From Feb. 2-5, Europe’s legendary FISE Extreme Sports Festival crossed the oceans to the Americas for the first time. The wake arena, co-hosted by FlyZone Costa Rica Wakeboard Center, represented several firsts: the first time a cable was set up in Costa Rica, the first pro competition in Central America, the first obstacle-only comp in Costa Rica, Raph’s first 1080 off a kicker and many more firsts for all the local riders.
The container with the Sesitec System 2.0 and the obstacles didn’t arrive from France until the day before the festival started, leaving little time to practice and get used to the setup. Most of the amateur-participants had barely any or no experience at all with riding cable and hitting obstacles. That didn’t stop these rookies from trying and sticking inverts and 3s.
In the mean time, the pros that had already arrived took advantage of the situation and enjoyed some good surfing at Playa Hermosa. Raph supposedly even shared the surf with a croc! No pics or video though, so be warned when he claims he snowboarded with the Yeti.
Saturday saw the amateur comp with riders from France, the U.S., Panama, Netherlands and Costa Rica. French rider David Perrin took first and advanced to the pro-competition the next day. Sander Werink, the Dutch owner of FlyZone Costa Rica took second, and Carlos Sanchez (CR) came third. A special mention and mad props for Paola Ramirez Wheelless, the only female contestant who rode a great run!
Keith Lidberg didn’t arrive till late saturday night but managed to squeeze some riding in from 2-4 a.m. that same night. Raph Derome, Marc Rossiter and Brazil’s Marcelo “Marreco” Giardi had returned from the beach. All of them and winner of the amateur division David battled in an up-tempo “best trick” finale for the $6,000 prize pool. Raph’s 10 brought him gold ($2,500), Keith took 2nd ($2,000), Marc took 3rd ($1,000) and Marcelo 4th ($500).