After I got a call from Dave Williams to write an article for WakeWorld, my first thought was to collaborate with Robert and write an article on the upcoming season and what it will be like competing against him every weekend. After all, Robert is supposed to be the smart one since he’s starting at University of Central Florida this summer.
Unfortunately, Robert has already begun the "pro experience" with traveling to Australia, Costa Rica and a couple of boat shows, so with my traveling we weren’t able to hook up and write an article together. So instead, I decided to write an article on what to expect from the Pro Tour this year.
Wow, this year is going to be INSANE!! The level of riding has escalated so much over the last couple of years that, realistically, at least seven different riders could win any tour stop. Harley, Rusty, Andrew, Rathy, Danny, Adam or myself, plus a handful of other riders, if they ride consistently, could win including JD, Trevor, Jimmy and maybe Bob.
What happened in 2007 and 2008 when I won 9 out of 10 tour stops will not happen again for a long time simply because everyone is riding so great, throwing new tricks and going really, really big. Fortunately for the fans, there is no Shaun White in wakeboarding, which makes every weekend exciting and unpredictable.
Although the WakeWorld community has raised issues in the past with judging, I don’t believe everyone realizes how difficult it is to judge riders based on complexity of tricks when so many different tricks are done now. The judges, however, do a great job and there usually is a pretty good consensus among riders and judges regarding the scores.
This year the Pro Tour is going to a new format, one that has been universally accepted in motocross and skateboarding. I think for the fans attending the tour they are going to be extremely happy with the change and are going to see a much improved product both on and off the water. As long as we finish each weekend under clearly visible conditions, I’m looking forward to the change. The only hesitancy I have concerns any problems that arise during the event that cause a delay and whether or not we will be able to finish in conditions that will allow the riders to throw their most difficult run in the finals.
As far as what tricks will be routinely thrown next year, look for a lot of wrapped tricks, big spins and mobe-7’s. Rusty will be routinely landing his 1080 off the double-up. Rathy will be throwing his 1080 or backside 10. Harley will be throwing KGB-5 and Slim-5. Easy E will be slaying the rails and Danny will probably come up with two or three new tricks that haven’t been invented yet.
If Bob makes any finals you’ll see him land the trifecta and JD will probably come up with some new rail variation that’s never been seen before. Hopefully, I will have some mobe-7’s or new wrapped spins. I’m going to add some extra "flavor" to my old tricks and add some new variations to my rail tricks. I have a feeling we will be seeing some double flips and variations of the now famous "double cork."
No matter what anyone throws, expect the next guy to try to throw something bigger. I think the trick to being successful this year will be to maintain a high seeding in as many rounds as possible in an attempt to be the last rider off the dock, especially when it comes to the finals. Whatever happens, I can’t wait and I think everyone is in for a real treat.