Last summer when we got the chance to test out the entire 2018 Centurion line we knew that 2018 was going to be a big year for the longtime inboard manufacturer out of central California. To put it simply, their new boats with the new Opti-V hull were the best and most user friendly they have ever created. Not only were the wakes and waves huge, consistent, and clean, but you could go from wakesurfing to wakeboarding and back again with a couple pushes of a button (be sure to check out our 2018 Centurion boat reviews here). What we didn’t know is that Centurion would also rework the way it approaches its pro team.
For the last handful of years Centurion has been known as a wakesurf-centric team, and that was very much by design. The wakesurf market has surged, and Centurion has been a leading force behind wakesurfing since well before that surge. But with that focus came some sacrifice on the wakeboarding side. While the wakesurf team grew, the wakeboard team seemed stagnant and their wasn’t much hype behind the boats. Not with 2018 though. Armed with their new boats that are just as good for wakeboarding as they are for wakesurfing, Centurion has gone out and looked to move the needle in different ways. Enter the likes of David O’Caoimh and Taylor McCullough.
When it comes to moving the needle in different ways there is no bigger or better example in wakeboarding than David O’Caoimh. For the last few years the 24-year-old from Ireland has almost single-handedly pushed wakeboarding’s reach to never-before-seen places. Thanks to his immensely popular YouTube channel, along with his affable personality, David has become globally popular, despite not winning tons of contests, landing the craziest tricks, or mingling with the pro scene around Orlando very much. The proof of that was in the pudding when he took home 2nd place in the 2017 Reader’s Poll. David will bring his energy and enthusiasm to Centurion and push the brand forward in new, creative ways to a fresh audience.
Coming off an injury-plagued 2017, Taylor McCullough will be a force to be reckoned with in 2018. Already considered one of the top female riders in the sport, Taylor is looking to continue to progress her riding in new, creative ways (remember her Female Trick of the Year submission at the 2017 Wake Awards?!?) and she’ll surely be doing that with her new Ri237 from Centurion. Taylor brings a fun-loving, easy-going, down-for-whatever attitude to the Centurion wakeboard team that is right in line with what the brand is doing now and where it is going in the future.
We met up with Taylor and David, as well as longtime Centurion team rider Adam Fields at Taylor’s place on Lake Holden in Orlando. Adam had just driven down from North Carolina to deliver Taylor her brand new Ri237, and needless to say she was stoked to get it. David had flown over from Ireland to get some riding time in on the new boat, as it was set to tow the IWWF World Championships in Argentina at the end of March. The three spent time dialing in Taylor’s new ride, shredding, and enjoying an Orlando “winter.”
David, who is used to the frigid conditions of his native Ireland, was eager to jump in the water first. It was a “colder” day in Orlando, but for him it was balmy. While most local riders would wear a shorty wetsuit or neo top, David straight skinned it just because he could. If you’ve seen any of David’s YouTube videos you know he’s an energetic guy. That is no different on the water. The kid has a spring in his step, and he’s always doing something on his board, whether it’s an inside-out roll-to-revert off the startup wake, little butter slides on the lip, or charging into the flats, David isn’t sitting still when he’s on his board. It’s that energy and enthusiasm that makes his videos so popular, not to mention the fact that he truly loves being on the water. The ear-to-ear grin he rocks while riding isn’t a forced one. He’s truly that happy and he brings a great energy to whoever else he is hanging out or riding with. During one of his rides on Taylor’s new Ri237 he managed to link up with acclaimed GoPro photo/video man Chris Rogers, who snapped this epic shot of a tail grab front flip. Upon seeing it, we knew it had to become the next #CoverUp feature for the website.
Taylor followed the Irishman and impressed everybody with just how much of her signature style and tricks she’d gotten back in her short time back on the water since her injury. Heelside 540, inverts with a variety of grabs, a legit method… the list goes on, and it goes to show what kind of rider Taylor is. Simply put, Taylor is one of those riders that isn’t afraid to push herself and learn new things. She’s not into wakeboarding for boundaries or staying in a box, she wants to push them and herself, even when it’s winter and she’s been off the water for a while. Look for that attitude to propel her to new heights this coming year. Taylor’s motivated, and she’s got a brand new boat she’s stoked to be riding behind.
The last to ride was the veteran, Adam Fields. Adam has long been known as one of the most consistent riders with an incredibly deep and diverse bag of tricks. If you name it, chances are Adam can probably do it. And if he can’t he’s probably game to try to learn. One of the nicest, most down-to-earth guys you’re ever likely to meet, Adam has been promoting wakeboarding for close to two decades, and he’s now known for his AF Wake shop and school up on Lake Gaston in North Carolina. AF Wake not only teaches tons of people about wakeboarding and wakesurfing every year, but it also puts on one of the region’s best events: the Lake Gaston Big Air Fair. Adam closed out the day with a signature smooth session behind the Ri237 and showed just what has helped him be a longstanding pro rider.
Each of these riders are active and friendly on social media, so if you can’t find a way to meet up with them at an event this summer, hit them up there. Of course, they can also be spotted here on wakeboardingmag.com and through our social channels regularly. All three are excited for the upcoming season, and especially excited for what the all new Ri237 is bringing to the table.