Malibu Pro Team Challenge
The Hottest Event Ever Held, Ever.
The Malibu Team Challenge went down this weekend at Cypress Gardens, just outside of Orlando, and it was freaking hot. Not just the riding, but the temperatures were out of control. As my friend Zack Luckett would say, "it was hotter than two Hells."
This first-of-its-kind event, put together by Bill Geiger of the Texas Wakeboard Tour, pitted three wakeboard teams consisting of five riders each against each other in a double up contest, a wake riding contest, and a rail jam contest. The team with the most points at the end of the weekend would walk away $20,000 richer. Not bad for a couple days of riding, eh?
The companies competing this weekend were Liquid Force, CWB and Hyperlite. Each team threw $5,000 into the pot, then Malibu and Indmar added another $5,000 to bring the total to 20 Large. All the riders were stoked on the format and originality of the contest, and you could tell that while they were all serious about trying to get that 20 grand for their team, they were also having an awesome time.
Team CWB was represented by Andrew Adkison, Corey Bradley, Derek Grasman, Scotty Broome and Jimmy Trask. The Liquid Force riders were Shane Bonifay, Kevin Henshaw, Philip Soven, Keith Lyman and Tino Santori. Rounding out the Hyperlite team was Rusty Malinoski, Erik Ruck, Aaron Rathy and Jimmy Lariche.
Friday afternoon featured the double up competition right in front of the Cypress Gardens stadium. Props to Malibu team rider Chad Sharpe for driving some mean double ups for everybody, 'cause some serious stuff went down. Each team was allowed three riders in each event, and the first three rounds would pit one rider from each team. Riders were rewarded points for making the semis, and then placing in first, second or third. The team with the most points at the end of the weekend got to take home the really big check. In the end of the double up contest each company was able to get a rider to the finals and it shook out like this: Shane Bonifay — toeside backsie 540; Corey Bradley — off axis heelside backside indy 720; Rusty Malinoski — off axis switch toe 900.
For the wake division of the weekend, the finals came down to Andrew Adkison, Aaron Rathy and Jimmy LaRiche. Even though he was the youngest guy competing, Jimmy showed just how big of a contender he is by taking the wake competition. Rathy made it a one-two punch for team Hyperlite with a second place finish, while Adkison came in third.
The rail jam found Erik Ruck taking on Corey Bradley and Derek Grasman in the finals. The Ruckster came out with a second place finish, which was enough points to put Hyperlite over the top and win the right to carry around a big cardboard check for a while.
All-in-all the weekend was a huge success and the riders were amped to be part of such an innovative contest, despite the 100-plus degree temps. This is an event that is bound to become one of the most talked about and sought after as the years go on. After the success of this year, don't be surprised to see a few more board companies putting some money in the pot and putting a team together so they can try to take away the bragging rights and the check from Hyperlite next year.
Stay tuned to FUEL TV for a full episode featuring the Malibu Pro Team Challenge and be on the lookout for more coverage in a future issue of Alliance.