Ragga Wake World Series, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
“there’s a Pro tour stop in brazil while your there….what? …. Sweet”
Back in February when I decided to book a month long vacation to backpack through Brazil, I must admit that wakeboarding was the last thing on my mind. It had been a long cold winter in my home town of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, and all that was on my mind was hitting the beach and doing a little bit of surfing. Three weeks before I left from Brazil a good friend; local wakeboarder and recently new to the women’s Pro wakeboard tour Ashley Leugner, sent me off a message that the Regga Wake World Series Pro Tour stop was taking place in Brazil, May 15-17, 2009. Immediately I wanted all the details and started planning how to add this stop into my plans for the month to come.
I managed to work this detour into my schedule and I took a short flight from the south of Brazil to Belo Horizonte, Brazil where the second stop of the WWS was taking place. I was lucky enough to stay at the host hotel, Caesar Business Lagoa dos Ingleses, which was a short distance from the event site, Clube Serra da Moeda (www.clubserradamoeda.com.br). I was excited for the weekend ahead, which was packed with… pro wakeboarding, Live DJ’s, a huge Saturday night party as well as the Ragga wake World Series bikini contest.
I arrived at the site early Friday morning around 9am just as the local Brazilian wakeboarders were getting set to hit the water. The site was still in the process of being set up and the mood around the site was one of anticipation for the weekend ahead. Being involved in hosting large wakeboard festivals myself (www.summerinvasion.ca) back in Canada it was interesting to see the locals running around setting up for the event, and I could relate a lot to the excitement in the air. The majority of spectators at this point were local riders and their family and friends. By the time mid morning rolled around the riding was starting to pick up and the crowds were growing. The buzz around the site grew as the likes of Phillip Soven, Andrew Adkison, Dean Smith, Adam Errington and other pros began to arrive to the event; the mood changed and clearly went up a notch. You could feel the chatter amongst the crowd, and even though they were speaking protégées (which I don’t understand a wink of), I could tell that they were amped up to see the “pro from the wakeboard movie”, as the announcer repeatedly put it.
Sitting at the side of the lake watching the events of the day unfold I couldn’t help but notice and sense the excitement amongst the spectators and the anticipation as the pro’s hit the water, especially those for the pros from the United States and Australia. By this point in the contest the announcer of the event even began to call out all the ticks and speak to the crowd in English, which was entertaining and welcoming in itself. The local spectators were very friendly and a few of them even tried to have conversations with me in English. Simply put, it was clear that wakeboarding has a universal language and even when I couldn’t understand what some most were talking about, I knew what they meant. It was clear that everyone was super stoked to be in the presence of some of the top riders in the world.
Unfortunately I was only able to stay in Belo Horizonte for the quarterfinal heat (Friday, May 15, 2009) as I had to head back to Rio de Janerio the next day. Friday’s riding was unreal, as all the pros stepped up there game inorder to make it into the semifinal heats the next day. Andrew Adkison probably rode one of the cleanest sets I saw all day, making use of the entire course including three rails. I must admit it was hard to leave Saturday morning and hop on that bus back to Rio; all I could think about was the riding that would take place over the next few days… who would take first..?..?…
1. Phillip Soven (USA)
2. Adam Errington (USA)
3. Dean Smith (AUS)
4. Andrew Adkison (USA)
The single day I spent on the pro tour stop was probably one of the most action packed days of my entire trip in Brazil and one that I will always remember. It’s amazing how wakeboarding has become a universal sport and enjoyed around the world.
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Local wakeskater and Photographer.