The first ever Wakestock Abu Dhabi has drawn to a close with an amazing last day that featured some of the most innovative and progressive riding witnessed in the world of wakeboarding to date in a UK event that has long been synonymous with all that is amazing in the world of wakeboarding and music across the globe. Now the exact same vibe has been successfully taken abroad for the first time making use of the unbelievable surroundings of Abu Dhabi.
With cable riding off the System 2.0 for the public and pros alike sitting on Abu Dhabi’s downtown beach, the monster Wakestock Pool Gap shipped in from the UK also sitting beachside, the best riders in the world and first stop of the WWA Wakeboard World Series, you could not have asked for a bigger setting. Big points were up for grabs on this 2010 series along with even bigger money with the $50,000 prize purse. It was a who’s who in wakeboarding as far as the line-up was concerned. Extremely rare high winds plagued the first two days of the contest making the Open ‘All Comers’ event on the Thursday difficult, but doable, but the Pros Qualifying on Friday was just not possible.
With a little time to play with on the schedule and the Pool Gap in full swing in the afternoon and evening, the decision was made to delay the qualifying rounds for the Saturday morning, but keep the waterside entertainment coming by putting in place the first ever Wakestock Cable Jam using the System 2.0 that ran parallel with the beach. The top three from the Open round and the seeded pros were thrown into heats for one of the most fun and spectator friendly contests to be conceived and all completely impromptu.
Ridiculous chop on the water, a beach full of eager onlookers and some serious banter on the dock meant there was no point in holding back for the riders and the results of this mix were awesome. A crazy display of cable riding from the worlds best, tricks stomped for the first time by all including Pete Roses, Double S-Bends and Doubles to Blind, Combi Rolls and more being dropped left right and centre and a fair few stacks in the mix too. JD, Padiwat Jaemajan and Adam Errington each walked away with $250 for the best tricks.
Maximo Park Rocked the house on the Friday night and brought to a close the first two days of the first ever Wakestock Abu Dhabi. 16 Had been knocked down to eight for the quarterfinals of the Pool Gap, to take place on the Saturday right after the boat contest.
Saturday came round to everyone’s relief with a decent drop in the winds and an early start was in order to work through the rider heats. For the first few heats, conditions could not have been more improved than the previous two days. 16-Year-old Harley Clifford went all out to show the rest he meant business laying down an unbelievable run, making him the clear stand-out to go through. The UK’s own Marc Rossiter was the first to take on the rather gnarly Sesitec Gap rail, coming a cropper with his first hit but jumping straight back on the horse for a second hit to come away unscathed.
The action then moved to the semis and, although the young Australian had set the pace, it was still all to play for. The two semis were intense & crammed with a full arsenal of ticks. Some extremely tight judge’s calls put Rusty, Aaron, Phil and Harley still in the running to take the top spots and top dollar.
It wasn’t just down to the guys. Dallas, Amber and Miss Nicola Butler were in town to have a go at the serious cash up for grabs. The wind had, at this point started to creep up again and it was Dallas who dealt with the less than ideal conditions best to take the Wakestock Abu Dhabi 2010 Women’s title.
The title, series points and $10 000 in the men’s event and the title of Wakestock Abu Dhabi 2010 in the end went to Harley Clifford, who is not only the youngest ever rider to take the title, but did so in some style with a run that was out of reach for even second placed Rusty Malinoski, with Soven and Rathy in the third and fourth spots respectively. A multitude of the hardest tricks known to the sport, smooth style and a cool head saw him through, getting him back to the dock squeezing in a Method Back Mobe 5 just for kicks and the crowd.
Although the boat riding was done and won, the crowds were still in for something rather special when it came to the remaining Pool Gap head to heads. The competition hotted up early on with Marc Rossiter and Parks Bonifay pulling some unreal tech and tweaked out moves, but it was Rossi who just squeezed ahead guaranteeing him a $1,000 and a chance to take the title.
JD Webb vs. Aaron Rathy’s heat could not have been closer, with both guys pushing each other harder and harder with every hit, this time Mr. Webb squeezing ahead to take on the UK’s Rossiter. What a final to be left with! They were pressing out every move to the nth degree and with more style than we could handle there still wasn’t enough in Rossi to get ahead of JD. The stand out hits and perhaps the difference between first and second was JD’s Switch Frontside 270 Back Lip to Front Board across the transfer, and on the same obstacles a Back Lip to Frontside 180 across the transfer, pressing a rotation through another 270 to ride away, taking the $5,000 Nixon watch and $1500 cash!
The first ever Wakestock Abu Dhabi has come to pass and it is fair to say that the event has pushed the boundaries of the sport in all areas. With the final nights headline act De La Soul playing to an awesome crowd the riders and teams involved could relax safe in the knowledge that they have been part of a truly unique event and spectacle that further promoted the sport of wakeboarding bringing it to the hugely supportive people of the UAE. Roll on 2011!
Pro Men Wake Results
1. Harley Clifford 2. Rusty Malinoski 3. Phillip Soven 4. Aaron Rathy 5t. Danny Harf 5t. Padiwat Jaemajan 7t. Trevor Hansen 7t. Danny Thollander 9t. Austin Hair 9t. Adam Errington 11t. Andrew Adkison 11t. JD Webb 11t. Marc Rossiter 11t. Dan Knott 11t. Nick Jones 16t. Dean Smith 16t. Scotty Broome 16t. Parks Bonifay 16t. Fabien Hemel 16t. Matt Crowhurst
Pro Men Wake Finals
Pro Men Pool Gap Results
1. JD Webb 2. Marc Rossiter 3t. Parks Bonifay 3t. Aaron Rathy