THE MALIBU RIDER EXPERIENCE CENTRAL SHOWCASED THE REGION’S TOP RIDERS IN BEAUTIFUL LAKE OZARK
Lake of the Ozarks is the newest home for the Malibu Rider Experience Central in the middle of America: Missouri. Hosted by our friends at Stateamind Water Sports and Iguana Boat Sales, this year’s Rider Experience Central brought all ages together to ride, surf, and compete for three days in this watersports haven. Pulled behind Malibu’s world-class 24 MXZ, the region’s best showed up to compete for Pro Cards, qualify for Nationals, and practice with Malibu Pro riders Tarah Mikacich, Jeff Langley, Oli Derome, Lewy Watt, and Parker Siegele.
The event kicked off with Freeride Friday as a day to learn the basics, practice a competition pass, and feel out the waters. Malibu athletes were there to offer tips and tricks to riders of all skill levels along the way.
The Malibu WWA Regional Championships Central began on Saturday morning with divisions including all amateur divisions, Jr. Pro, and wakesurfing, plus the Malibu Pro Card Qualifier #2. This casual competition had high stakes for some competitors, with Pro Cards and National qualifiers on the line. Parents and fans kept the energy high on shore, with hype provided by Malibu Boats, Rockstar Energy, Ronix Wakeboards, Best Flag, Stateamind Water Sports, and Iguana Boat Sales.
Stella Tracy (OK) started the day off strong winning the Jr. Girls with heelside and toeside one wake jumps, earning a 53.33. For the Girls division, first time competitor Gracie Retzlaff (IN) took home the gold medal. Gavin Doody (TX) won gold for the Jr. Boys Beginner division with a heelside 180 and a well-executed half cab wake to wake scoring a 81.67.
The Boys division showcased true progression and fun competition in the Central region, despite less than ideal water conditions. Brett Powell (KS) took first with a cab 360 followed by a backside 360, plus a heelside 720 in the second pass yielding an impressive 85.00. Beaux Wildman (IN) came in next with a 65.67 and Barrett Swope (TX) in third with a 61.00. For Jr. Men, Dylan Sexton’s (LA) clean heelside 540 and tantrum to fakie resulted in a winning score of 61.67. Parker Swope (TX) finished in second with a 57.67 throwing down a mute cab 360, and Austin Schram (WI) close behind with a 54.67.
Local favorite, Kirby Liesmann (USA), scored a clean 75.00 behind the Malibu M235 to punch his 2018 Malibu Pro Card.
Also behind the Malibu M235, and the most anticipated finals of the day, Jr. Pro Men delivered seamless runs with impressive execution. Luca Kidd (GBR), the current Malibu Jr. Pro Series leader, came out on top with a steezy nose grab backside 540 and a nose grab crowmobe scoring an overall 84.00. Bryce Grey (AUS) cut through bumpy waters and followed for second place with a huge roll to blind scoring a 79.33, and Kevin Duffy (USA) in third with a 76.33.
The Men’s Wakesurf division took full advantage of all the massive Malibu 24 MXZ wave had to offer on Saturday. Beaux Wildman (IN) earned a nearly perfect 94.00 with his 360 shove it and big air. Missouri-local Bobby Sutherland (MO) trailed with an 80.00 and Graham McGarvey (IN) with a 63.33. In the women’s division, Stella Tracy (OK) pumped and carved her way to first place with a score of 90.33. Abi Davis (IL) brought in second place for the women with a final score of 71.33. As the lone wakeskater of the day, Gavin Doody (TX) finished first with surface spins for days and a score of 90.00.
Sunday brought a more relaxed atmosphere to the lake for Surf Gate Sunday. Malibu offered the opportunity for anyone, child or adult, to ride the legendary wave behind the Malibu 24 MXZ, M235, and Axis Wake Research A24.
“It was an all-around great weekend here on the Lake of the Ozarks with riders from all over the Central region,” said WWA Executive Director Corrie Wilson. “The event really encompassed all that we strive for with Rider Experience. We saw it all, from new stoked riders getting pulled for the first time to heated competition in the Jr. Pro division. This is what we’re all about, making it a very memorable Rider Experience weekend.”
As the second stop of the Malibu Rider Experience, Central riders brought the heat and upped the regional competition. As a weekend full of fun and progression, many are heading home with smiles, titles, and new skills. The next stop is in Caldwell, Idaho July 6-8 for the Malibu Rider Experience West. Visit https://www.thewwa.com/rider-