4500 Spectators made their way to Hamm on Sunday to watch
some of the world's best wakeboarders live at Red Bull Rising High
17 Of wakeboarding's biggest names, including Germany's Felix Georgii, Dominik Gührs and Nico von Lerchenfeld, as well as wakeboarding legend Parks Bonifay (USA) and international stars such as Steel Lafferty (USA), Daniel Grant (THA) and Brenton Priestley (AUS), showed up for Red Bull Rising High at the cable park Hamm. They were joined by Miles Töller who had secured a wildcard spot at a qualifier that took place the week before.
Since last Wednesday, the riders trained diligently with a focus on delivering a perfect performance on Sunday. It soon became clear that the trick level in comparison to last year's premiere event in Hamburg had significantly increased. And, best of all, cable wakeboarder and local hero, Miles Töller, will get to train here in the future because Big Willy 2.0 and the stairset will remain at the cable park in Hamm. Miles Töller is enthusiastic: "It's great that the Red Bull Rising High setup is here in Hamm, so I can now work on new tricks every day and enjoy the airtime!"
In the preliminary round, the top two riders in each heat advanced to the final. Already, the first double rolls were unpacked, but the format demanded that of the seven attempts for each rider, two had to be focused on tech and one on style (with a maximum of a 360 rotation), so clean grabs were a must have.
The judges included Chief Judge Flo Meeh (GER), Scotty Broome (AUS), Peter-Pascal Schmidt (GER) and snowboard pro Benny Wetscher (AUS) since the setup is similar to a snow park kicker. Felix Georgii, Dominik Gührs, Nico von Lerchenfeld (all GER) and Brad Smeele (NZ) went directly to the finals while Daniel Grant (THA) and Chris O'Shea (AUS) made their way there through a last chance qualifier.
In the final, every rider had another seven hits. Brad Smeele, who did the only indy toeside double back roll in the prelims, couldn't land it again and had to settle for fourth place. In third place was Daniel Grant with perhaps the most massive airs of the weekend and, among other things, a heelside frontside nose grab 900. Nico von Lerchenfeld came up with a super-clean heelside backside melan grab 720, but, ultimately, he was beaten by Dominik Gührs from Munchen. The Red Bull athlete rode a perfect day in the final with a heelside backside indy 900 and a backside stalefish/method 180 double grab that gave him a well-deserved victory!
After the awards ceremony, the winners were properly showered with champagne. Dominik was overjoyed: "Already at the first tests here in Hamm I had lots of fun. I've seen over the last few days what the other guys have been able to do, so I knew that it would be a tough fight for victory. Everyone was so good, so I am pleased all the more that it was enough today!"
Wakeboard icon Parks Bonifay was stoked on the event: "Ten years ago, I had not thought it possible that we would eventually have a giveway jump. This can now be seen live and was a great experience, so wakeboarding is lifted to the next level!"
At the end of the event there was a longest-distance contest with each round a little further away from the pool as the Big Willy gap was gradually increased. Daniel Grant beat everyone with a distance of well over 25 meters at the top. Local Miles Töller landed in second and Nico von Lerchenfeeld got third. A wakeboarder has probably never flown so far in a contest and the audience appreciated it with thunderous applause!
The Top 4
1. Dominik Gührs (GER)
2. Nico von Lerch field (GER)
3. Daniel Grant (THA)
4. Brad Smeele (NZ)