“It’s baaaaa-aaaack!”

That’s right, the most fun, legit, and grassrootsiest (hell yes that’s a word) contest series known to wakers of all shapes and sizes (and by all “shapes and sizes” we mean under 6’1″/180 with jorts tans) made a triumphant return. Over the weekend the first stop of the 2016 Wakeskate Tour came Valdosta Wake Compound in the form of the Nike “Money For Nothing” event. A couple rain showers rolled in but couldn’t put a damper on the vibes or the action. While The Wakeskate Tour may have had a short break, it did not affect the riders’ stoke or progression in the slightest. The girls of wakeskating kicked off the weekend with riding that garnered respect all around VWC. Jen Gillan-far backboarded the ledges and stomped a big shuv-it down the drop. Going into finals everyone knew that Zuzana Vrablova’s huge 3 shuv down the drop had her in the lead, and it eventually took her all the way to first place for the weekend.

The guys came out and right out of the gate everybody was landing next level stuff. We don’t know what level “next” actually is, but it’s a perfect cliche in wrap-up web articles like this. Ben Horan, who built VWC setup, landed massive kickflips, varial heelflips, front blunts and more all in the semifinals. James Windsor, yep, the same Aussie wake park ripper known as “Window”, entered into the event and impressed everyone with his backside 180 switch 50/50 on the ledges. Austin Pastura landed a front tail kickflip out on the ledges in practice but was never able to land one clean to get himself into the finals.

Ultimately Nick Taylor, Ollie Moore, Travis Belsito, Yan Lecomte, Daniel Grant and Andrew Pastura ended up going into the finals for what turned out to be one of the best finals in TWT history. Ollie Moore came out with switch nose slides that looked way too good to be switch. Nick Taylor blasted a massive hardflip over the rail, but unfortunately was never able to link it to another trick to make it count for a line. Travis Belsito made his first finals and won the $500 prize that Church Grip Tape put up for best trick with his kickflip backboard 270 out – a first time wakeskate history. Daniel Grant had everyone watching overtime; he was riding all weekend and easily completed over 30 different lines on the setup, proving just how good he is on a wakeskate. A few highlights from the finals were his backside 270 to 270 off on the concrete ledges and backside 270 backside big spin off the ledge. In the end it was the man simply known as The King who found himself in his usual TWT position: at the top of the podium. It seems Andrew Pastura has some soft-spoken switch that flips when he gets to a TWT Superfinal. He stays soft spoken, but there is this inner killer of a wakeskate beast that rages like there’s no tomorrow and beats the competition into submission. At any rate, that beast came out in full at VWC with an insane kickflip backflip shuv out and kickflip front board shuv out on the ledges. That right there more than cemented Andrew’s latest in a long line of TWT victories. Daniel Granted ended up in 2nd and Travis Belito in 3rd.

Stop #2 of The Wakeskate Tour is the Suwanee Pro July 14-16th in Lake City, FL. Be there – with your jorts tan – or you’re more dumb than you think you are (after all you’ve made it through all this text…)

Zuzana 3 shuving her way into 1st place.

Jen Gillan-far boadsliding the ledges in women’s finals.

Travis Belsito kickflip frontboard to get himself into his first finals. 

Nick Taylor: all business (but fortunately not all the time)

You ever hear how every time you do a certain something-something God kills a kitten? Well Ben Horan’s kickflip saves them. Thanks Ben!

Reed Hansen’s front big heelflip is nice, but it would be way cooler if there were a football flying at his head and a gator chomping at his feet. Just saying…

Yan Leconte back tail.

Daniel Grant’s ollie poke backside 180 over the ledge is yet another reminder of how nobody can do what he can do on the water. And yes, that can be frustrating.

Austin Pastura linking his lines – both wakeskating and jorts tan

Travis Belito’s kickflip down the drop in semifinals

James Windsor backside 180 switch 50/50. Yeah, he’s a “wakeboarder” too

Ollie Moore front tail.

Andrew Pastura on gator patrol… he takes a different route than Reed

Andrew making the kickflip backlip look too easy.

Stop #1 Pro Women winner Zuzana Vrablova

Pro Women: 1. Zuzana Vrablova 2. Jen Gillan-far 3. Tynna Rosero

Church griptape $500 best trick winner Travis Belsito

Pro Men: 1. Andrew Pastura 2. Daniel Grant 3. Travis Belsito