This award is all about the riders who push the limits in both the cable park and winch realms (or hitting rails with any other tow device). From new groundbreaking tricks to winning contests to dropping edits that drop our jaws, these riders made 2021 one of the best yet.
There are so many reasons why Anna Nikstad (last year’s ROTY) is up for the award again. The Texan charger has the best attitude and is an inspiration and coach to many, always encouraging and supporting everyone around her. Before the pandemic, her Tumbleweed Tour had nearly sold-out for the season, and her Liquid Force Virago Board is one of the top non-gender-specific wake park boards around. Nikstad’s incredible talent and courage had her leading the scoreboard at Milan’s epic Red Bull Wake The City contest (with teammate Rivers Hedrick), unfortunately Anna got injured in the Semis and couldn’t compete in the finals. She also had to sit out the 2021 World Wake Park Championships while she healed, but by the end of the year she had reasons to celebrate. Anna got sponsored by the extreme-sports giant brand Red Bull as she’s now a member of their all-star wake team!
Claudia is one of the most popular riders around. Whether she is shooting videos, traveling, quarentining or competing, Pagnini never ceases to impress by her fierce determination. Last year, the Italian “primadonna” got crowned as the “Spacequeen” at Spacemob t.v.’s Spacetapes 2020 online global contest. Pagnini went huge and took many of her air tricks into the rails. Her first big victory this season was at Lithuania’s Red Bull Wake Duel where she defeated Julia Rick in a head to head final. She continued winning contests in Europe throughout the summer and got very close to winning again in one of the best contests of the year, the invitational doubles contest in the heart of Milan Red Bull Wake The City. Claudia and teammate Elena Bodi made it to the finals and ended up in second place a few points behind Lopina and Roughier.
The 20201 World Wake Park Champion (in Features and Traditional) had a run for her money this season. She went huge all season long, but minor and major mistakes had her in second and third place on the podium . The skill level in the pro women’s division continued to progress rapidly, but by the end of the season, the german girl from Cologne had pulled it together making her way back to the top. 2021 was an all time year for Julia who took home two World Titles, making that 11 under her belt, she got a Guinness Record and became the first woman to land a KGB 540.
Jamie Lopina is the only female athlete nominated three categories this year. She is nominated in Boat, Cable and Full Scope. The entire season she seemed to have the golden Midas touch. She started the by placing third at Lithuania’s Red Bull’s Wake Duel cable park event, then she won both Moxie Pro Boat and Cable events and continued with her winning streak taking gold at Milan’s Red Bull Wake The City with teammate Maryh Rougier. Lopina didn’t participate at the Wake Park World Championships nor at the World Wakeboard Championships, but her stellar performances (in both boat and cable), skyrocketed her into legendary status.
The trailblazing pro from Russia raised the bar for all the women park and rail riders last year taking her tricks into the walls and winning the TOTY award. This year, Baloo made it to the semis at both Red Bull European events, she had some health issues and she’s back on the water. She practices year round, either she travels chasing the sunshine or trains in below zero weather at the indoor pools in Moscow, where she has learned some of her most difficult tricks winching indoors during wintertime.
The German park and winch specialist made it to the final six taking down some big names this year. Freyer skipped the Check Out Award nomination and got voted (by the Wake Awards panel of experts) into the big leagues. She is regularly featured in the copycatsclub and spacemob tv videos where you will find her “sending it” over all kinds of terrain. Whether she is railing cement rails or sliding on sewer water, her passion for the sport and her courage are outstanding.