Hamm, 22. June 2014 - 4500 spectators flocked to Hamm on Sunday, to witness some of the world’s best wakeboarders live at the Red Bull Rising High. In the final Dominik Gührs topped all competitors to take home the win. With the help of UNIT Parktech a new gap setup has been built over the last months – solely for the event. The setup consists of one pool, two massive kickers and a roller landing located in a lake 2.5 metres below. Apart from Big Willy 2.0 a big set of stairs as well as rails and a ledge are integrated in the course. The riders were towed by two twelve metre high Sesitec System 2.0 two-mast lifts. Thanks to that system the riders were able to show jumps as high as eight metres and as far as 20 metres – airtime that has never been displayed before. For further information please visit: redbull.com/risinghigh.
17 big names in wakeboarding, including the Germans Felix Georgii, Dominik Gührs and Nico von Lerchenfeld as well as wakeboarding legend Parks Bonifay (USA) and international stars Steel Lafferty (USA), Daniel Grant (THA) and Brenton Priestley (AUS) made the Rising High in Hamm an event to remember. Four wildcard winners, who secured their ticket into the event a week earlier in the only qualifier at the same venue completed the field. With Tobias Michel, Miles Töller, Max Balser (all GER) and Severin van der Meer (SUI) all well known names in the scene.
Starting Wednesday last week the guys began preparing with the so called crew sessions to be able to put it all on the line come Sunday. It was immediately obvious, that the level of difficulty, as far as tricks and gap were concerned, was again higher than it had been at last year’s premiere in Hamburg. The best thing however is the fact that all cable-wakeboarders from the region, especially local hero Miles Töller, will be able to train at the obstacle in the future, as Big Willy 2.0 and the stair sets will remain at the wakeboard park in Hamm after the event is over. Much to the delight of Miles Töller: “Brilliant! It’s great that the Red Bull Rising High setup remains in Hamm. It enables me to work on new tricks and enjoy the enormous airtime every single day!”
On Sunday the international wakeboarding scene for the first time got a glimpse of what is possible at Big Willy 2.0. As soon as the gates to the event venue opened, the heat was on: Clint Liddy and Sven Krafft lead the way as hosts and helped fill up the lake’s banks quickly, as thousands wanted to experience the action live and direct. After every rider was introduced via a presentation-jump over the huge gap, the spectators in Hamm started to sense that they were in for a huge display of airtime. In the first round the rider went head-to-head in two heats, with the two best riders of each heat moving directly into the final. Right from the start double rolls were a regular occurrence. Since the event’s format demanded the riders to at least have two tech- and one style trick (with a maximum 360 rotation) in their seven tries at the gap, clean grabs were vital to get good scores. The jury around head judge Flo Meeh (GER), Scotty Broome (AUS) and Peter-Pascal Schmidt was boosted by snowboard pro Benny Wetscher (AUS) who – due to the set-up’s similarity to a snowparc kicker – knew how to give away proper scores. Among the riders moving on into finals were Felix Georgii, Dominik Gührs, Nico von Lerchenfeld (all GER) and Brad Smeele (NZ). Daniel Grant (THA) and lucky loser Chris O’Shea (AUS) completed the field.
In the final every rider once again was allowed seven hits. Brad Smeele, who was the only rider to stomp a TS Double Backroll Indygrab in the qualification round as well as the final, still had to content himself with fourth place. Place three went to Daniel Grant, who probably displayed the biggest airs of the weekend including a massive HS FS 900 Nosegrab. Allgäu native Nico von Lerchenfeld managed to surpass Daniel Grant with a super-clean HS BS 720 Melongrab underlining his great form over the last couple of weeks. The only one capable of beating Nico von Lerchenfeld on the day was another Bavarian – Dominik Gührs from Munich. The Red Bull athlete got off to a perfect start and dominated the field throughout the event. Not only did he shine during qualification, his best tricks followed when they mattered most. During the final Gührs first landed a HS BS 900 Indygrab as his tech-trick and followed it up with a super-clean BS 180 Stalefish-Method-Doublegrab as his style trick. Enough to gain Dominik Gührs the win!
After the trophy presentation, which of course included some proper champagne showers, Dominik Gührs was delighted: “I was feeling great right from the start. After the first tests here in Hamm I knew I was in great shape. Watching the other guys perform I knew that it would be a tough battle though. The performance level was insane, which makes the win even sweeter for me. I couldn’t be happier right now!” Wakeboard legend Parks Bonifay was also stoked with the event: “Ten years ago I wouldn’t have dreamed about jumps like the ones we saw over the last couple of days. To see the guys perform and to be able to get a hit at Big Willy myself was a great experience. This is taking wakeboarding to the next level!”
Topping off the event was a longest distance session, in which Big Willy was moved further away from the pool bit by bit, making the gap between kicker and roller bigger and bigger. In the end it was Daniel Grant who came out on top covering a distance of more than 25 metres. Local Miles Töller ended up in third place, right behind Nico von Lerchenfeld who came second. Chances are no wakeboarder in history has ever covered more ground in competition than these three, who deservedly were rewarded with thunderous applause!
- 1. Dominik Gührs (GER)
- 2. Nico von Lerchenfeld (GER)
- 3. Daniel Grant (THA)
- 4. Brad Smeele (NZ)
For more information please visit www.redbull.com/risinghigh