May 14-16, 2010 marked the return of the Collegiate Wakeboard Nationals to Fiesta Island. With colleges sending riders from all over the country to fight for the Collegiate Wakeboarding Championship it was destined to be a fight until the end.
With two-time defending champion Florida taking on riders from Kentucky, Florida Gulf University and Chico State, who were stacked with riders like Raequel Hoffman, it was not going to be easy this time around.
The Chico State team, comprised of Drew Peterson, Travis Briscoe, Brandon Hassfeld, Bryan Hansen, Jordan Raber and Raequel Hoffman, brought their A game to Fiesta Island to take home the Collegiate Wakeboarding Championship in 2010.
The individual honors were up for grabs with Kevin Wipplinger from Florida Gulf Coast University beating out 2009 individual champion Florida’s Matt Morgan.
The ALT Games will be aired on CBS College Sports Network in the near future so check your local listings.
For a comprehensive look at what went on throughout the ALT Games, who better to ask than one of the judges. Andy Judson gives us his perspective on what went down on Fiesta Island from a judges point of view:
When you think of San Diego, most people think of the hot beaches, clear blue sky and overall perfect weather. Unfortunately, during the weekend of the Collegiate Nationals, we had a heavy dose of “May gray” looming over beautiful Mission Bay. The cold weather was a shock to those who traveled from all over the country, including special guest commentator and world champion wakeboarder, Adam Fields. However, the bad weather didn’t hold anyone back from having a great time on and off the water throughout the weekend.
As the event kicked off, every single rider was all smiles as they left the start dock preparing to lay down their best run for a chance to bring home the win. During the brief conversations we had from the boat to the riders on the dock, we quickly found out that not only did each school produce great riders, but also great people. The vibe on the dock was unbelievable and it really showed in everyone’s riding. We witnessed a few “firsts” throughout the event including a switch scarecrow from Andy Madden, as well as a crow mobe from Eddie Roberts (who crammed more tricks into a run than anyone else). On top of that, John Kaiser threw what may be the first Raley dismount on a wakeskate during a contest run.
When we were on our lunch breaks I was able to meet a lot of these up and coming college rippers and I have to say I am so glad we have such awesome people representing our sport. I have never been surrounded by so many people who love to ride and were having the time of their lives doing it. I wanted to stay out on the beach all day and kick it with all of these people, but after slamming a few hot dogs and chugging an energy drink, it was back to the boat for more cheering…I mean judging.
Sometimes judging can get tedious and repetitive, but not this weekend. As we approached the individual finals we knew we would have our work cut out for us in declaring a winner. With riders like Ryan Mocerino, John Zdedeblic, Kevin Wipplinger, and Raequel Hoffman, we knew it was going to be an unreal show. Hoffman had been throwing huge whirlys and off axis 5’s all weekend, but went for it all with a crow mobe and just came up short, which hurt her chance for a high score. Mocerino has one of the best nose grab crows in the business and along with other tricks like front to fakies and heel off 5’s, he was able to manage a decent score. A fall at the end was the only thing keeping him out of the 90’s.
The story of the event, though, were the runs of Wipplinger and Zdedeblic. Both had been killing it all weekend long, but decided to step it up even more for the finals. Wipplinger started things off with a huge indy glide, and I mean huge. More stylish moves like a stalefish toeside 3 and a batwing made for a solid run. As if that wasn’t enough, Wipplinger stomped a KGB at the end of his run with no room to spare, earning him a near perfect score. But that only seemed to pump up Zdedeblic for his last run. He started things off with a big indy tantrum and absolutely locked onto the grab. Right after he came in with a toeside backside 3, proving he wasn’t going down without a fight. After doing a heelside 5 linked with a switch heelside 5, all he needed was a mobe to make my job as a judge very difficult. As if he was reading my mind, he promptly edges out and nails a Tootsie Roll. After scratching our heads and breaking down the two runs every which way, in the end it was Kevin Wipplinger’s intensity and composition that won him the individual finals.
Also, big congratulations to Chico State University for bringing home the team title. Every rider from Chico really threw down their best stuff and made sure in the finals to all have amazing runs.
Huge thanks to Chris Beckman, Jonathan Strauss, and everyone at USA Wakeboard for making this amazing event possible. We’ll see everyone out there again next year and to those of you who missed out, this is an event you will definitely want to attend in the future. It was a weekend I’m sure the riders and us judges will never forget.