Another crazy September has come and gone and that means the WakeWorld crew made their annual trek to Orlando, Florida for Surf Expo. It's an exhausting, but exciting, trip as we shoot riders, attend parties, eat bad food, check out new product for the wakeboarding industry, as well as a few other board sports, and get to meet all the industry peeps face to face.
We made a week of it so that we could get in plenty of photo shoots and have some fun riding behind the cable out at OWC. In fact, I dominated their new pool gap and we walked away from our cable session without any injuries (unlike last year).
This year started off with Randy Murray (our photographer) and I making our way out, too early in the morning, to ride with Austin Hair and Marcelo Giardi. We were short a chase boat, but Randy probably wanted to spend his morning floating on an innertube anyway. These guys both tear it up and it was really entertaining to watch them throw down.
It was a full day as we headed out to OWC for demo day and free food and cable riding. That's where we rounded up Shawn Watson, Chad Sharpe and Kyle Rattray for an evening photo shoot. I was super excited to shoot these legends out at Shawn's house behind his brand new Super Air Nautique G23. Unfortunately, the clouds were equally excited and they came out to watch as well, blocking out the good light we were hoping for. Whether or not we get some photos out of it, we had a great time with these guys!
Our next photo shoot was set up for early Thursday morning out at The Projects. It was great to post up at this legendary spot and we had some great lighting. Nate Perry, Quinn Silvernale, Trevor Bashir and Todd Watson came out to ride. Soooo hot sitting out in the water for that long, but lots of good riding on the obstacles!
A quick shower and we were off to the first day of Surf Expo. I love seeing all the clever new things companies come up with and whether or not it's a good year for board graphics. The show was in full force by the time we got there, so we went about our job of gathering photos of all the new stuff for your enjoyment.
Our last shoot came on the last day of our trip with the ever hospitable Mikacich family. Cobe showed us his latest inventions and Tarah showed use how to properly ride a wakeboard! We also had the pleasure of watching two other O'Brien riders, Jeff Langley and JB O'Neil. That was a great trip to the lake before we spent one last day at Surf Expo.
So did anything exciting happen at Expo? Sure did!
A company called Soloshot came up with a tripod on which you mount your video camera that tracks your riding by following a sensor strapped to your arm. Very cool stuff.
Ronix is the king of thinking outside of the box with clever things like scratch and sniff boards and bindings (the Bill and Frank smell like bananas), LED's embedded in the board (El Von Videl Schnook) and a scratch off board base (Phoenix Project S) that reveals a scantily clad woman. They also have a new ballast system called Eight.3 that's supposed to allow you to fill your bags three times faster.
Boats were huge this year with the Tige Z3, Malibu MXZ, Super Air Nautique G23 and G25, MasterCraft X-Star, Supra SA and Centurion FX22 all making appearances. I can't remember a year that more new boat models hit the market and it was like a candy store for boat buyers!
Malibu's touchscreen system has bluetooth that lets you store your rider preferences for all your friends' Malibu boats on your phone. You just get in the boat, sync up and ride! Oh, and their Surf Gate is pretty cool since you can wakesurf without tilting. Tige made me jealous because my Z3 is officially a year old now and they've already added cool stuff that I want!
Orange wasn't my favorite color going into the show, but it was the color that popped like no other and could be my new favorite. Trevor Hansen's pro model board and binding (CWB Marius), Bob Soven's board and binding (Liquid Force B.O.B.), Keith Lyman's board (Slingshot Lyman), the Tige Z3, Parks pro model board and binding (Ronix Parks), Reed Hansen's board (Ronix Boomstick) and the cool jerseys the Ronix riders were wearing around all featured bright orange and I want one of each (hint, hint)!
Liquid Force has roughly the same number of hybrid boards in their line as they have team riders...right around 100!
Bindings that look like skate shoes rule! I'm not a big closed-toe fan, but I might pick up the Hyperlite AJ or CWB Prizm just to wear out on the town!
There are over 400 photos from Surf Expo below, but to make them a little easier to view I've broken them up into categories. Have at it!