Hitting the open road and getting to see new places is something many of us dream about doing but, rarely get the opportunity to experience. Add a brand new Malibu to the mix and you probably have even bigger dreams and a bit less opportunity. Back in August I got the opportunity to do just that, and the least I could do was hop aboard. From May to September, Malibu, in partnership with GM, put together the Just Ride Tour and traveled the continent putting on demos and clinics in conjunction with a number of their dealers. When you put a brand new 24 MXZ on the road giving people free rides with the likes of both Malibu and Axis team riders, you’re bound to have a good time. During my time riding along with the JRT, we had all that and then some.
I caught up with Chad Sharpe and Malibu’s Global Marketing Manager, Bryant Thomas, just outside Vancouver, British Columbia at Performance Marine on Cultus Lake. This area is where Chad grew up and his parents and family still live today. Chad had too many stories of his family living the weekend warrior life, driving around and camping at all the surrounding lakes, and riding as much as possible – even into the cold temps of fall. Now a legend in the latter stages of his riding career, it was cool to hear him reminisce on his roots in the area he calls home. As we pulled up to the lake at 8:00 AM, there was already a crew waiting for our arrival to check out the boat and have a fun day on the water. Surrounded by towering, evergreen-covered mountains, Cultus Lake is one of the clearest I’ve ever seen, but it is also one of the most popular for all types of boaters. If you’re looking for good water, get out early. We had awesome crews all day long getting out to surf and check out the wave created by the 24 MXZ and Surf Gate. In the afternoon pro wakeskater James Balzer, who is also from the area, brought his family out to have some fun.
Despite having a shorter summer than most, the Canadians love being on the water and getting to ride, even if it is just for a couple of months out of the year. Once we were done for the day and the locals got their fill of endless waves and laughs, we packed up and headed for the border to get back to the U.S.
After making it into Seattle we had a day off, which provided the perfect opportunity for the truck and boat to get a check-up. The rig had driven over 15,000 miles to that point – performing flawlessly in a wide variety of conditions across the continent. So a once-over from the local dealer was more than well deserved.
The next day we arrived back at Seattle Marine’s beautiful dealerships that sits right on Lake Washington next to Mercer Island. The first crew of the day was a Cobalt owner who fell in love with surfing after buying their first boat (Cobalt is owned by Malibu and can be equipped with Surf Gate). They were already looking for the next step in wakesurfing and that brought them to the Just Ride Tour. Being there to support the local dealer, while offering others an experience aboard the new boat, is what the JRT is all about. That, and tons of care-free fun. The afternoon in Seattle supplied perfect weather and the addition of Australian team rider Lewy Watt to the trip. We had a large group show up celebrating a birthday, and they figured what better way to do that than with some wakeboarding and wakesurfing. We couldn’t have agreed with them more.
Our third and final stop took place the next day through the famed Active Water Sports in Portland. The Rose City wake community is extremely tight knit and AWS has done an incredible job helping to push and grow the sport in the area. The Portland stop of the tour was the biggest of the three while I was around, and from speaking to others it was one of the biggest of the summer. At one point there were so many people a second boat was put in the water and both were running until sunset to make sure everybody got to ride.
The next day we had a unique opportunity to ride through downtown Portland through the skyline and into the shipyards. It’s not often that you get to ride next to giant medical ships and submarines, so we were stoked to not only be there, but to have really good water to ride, as well. We got the full Portland experience while riding with rain, clouds, mist, sun, hot and cold all within an hour. It was a good sendoff for Chad and Lewy, who would be leaving Portland and starting a 12 hour drive down to California for the next stop of the JRT. As for me, I had to hop on a plane and head back home, stoked on the places I got to go, the people I got to meet, and the stoke I got to see on everybody’s faces at every stop.
The Malibu Just Ride Tour connected and grew the sport all summer long. No matter what board you ride or how long you’ve been riding it, you can’t have a bad day if it’s spent on the water no matter. That’s what the Just Ride Tour is all about, and that’s why it’s one of the longest running tours in the history of wakeboarding and wakesurfing. Check out the video from our 3-legged-stop with the JRT and see for yourself how much fun it is.