TEST RESULTS ARE POSITIVE FOR EXPERIMENTAL RED BULL WAKE LAB TEMPE
Innovative Wakeboarding Experiment in Tempe Town Lake Proves Wildly Successful. JD Webb takes Prize for “Best Overall”
Red Bull Wake Lab, the biggest and most innovative wakeboarding event ever devised, splashed down in Tempe Town Lake during the Circle K Tempe Music Festival on April 3rd and 4th. Over two days, more than 25,000 spectators experienced some of the nation’s top wakeboarders showing off their best tricks on the “Wake Lab,” a one-of-a-kind floating skatepark. The first day of competition got off to a rocky start as 50 mph gusts of wind caused two of the qualifying rounds to be postponed. But Saturday brought clear skies and calm winds, and an early start allowed the event to get right back on track. At the end of a day of tight competition, four riders walked away with awards – Aaron Rathy (Most Progressive), Adam Errington (Best Trick), Parks Bonifay (Best Line) and JD Webb (Best Overall).
“Red Bull Wake Lab Tempe was hands-down the best wakeboarding event I’ve ever participated in,” said wakeboarding pro JD Webb. “From today's perfect weather to the huge, supportive crowd and the amazing, challenging structure, I was happy to just be involved, let alone to win ‘Best Overall.’”
The 36 competing athletes were a combination of pros hand-selected by Parks Bonifay, X Games Gold medalist and event co-creator, along with up-and-coming riders from across the country who competed in regional qualifiers to earn their spot in the event.
The event also featured a performance by two members of the Red Bull Air Force, a 12-man team assembled from the most accomplished and experienced skydivers, BASE jumpers and paragliders on the planet. Team members John Devore and Mike Swanson wowed the crowd as they dropped from the skies and soared into Tempe Beach Park, skillfully landing in the lake.
Red Bull Wake Lab made its debut in Orlando, FL in September 2008, and was an instant success with riders and fans alike. Created as an experiment to see how far the boundaries of the sport of wakeboarding could be pushed, the groundbreaking event seeks to “evolve” the sport of wakeboarding. Influenced by the design of the modern skateboarding skatepark and snowboarding snowpark, a massive “wakepark” was specially designed with the goal of taking wakeboarding somewhere it had never been before. The result, dubbed “The Wake Lab,” allows riders to perform sets of tricks that were once impossible, raising the sport to new levels.
In order to evolve the sport and create new experiences for riders, a new technology needed to be introduced to take full advantage of the revolutionary wakepark structure. This came to fruition when the “The Wake Lab” was coupled with the Sesitec System 2.0 overhead pulley system. No boats are needed to tow the wakeboarders, as this revolutionary pulley system allows athletes to take two full runs (back and forth) across the wakepark’s various rails, pools, sliders and 15-foot wall. The system made its US competition debut at Red Bull Wake Lab in Orlando.
Competition Semi Final / Final Results:
1. Parks Bonifay
2. JD Webb
3. Collin Harrington
4. Shane Bonifay
1. Aaron Rathy
2. Adam Errington
3. Yannick Thibbeut
4. Keith Lidberg
1. JD Webb
2. Aaron Rathy
3. Adam Errington
4. Parks Bonifay
Overall Winner – JD Webb
Most Progressive – Aaron Rathy
Best Trick – Adam Errington – Backside Lipslide, backside 270 out on the quarter pipe
Best Line – Parks Bonifay – Switch boardslide backslide 450 to front board, 90 out on the M gap, backside lipslide over nose slide