Wakeboarder Kyle Alberts, 19, was only supposed to clear the 50 foot ramp-to-ramp jump over a 40 foot bus on a wakeboard at Wall Street Plaza in downtown Orlando, which he did – twice. But on his third attempt, the “2008 Pro Tour Rookie of the Year” stuck the record-breaking jump while spinning 540 degrees on his wakeboard.
“It feels awesome,” Alberts says. “I’m so stoked that I had this opportunity and that everything came together so well.”
Alberts completed the three jumps on Sept. 13 in front of an energized crowd of about 6,500 while Grammy Award winner and Boardbeats Producer, RockWilder, performed with drummer Mike Mantas. Alberts began in the start pool on his wakeboard and was launched into the air when a gas powered winch pulled him up a 10-foot tall take-off ramp. The momentum sent Alberts soaring over the 40 foot converted Greyhound bus, down a 12 foot tall landing ramp, and into the shallow second landing pool where Alberts cleanly rode away from the stunt three times. A jump of this caliber involving a winch is believed to be the first of its kind, and the distance Alberts cleared is record-breaking. The 540-degree spin was a thrilling surprise for the huge crowd, and when asked at what point Alberts decided to add the 540, Alberts replied, “About halfway up the ramp!”
The stunt was conceptualized and produced by Step Up Productions, an Orlando based action sports and music production company that has been involved in major events such as the X-Games and AST Dew Tour Wakeboard Rail Jams, and the world record wakeboard jump over the Lake Eola fountain for the Discovery Channel’s Stunt Junkies.
Ryan Davis, president and co-founder of Step Up Productions, believes that events like the bus jump and the Red Bull Wake Lab, a wakeboard Rail Jam held at Lake Eola earlier the same night, are revolutionizing the sport of wakeboarding.
“Right now, wakeboarding is at an all-time high in terms of popularity, and events like this and the Wake Lab prove that the sport is evolving,” Davis says.
Saturday’s stunt was part of an annual after party for the Surf Expo convention and was hosted by Step Up Productions. Every year, the Surf Expo convention, which is held at the Orange County Convention Center, draws over 100,000 people from all over the world to Central Florida and this was the fourth consecutive year that Surf Expo after party was held at Wall Street Plaza. The stunt is the first of its kind and is attracted many of the local and visiting wakeboard adrenaline junkies who didn’t want to miss the chance to witness such a huge wakeboard jump.
The stunt kicked off with the showing of a teaser for Pro Wakeboarder Josh Sanders’ new TV show called Josh’s Idea, which will air in 2009 on Rush HD. Josh’s Idea is a new TV series produced by Jalbert Productions that documents Sanders pursuing his crazy ideas as he travels and wakeboards around the world. The voice of the Pro Wakeboard Tour, Dano the Mano aka the “Noise of the North,” was the event’s MC and Rockwilder had an electrifying performance with drummer Mike Mantas.
Rockwilder recently produced Boardbeats, which according to Boardbeats.com is, “music co-produced and inspired by some of the best pros in board sports,” and the music features professional wakeboarders such as Dallas Friday, Rusty MMalinoski, and Shaun Murray.
In order to execute the stunt in the middle of downtown Orlando in front of thousands of spectators, Step Up Productions set up two giant pools and two huge ramps on Court Street. Alberts, a Team Hyperlite Rider, was pulled by a gas-powered winch that has a ski handle at the end of a long rope, which simulates being pulled behind a boat while wakeboarding. Alberts started in one pool and, as the motor coiled the rope in, Alberts was pulled at about 25 miles per hour across the water. Alberts was then launched into the air by being pulled up a 10-foot tall take-off ramp. The momentum sent Alberts soaring over the 40-foot Greyhound bus that Double Down Entertainment converted into the Big Blue Party Bus. Alberts then slid down a 12-foot tall landing ramp and into the second pool. After being launched over the 50-foot gap, Alberts only had 50 feet to come to a complete stop or he could have skidded out of the three-foot deep pool and crashed to the brick road below.
Alberts moved to Orlando almost three years ago to pursue the sport of wakeboarding. The wakeboarding industry has dubbed Orlando the “Mecca of Wakeboarding,” and Orlando has produced some of the world’s top riders in the industry, such as Alberts.