Editor’s Note: This is Andrew Pastura’s Reason article and art from the July issue of Alliance. With Battle Falls kicking off today, we figured it was a good time to share with everybody. Head out to Reed Hansen’s place this weekend to watch the best wakeskating in the world go down and have some fun at the same time. For more info go to the Wakeskate Tour website. Follow Andrew on Instagram @andrewpastura
There are tons of great things about The Wakeskate Tour; from the slams to the new tricks, the camaraderie to the one-of-a-kind setups, there is lots to enjoy at each stop. After two years of continued growth, development, and ideas, the tour has established a standard for wakeskate contests that is now even impacting the way pro wakeboarders are viewing their contests. For 2014 The Wakeskate Tour is bigger, better, and international. This year each event of The Wakeskate Tour is different with inspiration from natural spots. Spectators can watch just feet away from the action as opposed to following a dot down the boat lake. New kids are encouraged to compete and a chance to qualify is open to anyone willing to try. The tour is the perfect place to display wakeskating and there is more to do than just watch.
One of my favorite things about the Wakeskate Tour stops are the setups. Natural spots are kept in mind when designing and creating each event. This gives riders plenty of options to be creative without making absurd wakeboard-like obstacles. Realistic and basic spots are recreated with small twists and added rails or ledges. The System 2.0 allows quick transitions between riders and brings a more fast-paced style of competing than traditional contests. With a sick format and good-looking spots the Wakeskate Tour is a breath of fresh air for wakeskating and those coming to watch.
Yes, sitting in the sun watching a contest can get a little boring at times. That’s why we encourage anyone coming out to bring a skateboard and shorts to get wet. There is plenty to do other than watch the action. Skate the mini ramps, take a swim break, or just share some Not Beers with bros and babes. Also you’ll have the chance to meet some great people and maybe even a new riding partner or two. Hell, sometimes you will find top wake legends hanging out watching and supporting. The tour is a great place to meet other skaters and learn more about wakeskating. Whether you’re there strictly to watch or to sunbathe, you’re guaranteed to have a good time doing it.
Aside from looking different aesthetically, the different setups at each spot also allow spectators to see different kinds of riding. No two riders are the same and each will approach a setup differently. This makes the action a lot more compelling, for fans and riders alike. And because anyone has the chance to qualify, spectators can also get the chance to see some unknowns make a name for themselves. So many new faces have emerged because of the Wakeskate Tour over the last couple years – without the tour we still might not know who they are. Really though, the Wakeskate Tour is about the riding and pushing the sport, and each stop has all of that in spades. The level of riding doesn’t just pick up year to year, it picks up at every stop. The progression has been amazing to see and be part of.
What I really enjoy though is that most of the time riding at the contests feels like a normal session with the boys. I think the laid back format and less emphasis on points and ranking make the event more enjoyable for those coming to watch as well as those competing. New kids competing are not as intimidated and can have fun skating a setup they normally wouldn’t have the chance to hit. Most can be happy with riding the spot no matter if they made it to the next round or not. The setups are ideal for what we want wakeskating to look like and everyone is supportive of each other. If you’re looking to have a good time with your buds and see some crazy wakeskating the tour is the place to show up at. Don’t forget to bring your skateboard and some brews – chances are you might not want to leave.