Hyperlite NorCal vs. SoCal

The debate has quietly raged for years, whether or not to separate California into two states, the North and the South. In recent years the argument for separation has been made for political reasons, to divide votes more equally. But in the beginning it was all about water rights. Over 75% of the state's water is gathered in the North, but 80% of the demand occurs in the South. Thus, peeing while wakeboarding has never been an issue in the North because riders know the water eventually makes its way South. This "sibling rivalry" of sorts has been brewing for many years, and finally the time came for both regions to battle it out on the wake, with the Hyperlite North vs. South Wakeboard Games. The Hella Sweet vs. the Black Socks all taking place at Mike Schwennes’ West Coast Camps on Lake Maclure.

Hyperlite's SoCal rep, Ben Sims, arrived with his players on Friday the 22nd to go head to head with Joe Sassenrath and team NorCal. After getting acquainted with each other and scoping out the competition, Mr. Schwenne laid down the game plan and set the stage for what would be an interesting competition. Nine events would make the first Wakeboarding Olympic Games: a Men’s champion, a Women’s champion, a Double Up showdown, Wakeskate Slalom, Long Jump, High Jump, Team Medley Relay, Sponge Tag War and a No Limit Poker Tournament. So put the beers on ice and gas up the boats because 6:45 comes earlier than you think.

The women’s showdown pitted NorCal's lone star rider Evelyn Nelson against SoCal's Cheryl Newton, Britney Aruda, Ashley Hughes and Jenacee Jackson. Evelyn’s TS Blind 180 and Slob 360 were clean and stylish, but at sessions' end Cheryl’s barrage of inverts gave her the 1st win for SoCal. Jacob Valdez single handedly took on 3 of NorCal's favs Blake Cannon, Brady Sammons & Chris Dykmans. Blake and Brady were first to ride and they laid down solid runs to put the pressure on Valdez, but he wasn’t fazed and in one sequence linked a TS 900, HS Back 540 to a TS 720. The only trick giving Jacob an issue was a Crow Mobe 540, opening some room for Dykmans to attack, but he was unable to land the trick early in his session and SoCal earned its 2nd point of the games. Coming off a great Brostock Double Up showing, Chris Williams represented the South in the Double Up event against Dan Bright from the North. Dan definitely provided some of the better video highlights, stacking on a huge Hoochie Glide, but SoCal took their 3rd consecutive win as Chris gave us a glimpse of his HS Wrap Melon 360 to a Blind 180 rewind. Chris said the trick had been dubbed the Mamba Jamba, but he wasn’t sure if it would stick.

After the 3 main events were secured by the South, NorCal's hopes hinged on the second half of the day and the more "serious" events. Al Marchiniak gave the team some hope with his impressive win in Wakeskate Slalom over CJ Wirtz. Never have we heard someone on a wakeskate give us a report like “6 @ 22’ Off’”, but we did hear it that day, and I’m sure CJ was stoked that it didn’t come from him. With the tables turning slightly, NorCal was pumped for the Long & High Jump events. SoCal riders Damien Klass and Steve Williams went head to head with NorCal's Danny Weisenburg & Chris Freehill for the Long Jump, measured by distance landed outside the wake. The event was too close to call for the naked eye and the winner would be determined after an instant replay back at the houseboat. The High Jump, (or ollie over a garbage can on top of a foam float) was measured at 48”, and prior to the event confidence was high that someone would beat the Alliance record. Unfortunately, no one came close until the final jump by Taylor Patronete from the South, giving them their 4th point and besting Brodie Chaboya and Trevor Maur. High Jump specialist Al Marchiniak had to give it a go at the end of the event but failed miserably, and just to prove the South's dominance, Chris Williams went out and cleared the obstacle with a regular 360 and one switch.

With a 4-1 lead for the South and one event to be decided by video review, it looked bleak for the North as they needed to win the Long Jump and sweep the final events. Up next, the Medley Relay, judged by best time. The course started with a cliff jump, followed by a 75m swim at which time the entire team had to climb aboard an Ion tube then paddle themselves, with only 2 paddles, around a buoy, and ending when the team touched back to the X-45. Keeping their head above water, the North prevailed besting the South by almost 2 minutes. Sponge Tag Wars was next, which is exactly what it sounds like, a game of tag played with a sponge on and around 2 houseboats. Each team designated two Sponge Warriors to attack the other team, and the team with the last man standing would win the event. In full desperation NorCal did their best, but the South prevailed as Damien Klass was left standing with a controversial hiding spot.

With their 5th victory SoCal secured the overall title. The day concluded with more riding, some cold beers, full stomachs and an award ceremony where Team SoCal was presented with a Wakeboard Trophy that will remain in their possession until next year when the trophy will be up for grabs again. The Poker event was scrapped in favor of a cash tournament that came down to Jon Haddox and Evelyn. Damien played Dealer until late in the night, where Jon took the final hand and the pot totaling $155, giving the North something to talk about other than Wakeskate Slalom.

Votes, water rights, separating the State of California, nothing was truly decided other than knowing that getting together with our brethren boarders to ride for a few days was well worth it.

                               The Players

The South                               The North

Steve Willams                         Al Marchiniak

CJ Wirtz                                 Brodie Chaboya

Cheryl Newton                         Blake Cannon

Damien Klass                           Trever Maur

Britney Aruda                            Dan Bright

Taylor Patronete                     Brady Sammons

Ashley Hughes                        Evelyn Nelson

Chris Williams                      Danny Weisenberg

Jenacee Jackson                     Chris Dykmans

Jacob Valdez                            Chris Freehill

Special Thanks to Mike Schwenne and the entire West Coast Camps staff!