Because of the current world climate, the traditional event honoring the best things in wake was featured online for the third time. Much like the “Oscars” of Wake, the Wake Awards winners are voted by a panel of industry experts like the “academy” (unlike the popular Reader’s Poll contest where the fans get to vote for their favorite riders). The annual affair has been running for over 2 decades and to win the coveted Wake Award is considered to be the highest honor.
This year the show was bigger than ever, with 20 awards presented by the best content creators in the industry, including new awards for Women’s Park, Check Out and Full Scope categories, plus Wakesurfing and Wakeskating men and women got recognized for the first time.
And the winners are…
In the boat category, 7-time-World Champion Meagan Ethell won the female Rider Of The Year award. Ethell has previously won 6 ROTY titles and was also voted the fan favorite boat rider in the Reader’s Poll. In the men’s division the top honors went to Italy’s Massi Piffaretti who made the biggest impact during 2021 in contests, social media posts and video edits. Piffaretti teamed up with British Videographer Dave Av, who won the Best Content Creator of the year, and the winning duo also received the Best Web Video award with the amazing short “Cara Italia”. The Best Film Award was “The Coalition. The Movie. The Trilogy” by Spacemob Tv.
Texas native Anna Nikstad repeated last year’s win and took the Female Park Rider Of The Year award. For the first time, the Wake Awards included separate awards for women in Park and Boat categories (like in the men’s division) making it equal and bringing many more amazing women riders to the spotlight. In the men’s division, Brazilian Pedro Caldas won the Park Rider Of The Year award for the first time, achieving a lifelong dream.
The winners of the new Wakeskater Of The Year category were Zuzana Vrablova from Slovakia and Thailand’s Daniel Grant. Both athletes took the fan vote win at the Reader’s Poll, making them not just the best but also the most popular Wakeskaters on the planet.
The Men’s Check Out award winner was ten-year-old Kane Ward who took the World Title earlier in the season becoming the youngest rider to land a double flip. The Check Out women’s award went to fifteen-year-old Rivers Hedrick who rose through the ranks all season and had an outstanding performance at Milan’s Red Bull Wake The City contest with teammate Anna Nikstad.
Wakesurfing made its awaited debut at the 2021 Wake Awards with 5-time-World Champion Ashley Kidd taking the win in the female division and Noah Flegel in the men’s. Both athletes won the fan vote at the Reader’s Poll as well.
The Full Scope Award goes to the best all-around rider in all modalities. Guenther Oka won the title for the fifth time in a row positioning himself into legendary status at his young age. The Full Scope women’s award went to Jamie Lopina who notoriously won the Moxie Pro women’s contests in both cable and boat this season. Jamie had a stellar performance never missing the podium all year long.
The Indmar Trick Of The Year awards went to Julia Rick from Germany who landed a KGB540 and to Orlando’s Trent Stuckey that landed an impossibly dangerous “Rage-Cage” for the first time. The Indmar Trick Of The Year award in the Wakeskate division went to Lake Havasu’s Cole Kraiss.
Operation Wakesurf won the Pass The Handle Award for introducing the most people to the sport and the Legend Award went to Wakeskate and foiling pioneer Brian Grubb, who still competes at the pro level to this day. Grubb placed third at the WWA World Wakeskate Championships behind the boat this year and is taking foil surfing and base jumping to the next level.
Honorary mention to rider JB O’Neill who won the Reader’s Poll for the Best Content Creator and the Favorite Boat Rider Of The Year. JB also placed second as the favorite Park Rider Of the Year behind Great Britain’s Liam Peacock. Italy’s Claudia Pagnini won the fan vote for the Favorite Female Park Rider.
To watch the 2021 Wake Awards show please visit Wakeboarding Magazine’s YouTube channel.