Wake Rivals Recap
Gators, Bulls, Knights, and Noles which wake team ranks supreme? Photos: Garrison/RedBull
Cable and boat wakeboarding are two entirely different sports, but the
general public would never know it. It’s cool to see companies like Red Bull
try to push the boundaries of both sports to delineate them as unique.
Red Bull Wake Rivals is a collegiate wakeboard contest that aims to evolve
the competitive atmosphere of cable wake boarding by taking the riders
out of their element. With a format derived from Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1,
and OWC being one of the worlds most iconic cable parks, they had stirred
up a recipe for success. They added 4 Red Bull wake athletes into the mix as
team coaches to bring the tensions to a boil.
When the teams were chosen from a hat, the coach breakdown looked like
Massi Piffa: UCF
Meagan Ethell: USF
Steel Lafferty: UF
Mike Dowdy: FSU
With the help of 18 production quality theatre lights, they had the ability to
illuminate each kicker or rail in the team colors of the school who did the
best trick on that respective obstacle. The sense of ownership and loss of
each obstacle really helped bring these collegiate rivalries to light…quite
The contest was kicked off with a video edit portion, which exemplified the
dynamic differences between the teams. Each team was tasked with
creating a 2+ minute video edit. The competitors, coaches, and judges,
could vote once, but not for their own team. UF had some banger boat
tricks from their up and comers like Mac Schramm and Juan Mendez. FSU
got creative with some 3D animation. UCF showed how to make technical
cable tricks look great. In the end it was USF who came out on top, winning
by just 2 votes! They had a very high quality production with a great
balance of boat, cable, and lifestyle clips that showed why collegiate
wakeboarding is so much fun.
When it came contest time, the women strapped up first to show the boys
how it’s done. A backroll to revert and a 360 claimed each of the kickers.
After 12 laps the score was fairly even with each team on the board.
Wakeskate took to the water next and proved that you don’t need boots to
throw down hammers. From 540s to benihanas, it was no joke!
When the Men took to the water, it was UCF’s time to shine. OWC turned
into what looked like a chameleon rave festival with obstacles changing
colors with every trick! UF would throw a steezy grab, only to be taken over
by FSUs whirley bird, only to be one upped by UCF’s Backside 720!
Progression is key when other teams are stealing your obstacles.
When it was all said and done, University of Central Florida’s Knights Wake
team took home the title of Red Bull Wake Rivals Champions, for the
second year running. I’m sure you’ll see some trash talking on instagram,
and maybe even a @CollegeWakeZeach post about having hometown
advantage, but you can’t argue with a score like this:
The palpable competitive nature of these universities is what drives a
passionate portion of this sport’s collegiate wakeboarders. It’s a healthy
level of zeal and ambition that pushes these riders to progress, innovate,
and be one step ahead of their rivals. The key is, they push eachother, they
support eachother, and they love every second of it. It will be interesting to
see where these rapidly growing rivals end up next!