A Thai, German and American united by wakebaording.  photo rutledge

The Aura of Australia

Where would wakeboarding be today if it weren’t for our lovable mates from Down Under in the land affectionately called Oz? Chances are if you’re a fan of wakeboarding and have followed the sport at all, you’ll know a thing or two about Australia and its riders. And because of that you definitely want to go. Somewhat surprisingly I’ve only been once in the eleven years I’ve worked for Alliance, and truth be told, I’m mad at myself for not having gone more.

Aside from the wakeboarding scene and the Aussie personalities who make it up, Australia as a whole is just an awesome, awe-inspiring place. From the iconic skyline of Sydney, to the gorgeous beaches of Gold Coast, to the lush, tropical forests of Cairns, to the Great Barrier Reef; it’s all amazing. And that’s just part of the east coast of the continent. Australia truly is magical, and it’s made even more so by its people and their attitudes.

Most of my funniest stories from over the years involve Australians. And the other funniest stories that aren’t mine were definitely told by Australians. Ask any of the non-Australian wakeboarders and they will likely tell you the same thing. The Aussie wakeboarders over the years have consistently helped progress the sport while also consistently keeping the rest of the world rolling in laughter. Their twangy accent, coy verbal jabs, and easy-going nature make them a ton of fun to be around. Seriously, get just one Aussie rider on the boat with your crew and the good times are going up dramatically (provided said Aussie keeps his “good times” within the letter of the law).

The impact of pros coming from Down Under is well documented, but in the past five years that impact has become even more pervasive. It is a sign of the growing strength of the wakeboarding scene in Australia. In turn, more riders from outside of Oz are looking to their Aussie brethren for influence – and many are making trips of their own down to the southern hemisphere each year. The surge of the Australian scene, like America, is on several fronts. Boat riding from the likes of Harley Clifford, Cory Teunissen, and others is pushing that aspect of the sport to new levels, while while riders like Brenton Priestley are redefining what it means to be a well-rounded wakeboarder. Parks like Bli Bli and Cables Wake Park are churning out legit riders regularly. And don’t blink, because there are more coming.

With all of the hype and growth blowing up in Australia, we figured it was only appropriate to get Associate Editor Bradlee Rutledge a ticket and send him off. With his cameras in tow, he spent four weeks Down Under checking out the scene, cruising to a variety of spots, and more than anything absorbing what Australia has to offer. Of course, he also came back with some of his funniest stories ever. These four weeks represent a solid majority of this issue of Alliance Wake, one we’ve appropriately dubbed the “Oz Issue”. In the pages that follow you’ll find all sorts of content to get you more connected with what’s going down on the other side of the world. You can start off with a profile piece on the aforementioned Priestley. Simply known to everybody else as BP, Brenton truly is one of the most unique personalities in all of wakeboarding – and all of it has to do with his Australian heritage. You’ll also be able to read about international riders making the annual pilgrimage Down Under and the special case of Alex Graydon, who managed to live his own endless summer by getting a job at Bli Bli Wake Park. He brought the liftie culture of snow resorts to the wake park scene and had the time of his life doing it. In other parts of this issue you’ll find some good natured humor courtesy of none other than Wakezeach, a “No Filter” interview with the incomparable Mitch Langfield, and a “Coming Up” interview with Busty Dunn, one of Oz’s best young park talents. Please, read on, and enjoy what Australia has to offer right now. And it’s okay if you get jealous and suddenly have the urge to book a flight to the fabled Oz, it’s a perfectly natural reaction and one we’d encourage you to respond to by just going for it. You won’t regret it. Honestly, we could dedicate a whole issue to the scene in Australia. So we did. Hopefully you dig it heaps.

Enjoy the ride,