Red Bull Wake Lab
News flash of the wake century: Red Bull has come up with another crazy idea and helped pushed the limits of wakeboarding.
Yeah right, like we've never heard that one before. But it's true, Red Bull decided that for Surf Expo '08 it needed to put on a showcase for wakeboarding's most talented riders and show the public something so cool and so unique that they'd probably never forget about it.
This was the Wake Lab — basically a glorified park for wakeboarders towed by the new Sesitec 2.0 Cable System. Pat Panakos and crew spent hundreds of hours designing and building the park on Lake Eola in downtown Orlando (made famous a couple years ago for JD Webb's fountain jump).The Wake Lab park featured a huge wall ride, several "hubba" style transfer ledges, an elevated pool with two handrails coming out, and an "M" style gap rail. Basically it was the craziest thing ever built in the history of the sport.
The riders in the event included:
Parks Bonifay, Shane Bonifay, Adam Errington, Danny Harf, Collin Harrington, Keith Lidberg, Gabe Lucas, Aaron Rathy, Josh Sanders, Chad Sharpe, Shawn Watson, JD Webb, Olivier Derome, Mike Ennen, Clay Fletcher, Tom Fooshee, Kevin Henshaw, Robby Jacques, Keith Lyman, Rusty Malinoski, Shaun Murray, Erik Ruck, Phil Soven, and Yannick Thidbault.
There were three judges on hand for the event; one wakeboarding, one snowboarding and one skateboarding. There were also three titles on the line: best overall performance, best line and best trick.
In the end the diminutive yet hard-charging French Canadian named Olivier Derome took the overall title, while JD Webb came away with best trick and Aaron Rathy took the best line.
The cable system worked flawlessly and allowed riders to go quickly and session the park. Crowds packed around the east end of Lake Eola to watch the craziness while DJ Swamp busted jams across the park and Dan-O Amir and Nick Weinacker called the shots from the announcer's tower.
It was a huge production, to say the least, but definitely worth it, because it was a huge success. So once again, Red Bull has stepped up to the plate and hit a home run. A huge home run. Who ever thought that wakeboarders could ever have a legit "park" to session, find unique lines on, and hit over and over consecutively without interruption? Yeah, neither did we. Look for the Sesitec System 2.0 cable to change the way some wakeboarding competitions are developed.