More than 4,500 South Floridans Gathered at the Ft. Lauderdale
Aquatic Complex to Witness the Next Generation of Wake Sports
FT. LAUDERDALE, FL – On a less than chilly night in south Florida, 18 of the industry’s top wakeboarders and wakeskaters came together to compete at the legendary Ft. Lauderdale Aquatic Complex for the Red Bull Wake of Fame. A place that is known for setting world records and hosting gold medal swimmers shutdown its three pools and connected them with a variety of features and a cable system that strung across the 82-year-old complex. The athletes were able to ride from pool to pool, showcasing their best skills and tricks on a series of obstacles including rails, quarter pipe, stall wall, corrugated pipe, kicker, and a giant elevated gong that’s noise energized the crowd when the athletes tagged it. Broken into two disciplines, it was German native Nico von Lerchenfeld who took gold for wakeboarding and Florida boy Reed Hansen who brought it home in wakeskating.
"This is one of the sickest events I’ve been to so far," says seventeen-year-old Nico. "The system is making events like this possible. My dad actually invented this system, so I really have to thank him for that. Those set ups in the pool with the rails and the different lines you can hit were super fun." He was able to take the title of Best Trick and beat out Kevin Henshaw, who took the silver, and Red Bull athlete JD Webb, who earned the bronze, with a front-lip-backside-270-out on the oversized step-up ledge.
It was Reed’s front varial flip that gained Best Trick in the wakeskate category and helped him take the lead over Nick Taylor, who placed second, and Andy Pastura in third.
Red Bull Wake of Fame’s innovative format brought these dynamic water sports to such a unique setting thanks to the pioneering Sesitech Cable System 2.0 - a straight-line cable system that provides a continuous ride. This pioneering system eliminates the boat, so outside-of-the-lake locations can be utilized for competitions.
Ride My Cable
"It’s really fun to bring this to the masses," says JD Webb. "It was challenging because the pools are really small and you’re kind of rushing to go back and forth, so you can get everything lined up and the right line to hit the rails well. It was really a lot of fun." The athletes were judged on three criteria for Red Bull Wake of Fame – execution, intensity and composition. Two contestants went head-to-head during each round in a bracket style format leading to the finals. Since the number of wakeboarders exceeded the number of wakeskaters, a semi-final round was held. Industry leaders Shawn Perry, Scott Byerly, Collin Harrington and Erik Ruck judged the competition.
Wake The Hall
The night’s 12 wakeboarders and six wakeskaters were hand selected to compete in this innovative new format competition. The line-up included the likes of Red Bull wakeboarders Parks Bonifay, JD Webb, Adam Errington and wakeskater Brian Grubb. Alongside them were Nico von Lerchenfeld, Kevin Henshaw, Reed Hansen, Nick Taylor, Andy Pastura, Steel Laferty, Ollie Derome, Keith Lidberg, Shane Bonifay, Ben Horan and Brandon Thomas.