(Rail Finals Gallery Above)
16 riders competed Friday at The Projects outside of Orlando, Florida for the wake title at the Rockstar Rail Jam. The level of wakeskating was off the charts and the Nautique 210 delivered the perfect wake, with Robby Jacques at the control of the Zero-Off GPS speed control.
Stuart Shinn started off the day with one of the more impressive runs, stomping a wake-to-wake shove, however he was unable to make it past the second round. Andrew Pastura was another standout.
The final four consisted of Reed Hansen, Nick Taylor, Brandon Thomas and Brian Grubb. Hansen and Taylor were able to hold off the veteran wake champions and advance into the head-to-head final.
Taylor’s run was heavy with a toeside backside 180, backside 360, switch Madonna 180, switch 360, Benihanna, toeside 360 and a heelside stalefish late backside 180. Hansen came out and pulled a switch 360, regular 360, toeside backside 180, heelside backside 180, backside 360, flats 360 shove and kickflip, toeside 360 and a finger flip, pulled today for the first time in competition. He also just missed a 540 at the end of his second pass, then landed a shifty off the double up into the flats, riding away to his first-ever Toe Jam wake title.
“I didn’t think I was going to ride that good,” Hansen said. “I was surprised that Grubb didn’t crush us all. The riding level has been stepped up a lot with the all the different variations. It’s an honor to compete at the Toe Jam on this level.”
After the dust had settled from the boat competition, the action went back to The Projects park for the Rockstar Rail Jam Final where two finalists earned an invitation to the Byerly Toe Jam Series Final presented by O’Neill on September 18-20.
16 riders killed it at The Projects outside of Orlando, Florida for the rail park title at the Rockstar Rail Jam. The Sea-Doo Wake Edition towed steady and the lines were glassy all day.
Standout riders were Andrew Pastura, Reed Hansen, Clint Tompkins and Nick Taylor, who all made it into the final four. Tompkins and Taylor were on their game, advancing to the head-to-head final.
Taylor, who suffered a minor knee injury at the end of his semis run (kickflip) won the coin toss, opting to ride second. Tompkins landed a back lip shove off the Sea-Doo incline, boardslide 270 shove off the O’Neill flat rail, front board 360 over the Liquid Force high flat rail, front board / boardslide over the Rockstar a-frame, front board shove off the O’Neill flat bar and a front board on the Arnette banked rail. Three falls left a bit of room for Taylor to take advantage of.
Taylor shook off his knee injury no problem, stomping a boardslide shove off the O’Neill flat bar, toeside 360, an ollie boardslide shove, switch 360 off the Air Nautique kicker, backside big spin, back lip shove off the Sea-Doo incline, backside big spin, backside 180 over the Rockstar ollie, front lip shove off the O’Neill flat rail, boardslide shove off the Sea-Doo incline, front board shove off the O’Neill flat rail, switch boardslide / front board on the Rockstar a-frame, a front board / boardslide shove off the Liquid Force high flat rail and capped off his run off with a switch Madonna off the Air Nautique kicker.
“It’s been a euphoric expression of everything I love about wakeskating compressed into one weekend of epic-ness,” Taylor said. “The Toe Jam is the summit of the wakeskating ranks. It’s not so much the reputation of the event itself but really the truth behind the raw talent that is exposed throughout the weekend. No matter what side you prefer to excel in wakeskating, Scott Byerly has created a place to showcase everything you can do and for that we all owe him so much.”
This weekend, Taylor and Pastura earned an invitation to the Byerly Toe Jam Series Final presented by O’Neill on September 18-20. Other pre-qualified champions include Tompkins, Brian Grubb, Aaron Reed, Ben Horan, Reed Hansen and Brandon Thomas. Another wildcard (to be determined from this event) will also be invited to the final.
Stop number two will be the Rockstar Cable Jam, June 12-14 at the TSR in New Braunfels, Texas.