By Empire Wake
The bar for Collegiate Wakeboarding has just been set. Not by one team, but by the 11 that showed up to the top spot in the country, SeTX Lake. It was the biggest weekend this level has seen since the dawn of its existence. Coincidentally, that is the time everyone went to bed each night.
When Jason and I pulled up to SeTX mid afternoon on Friday, not only were we shocked to see a beautiful crystal clear lake with sliders down the side, but that North Texas, LSU, and Stephen F Austin had been there since Thursday set up and throwing down behind a Malibu Wakesetter.
The area offered camping, fire pits, lights, grills and a winch stand and slider. As the teams showed up and set up for the main event on Saturday, Don Burnett began the festivities. He grilled us all sausage with veggies and offered Red Bull, water, and Soda free for everyone there. Empire Wake covered all food and drink cost all weekend long! There was music playing on the PA, and the Urban Rider winch pulled riders across a 100-foot roof top slider.
8am came early as we set up for a long day of great riding among the teams. Louisiana Lafayette struck first as Jacob Rabalais was off the dock behind a brand new 2010 Axis 22. The beginner division was solid with 7 different schools and 10 riders. Texas Tech took one and two with Sean Aaron and Greg Lanehart.
Next off the dock was the biggest women’s division Empire Wake has hosted in 6 years; 17 riders, and 7 schools. It was University of Texas’ Taylor Lopez that awed the crowd with big airs and a last second backroll to jump Texas A&M’s Courtney Harris for 1st. Lopez is going to be a rider you will be hearing about for the next few years as she helps build the Texas Club.
Intermediate was just as impressive as the riding was near impossible to judge. The real story here was newcomer Baylor University who just started their club this year. Rider Trever Stewart took 1st over Texas A&M’s Trevor Akers and Texas Tech’s John Phillips.
The sun started to set on day one lighting up the water and sky in a brilliant gold. It was a perfect backdrop as we pulled the last few riders of the day.
SeTx and Empire Wake once again provided dinner for everyone at the site. The Park’s Documentary and a premier of No Name Losers was played all evening as riders got a chance to meet each other play a game called washers.
Day 2 was set for Advanced, Open and Wakeskate. Robert Muff (Texas Tech), Derek Weber (Texas) and Caleb Kaker (Baylor) podium for Advanced, while Randy Vestal (Texas A&M), John Phillips (Texas Tech) and Tyler Hartung (LSU) took care of wakeskate.
The open division was everything we expected from Texas. Third place was Geren Sims (Texas A&M) throwing down a solid run, but was no match for Texas freshman sensation Steven Cahill who proved his worth and interview on Stokemeter.com. Cahill took a very close second losing to J.B O’Neill who was an independent rider from a small community college that feeds into Texas A&M. You will be seeing O’Neill at A&M next year, maybe even nationals this season.
By the end of Sunday the showdown in east Texas had come to an end. Texas A&M took first, just edging out Texas by 200 points and followed by rookie team Baylor. All three are guaranteed spots at the Collegiate Wake Series nationals in Austin Texas.
The scene in Texas and Louisiana are the top in the country. Every club showed up strong and rode hard. This area is going to produce big things in the future. LSU. Louisiana Monroe, and Louisiana Lafayette are going to be schools to be reckoned with while the top 3 are on their way to dominance.
For all the photos and standings check out www.EmpireWake.com.