16 Of the best wakeboarders in the world did battle for two days straight in the third edition of Red Bull Wake of Steel this past weekend. Renowned for its unrivalled obstacle, a hulk of floating metal, the event is now one of the highlights on the international wakeboarding calendar, and it drew a stellar line-up of riders, who also got to enjoy the Bubbledays festival in Linz.
During qualification only 10 riders made the cut from the two groups into the semifinals. Here the riders went head-to-head to determine the five who would make it to the super final.
In the super-final's first round, American Julian Cohen managed to grab the lead with a strong run, heading into the second round as the interim-leader. With the starting order tilted, Thailand's Daniel Grant took his chance and catapulted himself all the way from third to first place, capping off his error-free ride with a 270 backflip slide on the 25-metre plastic pipe. Nico von Lerchenfeld also managed to shift into higher gear when it mattered most. In front of wakeboarding legend and judge Parks Bonifay he earned second place honours.
After the event, winner Daniel Grant said, "Last year things didn't go too well for me, which is why I'm super happy that this year I came out on top again. Linz just knows how to put on a show and Red Bull Wake of Steel is one of the most unique events out there. I'd love to be back next year for sure."
Dominik Gührs, of Germany, who took part in the event for the third consecutive time, was beaten early on, but still was overwhelmed: "Every year it's more fun coming to Linz. The obstacle provides such great variety of lines. I don't know of any other place where you can get as creative as here."
1. Daniel Grant (THA) - 80.67
2. Nico von Lerchenfeld (GER) - 78.67
3. Julian Cohen (USA) - 77.00