The Changing of the Guard

The Rockstar rail jam finals at the first stop of the 2007 Byerly’s Toe Jam may be a great indication of what is to come in wakeskating’s near future. After the field of 16 was cut to four, the remaining riders represented the best of wakeskating’s veterans and rookies. Brandon Thomas and Brian Grubb, riders known for the historical consistency and past victories were pitted against the new kids, Nick Taylor and Reed Hansen.

The luck of the draw put Reed against BT and Nick against Grubb in the semis. Of course, there was no easy heat, but this line up was the best chance that either techy flip tricks or smooth consistency would get the chance to rule the day. Again, the luck of the draw put Grubb and BT riding first, giving Nick and Reed a chance to watch and know exactly what they would need to do.

But as expected, both BT and Grubb threw down smooth runs, riding like the veterans they are. Grubb rode first, but when Nick took to the water and threw a perfect run including multiple 360 variations, a kickflip, backside bigspin and plenty of tech on the rails like backside flip on the box, shuv out, it was pretty obvious at least one of the new kids would ride in the final.

Then BT rode. His run was flawless and he even nailed a kickflip for good measure. Reed certainly had his work cut out for him, but judging by his earlier runs that included varial flips, three shuvs and even a three flip, if anyone could do it, it was Reed. Things started well for Reed and about 2 minutes in, he was still on his feet. He had matched BT’s run so far, and then some, including a line of varial flip into three shuv, a backside bigspin, and then lipslide shuv out on the box. But then, Reed went down on the box. Then he fell on a kickflip. It wasn’t as obvious he’d take it, after all, BT’s run was perfect. But after much deliberation, it was Reed set to ride against Nick in the finals.

With two of the most progressive riders head to head, it was obviously an impressive spectacle. Though they both showed some of their rookie status with falls in their runs, flip tricks, tech rail tricks, all strung together in smooth, effortless lines, made it very apparent: this is the future of the sport. In the end it was Reed Hansen topping TNT, but it was a close and exciting match.

As the first stop of a four-event tour this season, this weekend’s Toe Jam was a good indication of the state of wakeskating. Three invites were handed out to the finals in Orlando in September: Reed, Nick and George Daniels the recipients. Since they were past winners, BT and Grubb were already guaranteed spots. Next up in June is the cable qualifier at Texas Ski Ranch, and with a totally new venue, it’s anyone’s guess what will go down. See you there.


Results ˆ 4/21/2007

Qualifying Round 1
1 Hampson, Danny 63.33
2 Cambell, Steven USA 56.67

Qualifying Round 2
1 Taylor, Nick USA 60
2 Gregory, Chase USA 56.67

Qualifying Round 3
1 Grubb, Brian USA 71.67
2 Ruark, John USA 51.67

Qualifying Round 4
1 Hanson, David USA 71.67
2 Becqueriaux, Luis SPA 41.67

Qualifying Round 5
1 Basino, Phillip USA 66.67
2 Danielo, Drew USA 51.67

Qualifying Round 6
1 Daniels, George USA 80
2 Kaiser, Ben USA 70

Qualifying Round 7
1 Thomas, Brandon USA 73.33
2 Reed, Aaron 63.33

Qualifying Round 8
1 Hansen, Reed USA 88.33
2 Manzari, Matt USA 70

Quarter Finals  1                             
                1       Taylor, Nick    USA     75
                2       Hanson, David   USA     50
Quarter Finals  2                             
                1       Thomas, Brandon USA     80
                2       Hampson, Danny          63.33
Quarter Finals  3                             
                1       Hansen, Reed    USA     80
                2       Basino, Phillip USA     60

Quarter Finals  4                             
                1       Grubb, Brian    USA     80
                2       Daniels, George USA     65

Semi Finals     1                             
                1       Taylor, Nick    USA     91.67
                2       Grubb, Brian    USA     80
Semi Finals     2                             
                1       Hansen, Reed    USA     91.67
                2       Thomas, Brandon USA     85

Finals  1                             
                1       Hansen, Reed    USA     81.67
                2       Taylor, Nick    USA     71.67