give us at least one Protest cable call event without the rain.
Thanks to: Protest, Teva, Jobe, Down Under, NU Sport, WWA, BoardForce, Unleashed, House of music, all the riders for the participation, all the workers on the cable, operators, judges and Clint Liddy for amazing MCing during the whole 2 days.