Out with a Bang: Riverfest
In the traditional style of Empire Wake, we like to close the curtain on events with a blowout. Sometimes it’s an amazing contest with the best riders on the East Coast, Red Bull vehicles and fireworks. Other times (like this one) it is with an all out party. Lucky for us, the Atlas Wake Series riders just take care of the spectacular all on their own.
The Riverfest wake contest moved locations just four days before the event was to take place. Some thought we were crazy, but we wanted the final Riverfest event to have perfect water conditions and more to offer then ever before.
Pulled with the brand new 2010 Axis 22, 50 riders fought not only for the top spots on the days podium, but for the right to claim the 2009 Atlas Wake Series’ overall winners.
Each season Riverfest is a taste of what is to come next year. This time it was a perfect ending before a new beginning. Stephen Pierce had secured his 2009 Open Division title in Charlotte before his hometown crowd just 2 weeks before. Now he was ready to step up and stake his mark with the Pros. Riding against, Justin Sellars, Matt Kirk, Nick Galotifiore, and Kyle Rowland, Stephen skipped home with a cool, $1000 cash and the 1st place trophy in his hand. His quote… “I have never had $1000 before.”
The open division didn’t miss Stephen much though. Nick Joesph (1st), Gordon Harrison(2nd) and Sam Baker(3rd) filled that void quickly. Nick hadn’t ridden a contest since taking first in Myrtle Beach July 13th. Graham Knott stepped out of his comfort zone of the intermediate division to finish 5th in open. Keep your eyes open for this name in the next couple years.
Last on the water was the always impressive wakeskaters. After a close call to being cancelled in the 2009 series, this division really showed they belong. Garrett West took third behind Ben Pierce and another big up and coming rider Matt Deal. Matt has shown all year he is atop the wakeskaters on the coast. Not only did he podium at 2 other stops this year, but is the 2009 Wakeskate Champ.
The day ended at a downtown night club with the party of the year. Starting with the video premier of “No Named Losers,” the club was packed by 9pm. This video was hosted by Teleprompted Anthems and displayed riders from the Aussie Island Wake Team. Following the video was an indoor skate contest and bikini contest to end the night. The year couldn’t have ended on a higher note.
Big thanks to Aussie Island, East Coast Board Riders, Promarine, Axis Wake, Slingshot Wakeboards, Indo Board and Smith Optics for supporting this event and making it the best Riverfest to date. Please check out all the photos at: www.jkellerphotography.com/riverfest_2009.
By Atlas Wake Series