Yesterday morning the WWA world championship opening ceremonies were held. The ceremonies started with a performance by Governor LRay’s dance team, which included a flag show using all the flags from the 21 countries participating in the contest. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t moved by the patriotism and international camaraderie that this event has inspired. Next representatives from each country attempted to ignite and fly paper hot air balloons decorated as the flags of each nation. Both the Canadian and American balloons took to flames and burned before they even left the ground. I’m not sure what the significance of that might be. My favorite aspect of the morning’s performances was definitely watching Reed Hansen, “the battle ax of America,” wakeskate around the cable carrying the stars and stripes, honoring the land of the free and home of the brave.
Highlights from the pro-men’s wakeskate quarter finals today included Reed Hansen’s late big spin off the kicker, Nick Taylor’s varial flip, and Tanner Champions kickflip. We saw a rad wall-ride shuv out by ze German, Kai Kissman. And Taylor Dell from England did a sweet switch 3 off the “kickah”.
But the big upset of the day was Andrew Pastura being disqualified based on WWA official rules after his helmet came off on a frontside flip and he proceeded to hit rails.  Technically he could have let go and gotten his helmet without it counting as a fall. The DQ can be called nothing but unfortunate. Andrew had a killer run sticking his frontside flip (big and clean!), a 270 shuv to backlip on the box and a backlip body varial to boardslide across the rooftop. I asked Nick Taylor how he felt about the DQ and he says he “wants to flip over tables about it” but personally I understand why they have to be strict on the rules. It’s about safety and mostly about setting a good example. Safety being important, I think it’s safe to say if his run had count, Andrew would have made it to the finals.