June 21st, 2010 by garrettcortese

There’s a new kid in town to take on the winner of last week’s Photo Battle. Lana Merkley sent us this photo of Minnesota boy turned Texas transplant Jade Whirley taking a crack at the abandoned (and now infamous) Dunlop Mill. The question is, does it hold up against last week’s winner: Stewart Cox’s shot of Benj Trogdon? Pick your favorite photo and cast your vote. If Cox wins, he takes home the prize. If not, then Merkley’s shot will go for round 2 next week.

The Champ: Benj Trogdon by Stewart Cox

The Challenger: Jade Whirley by Lana Merkley

Which shot is your favorite this week?

  • The Champ: Stewart Cox (52%, 754 Votes)
  • The Challenger: Lana Merkley (48%, 710 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,464

Loading ... Loading ...

This Alliance Photo Battle is brought to you by O’neill Eyewear. The winner of this battle will go on to compete against a new challenger for a chance to win a pair of shades from O’Neill Eyewear. Don’t forget to submit your photos for a chance to win!

60 Responses to “Alliance Photo Battle: June 21, 2010”

  1. Minnesota homegrown Says:

    Slingshot wake!!!!!!!! So sick! Killer shot Lana!!!!!

  2. Mike Jay Says:

    Sick Shot Lana!
    Cox’s is great too but you’re an assassin!!!

  3. Happycamper Says:

    Cox has a nice shot… But true winner here is the one with the most scenery showing how it all went down. And a butt shot typically is not one of my favorites.

  4. Nick Murray Says:

    All about the Winch

  5. Crews Laing Says:

    not even a contest. Lana and Jade’s photo is sicccccck

  6. doug Says:

    wow so winching is more impressive than boat riding these days…… that stalefish batwing is super stylish you dont see many of those that look that good, benj and stewarts pic is more impressive… its a much harder trick

  7. Photo Battle Says:

    Its called a Photo Battle doug NOT a Trick Battle, I think it would be hard to beat a shot that has so much color and interesting things to look at like in Lana’s picture

  8. yeshh! Says:

    the wall ride photo is super sketchy.. no style.. sorrrry

  9. jumpinjoesranch Says:

    well yesh!- have you ever gone winching before? From what I’ve seen at the ski ranch, his riding behind boat, and winching skills will blow anybody away. He is an epic rider! And no style?… maybe when he was 10 years old. Sorry buddy, looks like you need to take a look at some of his videos posted on Vimeo and on Amateur hour.

  10. Lana Merkley Says:

    Well… I like my photos and know a lot of other peeps do too! thanks for the support everyone! Let’s keep the votes coming!

  11. Megan Ashley Masters Says:

    Lanaaa! thats sick as hell. (:

  12. Gayle Dussling Says:

    The wall riding picture is far superior!

  13. thinkaboutit Says:

    Jade is Trespassing, while Benj is wearing a non-CGA vest. Jade is hitting the concrete wall of an abandoned mill, while Benj is hitting the wake. The photo of Jade could have cost him his life, while Benj could do that trick all day. It is impossible to judge art so just ask yourself which photo would you want your face in?

    Either way, sucks for Benj because no one knows what he looks like

  14. Illegal activities Says:

    What Jade is doing is illegal and irresponsibly dangerous. It does the image of the sport no good at all trespassing and riding in conditions like that. Photos of such activities should not be rewarded in any way. Try again Jade when you have learned how to ride responsibly and look good in the public eye…since that is the most critical part of making any sport popular.

  15. thinkaboutit Says:

    Illegal activities,

    There is no way that you, or anyone else that visits this site actually feels that way. Almost all winching involves some sort of trespassing, and what Jade is doing isn’t illegal at all. You are not allowed to be on that property , but security doesn’t care about the wall.

  16. benj t Says:

    hey guys thanks for the positive comments, both photos are sick. It is definetly super hard to compare these types of photos

  17. Lana Merkley Says:

    Benj- I agree with you. Both photos are great. The winner will only be determined by how many people like winching an how many people prefer boat riding. I love every aspect of wakeboarding. And to the guy who said we at tresspassing. We actually were not tresspassing. We had our winch on the public part of the river and we walked across the dam(Which is aloud) and did a deep water start. Don’t judge unless you know the facts, please. Both photos are awesome, but may the better one win.

  18. Minnesota homegrown Says:

    Yeah this battle is a tough one. I feel everyone is voting on what style of riding is shown in the pictures instead of the photos themselve… Remember folks!! “photo battle”

  19. Illegal activities Says:

    Lana – I will end with this post. Maybe you should review what “facts” you have posted online before you comment on knowing “facts”. On the Phun Promotions Facebook site you put clear photos of the No Trespassing signs in the area and even commented yourself on them being put up. There is also a clear shot of Jade walking up on the mill property itself (right next to no trespassing signs!) pulling his cable.

    “Fact” – your photos clearly show trespassing!

    Nothing at all against winching or your photography skills…but you have to be a bit more responsible doing it!

  20. waterdogg Says:

    I don’t know what the criteria was supposed to be for this particular contest, but…
    The way I see these two photo’s is, A: Stewart’s is classic. Isolated air, behind a boat, fun little grab, ok. Not much story to tell there.
    On the other hand, B: Lana’s photo is illustrating a sort of adventure that comes with pushing a sport to it’s creative limits. Looking at a sport to see where it’s been for years is one thing, but to turn away from tradition and find new ways to take it? Awesome. It’s called progression. After all, isn’t that what this sport’s all about?
    So ask yourself, who’s doing more to show the new, exciting & ever-changing face of the sport?
    I think if you are audacious enough to put a photo of your butt on a Photo Contest, you best have a nice one. All I’m gonna say is, not that impressed.

    ps- mr. illegal activities, think of how many years it took for snowboarding to become widely accepted. For years it was not even allowed at the majority of ski resorts. Take a minute to appreciate those pioneers of the sport who took snowboarding where it had never been before, even if it meant trespassing. Their consistent perseverance showed the world what sort of passion they had for their sport. Now it’s an Olympic Event! Now it’s widely accepted all over the world. You’re not exactly sounding like an advocate of your sport at this point mr. illegal activities. Try and pull back and look at the big picture dude. One fine day you might find yourself sitting around poo poo-ing trespassers, while others are showing wakeboarding’s true growth potential to the point where it becomes an Olympic event! what then?

  21. Lana Says:

    Well Mister Illegal activities… not sure who you are, but we were not tresspassing on this day… we have been out to the dam SEVERAL times and the cops are cool with us and are stoked on what we are trying to do. I may not have your vote on this photo, but a majority of the wake scene will agree with me… this is a cool photo and the idea of hitting a dam and wall riding off an old abandon mill is absolutely awesome! Sorry you aren’t cool with a little adventure. But being a little ballsie has never done anyone too much harm. =) cheers!

  22. waterdogg Says:

    oohhh snap,
    go Lana~

  23. Passionate appreciative. Says:

    Well Im not usually the type of person who takes part in the arguments online since they are faceless and futile, but I wanted to share my 2 cents.

    I think both shots are great. I think they are well lit, well edited, crisp and wonderful in their own way. This is a photo contest, a vote should be cast for your own personal choice. Arguing about the legality of how the shot was made makes no difference in the beauty of the shot and should make no difference in your vote. I think a vote should be solely based on the impact a particular picture has on you, and may the strongest survive.

    On a side note, boardsports are destined to always be outcast. Even with snowboardings mainstream “acceptance” or “rape” depending on your view, the majority of video parts are shot in questionable legality, with Pro’s simply buying off cops and towns and Am’s relying on a smile and a laugh. Its part of the rush while filming, getting kicked out, allowed to keep riding, enjoying the car ride to jail for being intoxicated on school grounds.. haha These days, every town, spot and police officer must be taken under its situation because it might be “Ok” one day and “Off Limits” the next, or open to one crew and closed to another depending on a million variables.

    So dont worry about what others do, simply vote for the shot that has the most impact upon you because thats what photography is. Someone trying to evoke emotion with a still image.

  24. RainaDes Says:

    Lana’s shot is AMAZING!!!
    It’s exciting, adventurous and inspiring.
    This is a PHOTO contest, and her photo is beyond fantastic! ‘Nuff said.

  25. Mike Catton Says:

    SO SICK!!!!! great job lana and jade!

  26. Caitlin Grimes Says:

    I vote for Benj’s photo. He has way more style then Jade. Yes, jade has the sick scene but it doesnt even look like he is sliding the wall, merely jumping, and a sloppy jump at that. Let’s be honest if Benj had that scene with those same conditions he could have hit it with way more style.

  27. goontown Says:

    haha, Jade has LAME style, benj and stewart all the way, for some G shit watch out for this kid

  28. gw Says:

    that wallride is so ugly how did it make it to a photo battle? yeeeah benj. NC reppin!

  29. skburton Says:

    Lana- Sick shot! I am loving what you two are doing down there!
    Jade- You always did have it, steeze, skill and the balls to go beyond the norm.
    ps I think I saw you pull a few of those stalefish batwings when we were like maybe 14 years old…still a hard trick but stale (like in it’s name) Way to push the sport to the next level.

    Illegal activities: Grow a pair. When it comes to extreme sports, following the rules never got anybody anywhere. Besides, that IS why they are called extreme sports. Don’t be such a square.

  30. Benj Trogdon Says:

    hahaha skburton do you even know what you are talking about?? thats so clever of you to call my stalefish batwing “stale”… thanks for taking the time to care :)

    thanks for any of the positive comments out there

  31. Minnesota homegrown Says:

    Wow these comments are great!!!!!!!!!! I do agree alittle bit with the Fact that the style on the wall ride is a bit off, but it’s a single photo. If Lana would have sequenced the shot you all would have seen a nice press and a 180 off the wall. Unfortunately she only had the one shot nice and clear, and someone who has more pull in the wake industry than any of you liked it enough to put it on the battle. You all are making a huge assumption that jade has no style at all, but the facts are this is just one photo!!!!! And anyone who has ever seen either of these guys shred knows they both rip. So Stop trash talking the athletes. Vote on the photos!!!!!!!!!

  32. Lana Merkley Says:

    Nicely said jade… Vote on what photo suits your own personal liking. & don’t trash the riders! You have no IDEA what or how these two riders can throw down. I’m sure one has more strengths than the other in different areas of riding! But, no1 cares! Vote on the photos people… Please stop trash talking!

  33. Crews Laing Says:

    haha you’re going to trash talk someone’s style while looking only at one picture of Jade? Someone sounds a little jealous of Jade’s awesome pic (goontown/GW/Caitlin Grimes) I’m sorry, but I can’t stand to look at Benj’s picture for more than a few seconds because I’ve seen that trick a lot… understand I’m not trash talking him, because that is a sick stunt, but it lacks what Jade’s photo has, CREATIVITY. There is no substitute for creativity, regardless of how stylish Benj’s photo is. And goontown, I WILL be watching for some “G-sh*t” from Benj, because I haven’t really seen anything I’m impressed with yet.

  34. forthebeat Says:

    Talking about creativity , ive seen riders time after time shoot pics at this spot , when i see lanas shot i feel like ive seen it before to manytimes. Benj all the way.

  35. skburton Says:

    Benj- Haha Yea I know what I’m talking about (I wakeborded for my college team) and all I meant by “stale” is it lacks a certain creativity in which the other photo has. It’s nothing new, like Crews Laing mentioned. There is no substitute for creativity.

    Both riders are sick and have their own style. Vote on the photos alone.

  36. Joe adriaens Says:

    The boy from brainerd Minnesota just killin’ it. Keep rippin’ jade. Lana, awesome job, you guys deserve it.

  37. Caitlin Grimes Says:

    Jealous? Im just being honest. He may have sick style but I just don’t see it in this pic. He may have had a nice press and 180 after but that just wasnt captured in the pic. So if we are judging just based on the pictures, Benj looks to have way more clean style. That is just my opinion, dont confuse it for jealousy.

  38. Brad Mason Says:

    yeah jade get that triple grab triple backflip!!!

  39. Donald J. Bergeson Says:

    Lana, great shot! Jade as always killin it. As for the other pic, great shot and comp. However, and maybe wake photo’s aren’t my forte, but aren’t we missing a few things in the photo? One I see spray but I see no lake, or wake to judge height. Just because he’s got a good and stylish grab and is in position doesn’t prove to me that this was anything more then someone with style, was it BIG? Not to mention there is nothing but, him in the frame. Scenery, and point of view are all elements that should qualify a great photo. Otherwise, it might as well be a portrait of someone on a blue background (reminds me of Jr. high class photo day). Sit and smile. Also, the focal point Benji you got a better ass then me, but it’s not exactly what I want to stare at.

    Can someone define style for me? Because, last time I check there are different styles? One would be very technical and true to prefecting a certian form. Another, would be the ability to create and express their personality into a style. Those who know Jade or apperciate creative style, can obviously tell that he ONE doesn’t lack style. TWO knows that hitting something from a winch and doing a non traditional trick (Wall ride to 180 out over a dam) is going to take some skill. Add Lana’s ability to capture the BIG picture and add something for us to feel like we could make a decision how we would hit that set-up make for an amazing photo.


    And keep shreddin’

    Big D

  40. Eddie Trogdon Says:

    All the interest in this photo challenge is great….I promise you the shot of Benj was BIG!!! He rides cable and winch too, so it’s all good.

  41. Mike Jay Says:

    Yeah, it’s good to see passion but not the negative kind…we are all brothers in this sport and both these guys featured in the photos kill it.
    Both are more than likely better than the other at some facet of the sport and that is to be expected and appreciated.
    Competition is good and highly recommended but you don’t have to be a hater.
    True wakeboarders don’t give a rats ass what is popular and what isn’t and if you do, more than likely you’ll never ever be featured in any contest.
    Both photos are sick, both riders are sick and wakeboarding is way to fun and cool to be whining about who’s better than who.

    Now go get some snaps and enter them in the next comp.

  42. Nick Murray Says:

    Having followed the photobattle series since it’s birth I can honestly say this tops one of the most controversial battles I’ve seen.

    But when it comes down to it, legality has no matter in the winner of this shot because they are both epic shots. Everyone should be all for supporting their local riders but it doesn’t have to come down to belittling another rider. Wakeboarding and all board sports is based on self-progression and self-expression through riding, photos, video, and style. It’s not about putting down other competitors but instead rising up and saying “hey that was sick, but I’m gonna go sicker”.

    Great shots by both photographers and epic riding by both riders, it’s close but what this battle will come town to is local support.

    My votes for Jade and Lana!


  43. Mike Jay Says:

    Hellz yeah NM!

  44. Nate Deezy Says:

    Nick Murray knows what’s up, sick shots- but Lana & Jade take this one. that’s tight. They had to set up so much to get that shot. Props for getting creative.

  45. Greg Hodgin Says:

    I think Nick hit it on the head. Local support will decide the winner.

    I hate to see the bashing, especially of the riders when I doubt there is anyone on here that know BOTH riders. I KNOW Benj and he IS an amazing rider with mad style. I do not know Jade, but I am sure that he has mad style as well. (you could probably switch the riders in the photos and get similar shots)

    The fact of the matter is: If these 2 knew each other they would probably be hitting the lakes and dams together, pushing each other to new levels of awesomeness!

    I like both photos- I vote for my friend.

  46. Ryan Martin Says:

    Reppin Texas wait to go Lana hope u win!!!!!!!!!!

  47. Empire Wake Says:

    Benj is an up and coming rider on the east coast! He is a great kid and a super sick rider. They were only allowed to put this pic up because it would be unfair to put up the others on how good he has become. They are saving those for the mag!
    This is a close battle. It is great to see another Empire Wake rider on the photo battle as well. Come on BENJ take the crown and win some gear! Stewart did a great job with the shot.

  48. Ed Feldmann Says:

    Wow its amazing to see how much opinion some people can have on other riders styles and ability just by seeing one photo of each rider, I ride with Benji an he is outstanding to judge him or Jade by one photo of each is ridiculous both photos are great good job lana but my vote goes out to Benji cause hes my freind and I want to see him go on in the challenge and as far as his batwing if anyone judging his abilities thinks this is his best trick wow are you mistaken it just happens to be the photo that was entered for the contest, wakeboarding is about progression and helpin to push one an other to go bigger and better not hating on each other the vaotes are to be based on supporting a freind or cause one photo appeals to you more than the other!

  49. Bill Bade Says:

    Is this a photo contest or a rider contest? Clearly the most compelling photo of the two is Lana’s.

  50. Drew Boshek Says:

    benji’s hair has the most style!!

  51. brandon fuentes Says:

    woooooooah jades pic is sooo sick! great job jade and lana! REPRESENT MINNESOTA!

  52. Drew Boshek Says:

    as of right now there tied!!! very intense

  53. Lana Merkley Says:

    Umm so who won? Hahaha. This was a long battle it felt like.

  54. Caitlin Grimes Says:

    haha the battle isnt over evidently

  55. wakeandsnowboard Says:

    I vote for Benj’s photo

  56. Carlos Fontana Says:

    I vote for Benj’s photo

  57. someone Says:


  58. Sarah Jade Marley Says:

    haha i think its hilarious people assume this is illegal.. how are you so positive he doesn’t have permission to be there? know your facts before you speak, and especially before you speak down on someones passion.
    I think this is amazing. Keep aiming high to accomplish what you want.

  59. bbuch Says:

    I gotta go with Benj on this one. Its a better shot. Composition, framing, lighting, depth of focus…everything. Lana’s is a great concept, just lacking execution in my opinion. Had a few things been tweaked, I think it’d make an awesome photo. (I.E. more of the mill, so that Jade’s framed lower in the picture, better lighting, etc.) A sequence shot would be pretty B.A. at this scene. It’d let us see that “wall press to 180″ that was mentioned. Idk, it just seems like Stewart worked for that “perfect” shot, while Lana could’ve gotten a way better shot and won this contest outright. Not bashing either rider, cuz I know they rip. Just my .02 cents

  60. Bill Bade Says:

    Both riders have tons of skill as far as I can tell.

    Lana’s picture just strikes me as WOW!


Make A Comment

Connect with Facebook