August 16th and 17th marked the second annual Malibu Pro Team Challenge. The scene at the campground was great – family and friends setting up camp for the weekend, watching in anticipation as teams Liquid Force, Ronix, Gator Boards, and defending champs, team Hyperlite battled it out for a grand prize of $25,000. The beautiful Silverlake Resort in Eatonville, Washington served as this year’s venue. The players included some of the top riders in the sport: Adam Errington, four time X-Game gold medalist Danny Harf, Mikey Ennen, Jimmy Lariche, AJ Racinelli, Bob Soven, and many more. These athletes teamed up to compete in three events: boat-pass, rail jam, and a double up contest – the perfect set up for the crowd's viewing pleasure. The riding was incredible. Bill Geiger, creator of the event, remarked, “All these guys out here are killin’ it”.
The Malibu Pro Team Challenge is the only pro wakeboard event held in Washington, and, aside from being in evo’s backyard, it was super fitting as most of the board companies call the Northwest home. The audience and the participants seemed to think the venue ideal as well. Erick Ruch, a Hyperlite rider told evo, “It’s cool getting to see Mt. Rainer and everyone just hanging out by the campfire enjoying themselves. I think the whole idea for it [Malibu Pro Team Challenge] was to keep it intimate, a little more relaxed than normal events.”
Besides the wakeboarding competition, the weekend was packed with amazing weather, after-hours shindigs hosted by local sponsors, ride with the pros, and hob-knobbing with legends like Parks Bonifay and Gator. Spectators not only left with great stories, but also great swag. Raffles and giveaways included wakeboards from Hyperlite, a wakeskate by Ronix, vests from both O’Neill and Liquid Force, Ronix rope and wake handle, Malibu beach blankets, a signed board by Gator, and not to mention a ton of hats, t-shirts, coozies, and stickers.
Before the beginning of competition on Saturday, Malibu hosted a “ride with the pros” event., where, Mikey Ennen divulged some of his wake skill secrets. Later at the evo tent, Mikey Ennen was visibly stoked, “Yeah I took a little kid out riding, and taught him some basic skills: how to jump the wake, and he was going big,” pausing to laugh a little, “It was pretty awesome seeing a little grommet just charging.” Danny Harf of team Ronix also dropped by the evo tent to sign a Ronix board and chat with some fans. evo was interested in his thoughts on his first Malibu Pro Team Challenge, “We [normally] ride against these guys individually, so its kinda fun to cheer for your teammates while they’re going, and it’s a little less stressful out here, a relaxed environment, makes for a good time. The conditions are perfect, I can’t really ask for more.” But what about vendor sponsored parties?
Reps from Skull Candy, Monster Energy Drink, Reef, Ronix, Hyperlite, NW Riders Clothing Co, Bake’s, Von Zipper, and Liquid Force chilled, chatted and enjoyed cold Pyramid Brewery beer at Friday night’s festivities hosted by evo. Bake’s Saturday night VIP party included ample food, more Pyramid brew, and some impromptu Indo board demonstrations by riders and patrons.
Sunday morning brought the last day of competition, with the finals in the rail jam and double-up events. At the end of the day Jimmy Lariche was awarded overall best rider—a prize of $1,000, and team Hyperlite was crowned champions for the second year running winning the $25,000 purse. Participants, vendors and patrons a like left the lake asking what is in store for next year? Bill Geiger answered this question best, “Well I think the goal for everyone, evo, Alliance, and Malibu… is to absolutely keeping it in the Northwest, making it bigger, better, and more fun for everyone, every year as we go.” -Rhesa
1st Place – Aaron Rathy – Hyperlite
2nd Place – JD Webb – Hyperlite
3rd Place – Bob Soven – LF
1st Place – Danny Harf – Ronix
2nd Place – Jimmy Lariche -Hyperlite
3rd Place – Kevin Henshaw – LF
1st Place – Jimmy Larich – Hyperlite
2nd Place – Bob Soven – LF
3rd Place – AJ Racinelli – Gator
Overall Winner – Team Hyperlite (defending champions) with 240 points earning $24,000 and hanging on to the "Malibu Cup" for another year!