Every spring when the sun starts shinning and the birds start singing, the annual collegiate nationals are held. On April 17-19th the collegiate nationals, now called the ALT Games, was held in beautiful San Diego, California. We are not clear on the exact meaning of ALT; my prediction is that it stands for Alternative, as in wakeboarding is an “alternative” sport. Others speculate that it has something to do with computers, but that’s just silly!
On Thursday the Sacramento State Wakeboard Team made the hella long drive to Southern California. Because Liquid Force sponsors the Sacramento Wake Team, I brought the wakeboard enthusiasts to the LF office where all the magic happens. The team got to meet the legendary Tony Finn and get a peek at Jimmy Redmon’s secret shaping room. As if they weren’t already hella excited, they also got the opportunity to go to the Alliance Office and meet Parks Bonifay, who was in town finishing his documentary. The team then headed down to Pacific Beach to their beach house to get prepared for a full weekend of tough competition.
The preliminary rounds started on Friday with a total of 12 schools including Chico, Texas A&M, University of Central Florida, Long Beach, Ohio State, and many more. Unfortunately there was no weight in the boat for the first round but they made up for it by weighting the boat for the rest of the tournament. Apparently the event organizers hadn’t realized that waterskiing is dead and that a big wake is necessary for wakeboarding competitions at the national level. To add extra fun to the contest, CBS brought out Jonny Moseley to host the Alt Games and to do a wakeboarding demo. Jonny may be a professional snow skier, but he can shred the gnarr on a wakeboard.
On Saturday eight schools battled for a spot in the finals on the big Epic wake. Unfortunately the organizers decided to put schools against each other not based on seeding, but in a way to create “drama”. West Coast schools were against each other and Texas schools were against each other, and so on. This diminishes the talent pool for finals because they knock each other out in semis. However the team camaraderie was inspirational as each team yelled on the sidelines encouraging their riders.
After the semifinal round debauchery, everybody headed to the Wave House where the Sacramento State Wakeboarding Club put on a rail demonstration. The trusty Pulldozer towed 20 collegiate rail riders across a flat bar all night in the midst of the raging Rebolution concert. We shredded the rail from 9 until midnight and then had VIP Access to the concert right outside.
On Sunday after a long night, we arrived back to the contest only to be disappointed one last time. Wakeskating was no longer allowed in the finals due to the lack of supermans. Students usually enjoy competing at the ALT games because of the unique team format. Each team has four guys, two girls and one wakeskater. Wakeskating is such a progressive sport with emerging talent that it should be recognized. It is a shame that the wakeskater on the team may help push your school to the finals only to be kicked to the sidelines.
In the end, the Alt Games was a unique and fun experience for all. Each team gave it their best effort and the top riders prevailed. Congratulations to the University of Florida for winning the Alt Games team division and Hank Carter for winning the individual round.