Last weekend in France was the infamous International Festival of Extreme Sports, or when translated into French and abbreviated, FISE. The event in Montpellier is basically a European version of the X-Games. It is huge, thousands of people watch the free public event every year, and with big prize money and the best athletes in all action sports from across the world, it is an awesome week of partying, riding and meeting up with people.
Wakeboarding has always played a big part in the event with a growing emphasis on the rail park each year. In the past it has been undeniably sketchy and outright dangerous, but this year they really stepped up their game and on the whole the course was great. There was a huge international contingent of guys out there, including Marc Rossiter, Dan Nott, Scotty Broome, Shane Bonifay, Shawn Watson, Freddy Von Osten, Kevin Henshaw, Rocco Van Straaten, Keith Lidberg, Mitch Langfield and Brian Reeder to name but a few of the couple dozen guys who entered the event.
I happened to be in Montpellier on a private job for my other business that week, so it was good to get over to the site and check out what the guys were doing, although I had to leave on Friday so missed the actual contest. But it didn’t really matter, the standard of riding in the practice sessions was far beyond that of half the contests I’ve been to in the last few years. The guys we all killing it on the System 2.0 park between the two cables and plethora of rails. There was a big pool built on the bridge with transfers to a banked ledge, wallride, A-Frame and steel handrails, then in the open water there was a big A-Frame, some kickers and a sick flatbar that must have been 120ft, and with most of the riders on flex boards this simple rails was debatably the best one to watch on the whole course.
Unfortunately the weather wasn’t so good and it rained pretty much the whole week. Terrible luck for the event organisers as all of the other events couldn’t take place in the rain, so Wakeboarding shined bright for the crowds who had braved the weather to watch some action. Like I said before, I missed the contest myself so can’t tell you exactly what happened, but I’m sure it was amazing! Don’t worry though, we’ve been promised a video soon from FISE so you will be able to see exactly what went down. For now enjoy these photos from Friday’s practice session and congrats to the finalists, Henshaw, Lidberg, Mitch and Rossi on their placings and paycheques.
1st – Kevin Henshaw
2nd – Keith Lidberg
3rd – Mitch Langfield
4th – Marc Rossiter