By now, you may have heard about Adam Fields’ big victory at Brostock last weekend. What you might not have heard is that the weekend before he dominated at Bull Shoals, Adam hosted a massive event of his own back home in North Carolina, and the entire lake came out to support him.
On June 18th and 19th, thousands of people packed the shoreline of Lake Gaston, NC for the inaugural Lake Gaston Big Air Water Sports Fair. Wakeboarding was the main event, but there were also DJ’s, a massive cornhole tournament, and a Lake Gaston Business Fair featuring dozens of local vendors exhibiting everything from apparel to boat lifts to real estate.
On Sunday morning, the first round of the double up contest kicked off, with some of the best riders in the region vying for a spot in the finals among out-of-towners like Derek Cook, Danny Thollander, and Brian Reeder. After some exhibitions by several riders, footers, surfers and 4 world champs Nick Galotifiore, Jen Gilanfarr, Matt Hayden, and Adam himself, the ten-man, ten minute per rider final was underway.
All the guys threw down pretty hard, and hammers were being dropped in Lake Gaston left and right. There were some strong showings from guys like Alex Hamrick, AJ Racinelli, and AF Wake team rider Byron Johnson. But in the end, one rider stood out above everyone else: 17-year-old Liquid Force rider Gordon Harrison.
Gordon literally won everything there was to win. Not only did he take home first place overall, but he also won the awards for Best Trick with a melan skeezer 540, Biggest Air with a massive off axis 180, and Best Crash with a very painful looking switch indy tantrum to blind (seriously, how often does the same guy win Best Trick and Best Crash?). All in all, he went home with about $5,000 of the $10,000 purse. Not a bad payday at all. “Winning this contest is the biggest thing that has ever happened to me so far,” said Gordan. “I plan on using the prize money to travel to more contests and jump-start my wakeboarding career.”
When the dust settled Sunday evening, it was clear that the event had been a massive success. All weekend, the vibes were great, the crowd was bigger than any Pro Tour stop I’ve ever been to, and everywhere you turned, you saw a bunch of people who were getting their very first real glimpse of wakeboarding. Plus, you can really tell that the entire lake loves them some Adam Fields. I mean come on: they gave the guy his own billboard on I-95. What does that tell you?
A very big thanks goes out to everyone that helped make the event possible, including The Pit Stop gas station who donated the 10k prize money, Morningstar Marina, Liquid Force, Dunkelvolk, Centurion Boats, Smith Optics, DJ SK and of course, Adam Fields and the whole crew at AF Wake. It was no small feat bringing the entire lake together in the name of wakeboarding, but Adam pulled it off really well. If this whole wakeboarding thing doesn’t work out, I’d say he definitely has a legit shot at local politics.
By: Brad Holland
All Photos: William Bratton