The 2010 WWA World Series started off with an impressive event — the first-ever Wakestock Abu Dhabi. Not just the riding, but the entire organization of the contest and trip. The laid-back atmosphere was a sharp contrast to the intense level of riding. There was so much to do at the actual site it was hard to step away to see the other sights of Abu Dhabi.
There is a lot to be said for receiving an invite to a comp and have your entire itinerary already organized and taken care of shortly thereafter. Etihad Airlines sponsored the event and took care of all of the riders’ travel. I’m not here to write an airline review, but I’ve spent my fair share of time at 35,000 feet, and I’ll definitely choose Etihad my next flight to the UAE. En route, we got in the competitive spirit by all playing Battleship against one another via the in-seat entertainment. That might as well have been first class.
There were a couple different comps going on throughout the weekend. Of course, there was the kickoff to the WWA World Series, but there was also an awesome Sesitec System 2.0 rail set-up on the boardwalk. We had two days to free-ride boat and the System 2.0 as much as we wanted. There was also a System 2.0 in the open water to keep us and the locals entertained during the down time.
The only element of the weekend that wasn’t controlled was the weather. Although beautiful, there was a consistent 20 mph onshore wind. The chop proved too much for the qualifying round as scheduled. The organizers and local media were guaranteed competitive riding on Friday so we came up with a solution — a System 2.0 comp on the open water with prize money going to the top three air tricks. Some of the guys bowed out, because they didn’t have much cable experience but 90 percent of the pack battled it out.
We basically ran five 20-minute, four-rider heats. Each rider got two down and backs before switching out. The time allowed each rider about five turns. The water was still rough, but it was more manageable because we were closer to shore and the speed was slower. Adam Errington took the top spot with his very first double S-bend to blind. JD Webb then hit his first double S to blind, but it wasn’t quite as clean as Adam’s. JD also came up with his first Pete Rose on the cable — a surprisingly big Pete Rose at that. Padiwat Jaemjan, a.k.a. Bomb, is no stranger to the cable and did a massive tail grabbed front to blind to lock up a solid 3rd. I finished up in the 4-6 range with the other guys who made a double-S bend. So we were able to turn a bad situation into something good, with the first cash pro air trick event on a two-tower cable system that I know of. Dallas Friday, Amber Wing and Nicola Butler also finished up solidly on the podium.
On Saturday, the final day of the event, Harley Clifford showed why he is the reigning MasterCraft Pro Tour Champion by throwing down an impressive variety of Mobe 5s and big spins in very dicey conditions. Rusty Malinoski and Phillip Soven followed closely on his heels, with solid podium finishes. That wasn’t the end of the action though!
The top six guys in the rail comp had to battled it out for the top spot and the custom Nixon watch. Just to make it to the final, JD had a very close heat with Aaron Rathy that could have been a final. Marc Rossiter did the same coming through Parks Bonifay’s side of the head-to-head bracket. In the end, JD edged out Marc in a super-close face-off that left the spectators and other riders speechless.
I usually would write about all of the behind the scenes action, but this event had so much it didn’t seem right to not give you the details from my point of view. This was a great kick-off to what will surely be a very competitive 2010 World Series. I’ll keep you posted on all of the upcoming events including Brazil, The UK, Wakestock in Canada, and of course, the finale at the WWA World Championships. — Andrew Adkison
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