Even in the toughest of times, there is always a silver lining. For the Atlas Wake Series, that silver lining is more like a wild fire of riders progressing so quickly that it has placed them in a class of our own. The Atlas Wake Series has become a breeding ground for the next generation of pro riders, and have created a new nitch for themselves. If you were to ask the Empire Wake crew if the 2009 season was a success, they would answer the “best we have ever had.”
To these guys, it isn’t about the money or economy or the prizes they get to hand out. It is about the riders. It doesn’t take a great economy to help the riders grow, just a chance and a place to challenge them.
In 2007 the series had to adjust its divisions one last time to fit the riders needs. There are now 7 total divisions at each stop giving grassroots riders a way to progress to the upper levels quicker. This pushed the series away from other contest giving it a unique feel. The series now is seeing riders jump up that ladder in 2 years.
Empire Wake has decided this is where it wants to be. Brad Holland described it best when he compared it to the Nike Tour of Golf to the PGA. They aren’t trying to compete with the pro tour or become another pro tour; they want to be the series riders ride to prepare.
Riders like Emylee Wright, the 2009 WWA Jr Women’s world champ, has been riding the Atlas Wake Series for 4 years. Adam Fields has been with the series since 2003.
There are also riders who you have yet to see break the scene wide open like Adam and Emylee. These guys are who you are starting to read about now, or will be by the close of next season. Riders such as Stephen Pierce, Gordon Harrison, Sam Baker, Graham Knott and Jimmy McClure. These are the next generation who have defined the levels of the Atlas Wake Series and pulled up every rider with them.
There is more to be said about each of those names. There is more to each rider then winning. Each one is an outstanding person, great to be around and really sets the tone for others. The Atlas Wake Series has a euphoric atmosphere that resonates from not only the riders, but the spectators, sponsors, and their families as well.
The new Atlas Wake Series Pro/Am will cater to the riders who want to make it to the next level. This includes pro riders who are trying to reach payday on the pro tour. It is another series you can ride, get experience, and win some extra cash.
It is for riders who are competing Jr Mens and need to ride more in an open division against guys throwing whirly 5’s, crow mobes, and 7’s. And it is for everyone else who wants to be the next generation of wakeboard greats.