The Rose City. Stump town USA. Home to Voodoo Donuts, the Trail Blazers, Nike and a gang of hipsters who ride kids bikes. Yes, Portland, Oregon is known for many things, but its wake scene is not necessarily one of them. Sure there are a few riders to hail from PDX: Collin Wright, Silas Thurman, Robbie Carter, but when you think wake, you probably still think Orlando. Why not Portland? Well, the water is freezing. End of story. But luckily, a streak of record high temps in the last week have made the Willamette River a pleasant place to ride, even for those from Florida. And just in time for Wake Jam PDX!
The event featured music from talented Sublime cover bands, FMX demos from Metal Mulisha, food from local vendors and frosty Coors Light in addition to the double up contest on the in the heart of the city. The whole thing was a benefit to raise money for the Children’s Cancer Association, with all proceeds going to the cause.
On the water, two rounds of action whittled the field of heavy hitters down to six for a final that didn’t end until after the sun had set. But before we get to that, the best riding of the day actually went down in an impromptu ride off between Danny Harf and Randall Harris. Both riders were unable to stick the tricks they wanted in the semi finals, but only one could move on. So a ride off it was.
Randall went first, sticking a perfect toe 7, and then an even more perfect toe back seven with his two double ups. And if he were riding against anyone other than Harf, it would have been more than enough. But Danny hit the water and matched the toe back seven, except not wrapped and with a solid grab.
“That was definitely some of the best riding all day, and we were riding for second place and a tie breaker from the round before,” Harf said. “Both of us had really good runs. Randall landed two really solid tricks and I was able to sneak past him.”
After a break for some music the final six took to the water. A few hold ups including a yacht stuck in reverse and a rope twisted in the prop of the Malibu Wakesetter pulling the guys slowed things down a bit. By the time the final rider, Jimmy LaRiche, hit the water, the sun was long gone, but at least the water had calmed down from lack of passing boat traffic.
The tricks in the final round included: Heel 7 from LaRiche, Toeside 900 from Chad Sharpe, Toeside 7s from Eddie Valdez and Robbie Carter and a double back roll from Daniel Watkins, but another off axis Toeside backside 720 took home the top prize for Danny Harf.
“The event was awesome,” Harf said. “It’s a really great location for an event, right in the heart of the city. Good crowd, good line of boats out there watching the double up contest and a bunch of people on shore, so definitely a good turnout. I’m very excited to be back in Portland.”