See the riders who are up to win the biggest awards in wake!
September 21, 2020
The finalists for the 2020 Wake Awards have been determined!Wakeboarding Magazine
We’re back for year number 17 of Wake Awards, and what a year it’s been… 2020, right?!?! Given the craziness of this atypical wake season, we decided it was best to change up the nomination and voting process for Wake Awards. In the past the Wakeboarding staff has created a list of nominees for each award and utilized the diversity of our industrywide panel to determine the winners. This year, we started off with a nomination process, and we expanded our panel. With over 75 industry insiders, media members, legendary riders and other worthy experts, we sent out a ballot for nominations. The results of those nominations are below, and these are the finalists for most of this year’s categories. These finalists now have about a month left to shred, push the limits and set themselves apart from the pack before the final ballot is sent back out to the panel to determine the winner!
Note: Some categories like Best Web Video and Trick of the Year aren’t included at this point. Due to the reduced time on the water and travel restrictions that inhibited many riders and content creators this year, we wanted to give more time for categories like those. So without further adieu, here are your 2020 Wake Awards finalists (listed in alphabetical order)! Who do you think will take home the honors this year?!
CHECK OUT AWARD
The Check Out Award honors the up-and-coming rider, amateur or pro, who had a noticeable and unique impact on the sport as a whole, whether through progressive riding, competition results, an outstanding presence on social media or video performances.
Despite his young age, Crosse Bearden’s riding is seen as some of the most unique and stylish in the game.Dylan Miller
Fynn Bullock not only shreds both behind the boat and in the park, but he rips on a snowboard too. The multi-talented board rider just finished his rookie year on the Supra Boats PWT and made every final.Courtesy Liquid Force
The young Frenchman is quickly becoming one of the wake park riders to watch, no matter where you are in the world. With an impressive array of tricks and a style and fluidity that is all his own, Deschaux’s is a name to remember, because it’s going to be around for years to come.Pierre Marie Camintati
The younger of the Stuckey brothers, Gavin has been garnering tons of attention for his consistent, stylish riding. Not to mention landing some of the most insane tricks in the park.Jeff Mathis
You can’t mention younger brother Gavin without older brother Trent. The elder Stuckey bro has been charging the parks scene since he was a grom, and last year found himself on the Trick of the Year reel with his insane KGB 900.Rutledge
The youngest rider on this list – and possibly ever for the Check Out Award – Kane Ward is a grom with an infectious stoke for wakeboarding. Plus, he’s already landing tricks that some pros twice (or three times) his age can’t claim.Rodrigo Donoso
BEST FEMALE RIDER
The Best Female Rider award honors the wakeboarder who pushed women’s wakeboarding further, and in more impactful ways, than any other over the last 365 days. Considerations given to media coverage, video edits, progressive riding, contest results, clinics/demos and everything in between.
Elizaveta Pruzhanskaya – AKA Lisa Baloo
From Russia with style, she goes by Lisa Baloo and the world has quickly taken notice. For the last couple years, Elizaveta has become one of the best park riders in the sport, known for charging everything, pushing the boundaries with new tricks, and always making it look good.Courtesy Lisa Baloo
Meagan Ethell is the undisputed Queen of Wake, and rightfully so. She’s won this award an astonishing six times in a row! With no signs of slowing down, Meagan continues to push women’s wakeboarding to new heights, both with her progressive riding and numerous outreach projects.Bryan Soderlind
Sina Fuchs has not only been pushing the women’s park and winch game with her own riding, but she’s been promoted female wakeboarding around the globe through her online blog and Instagram channel – The Copycats Club. The fresh content and presentation of all the ripping lady riders around the world is both fun and totally unique in wake.Bryan Soderlind
Australian Bec Gange has been a staple in the world of pro women’s wakeboarding for years, and she continues to push the envelope – while also being one of the most fluid and stylish boat riders in the business.Rodrigo Donoso
For the last couple of years, Anna Nikstad has become the it girl of women’s wake park riding, and deservedly so. Her no-holds-barred approach to riding sets her apart and has made her a fan favorite around the world.Bryan Soderlind
You can’t talk about the best female riders without talking about Julia Rick. The German wake park sensation has won two of the past three Trick of the Year Awards, and she continues to raise the bar for what’s possible on a wakeboard.Bryan Soderlind
BEST CONTENT CREATOR
Since the beginning of Wake Awards, this award has been known as the Best Photographer award. We’re changing that for 2020. As media has changed, so too have the people who create it. The Best Content Creator is the person who, whether via photos, video or anything else, keeps us all entertained, inspired and stoked to get out and ride.
Dave Averillo, better known as Dave AV, made his name with his fancy drone flying and insane action clips. These days he travels the world filming with the best riders and keeps all of us wanting more. He’s also the brains (and drone video) behind the Liquid Lockdown, currently airing right here on Wakeboarding.Courtesy Dave AV
Wesley Mark Jacobsen
One of the leaders of the Space Mob movement, Wes Jacobsen has kept everybody entertained not only with his unique riding, but with his equally unique edits. From The Coalition series of videos to short Space Mob edits to single trick clips, Wes is always one to follow for wake entertainment.Courtesy Wes Jacobsen
Trever Maur has the distinction of not only being one of the most stylish riders in the game, but he’s also one of the most accomplished filmmakers. His stuff is always a ton of fun to watch and his stoke is infectious!Courtesy Trever Maur
While Shaun Murray is one of the most accomplished and legendary riders in the game, who has been a fan favorite for decades, he continues to give back to the sport and keep us entertained. Recently he’s been doing it through his YouTube channel, which is 100% Murray style.Courtesy Shaun Murray
JB O’Neill has been pushing wakeboarding to the world through his rapidly growing YouTube channel, and the fans are loving it. More than that, he rides and films around the globe with all the top pros, and whether he’s helping stack clips for a larger edit or just grabbing single tricks, JB is out making it happen nonstop.Courtesy JB O’Neill
German Steffen Vollert has quickly become one of the most talented multimedia produces in wake, regularly putting out some of the most gorgeous and creative videos and photos in the sport. His Instagram page alone is worth a follow just to look at the layouts on his home page.Courtesy Steffen Vollert
BEST PARK & RAIL RIDER
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 2020 one of the best yet.
Graeme Burress took all his incredible momentum from 2019 and kept charging right through 2020. The man rides like nobody else, and whenever he’s on the water, he commands the attention of everybody that’s lucky enough to be around to witness it. “Go big or go home” isn’t just a cheesy tagline for Graeme, it’s a way of life.Rodrigo Donoso / Hyperlite
The kid from Brazil has been making his name known worldwide with his incredible park riding. Pedro has a bag of tricks unlike any other rider in the game and he’s known for going as big as anybody else at any park – he’s quickly become a fan favorite for his unique riding.Courtesy Hyperlite
John Dreiling, or, as we like to call him, Captain Full Send, continues to be one of the most popular riders out there thanks to going absolutely huge while showing little regard for the well being of his body. The guy truly sends it like nobody else, and is always finding lines at parks that leave you wondering if he is verifiably insane.Jeff Mathis
Long considered one of the best and most creative park and winch riders in the sport, Felix continued that trend in 2020. His latest edit is just further proof of the unique skills and vision Felix brings to wakeboarding… He jumped through a freakin’ tire!Steffen Vollert / Red Bull Content Pool
The defending champ in this category, Guenther Oka’s park and rail skills are among the best and most progressive in the game. For 2020 he’s continued his contest domination by once taking the top spot at the Wake Park Nationals for both traditional and features only divisions, plus he’s helped resurrect the infamous Clear Lake Rail Park. Add in his quick edits and media presence, and you can see why he’s at the top.Bryan Soderlind
BEST BOAT RIDER
The Best Boat Rider is just that – the rider who crushes the game with boat riding that not only pushes the limits, but looks clean, effortless and fun, as well. These riders all have contest results and ground-breaking maneuvers under their belts, and anytime any of them drop an edit, everybody tunes in to see what’s gone down.
Tyler Higham’s rise from Check Out Award winner in 2017 to one of the best wakeboarders in the world has been fast, but also well deserved. The Oregon native took home this award last year, thanks in large part to his ability to add his own unique style to some of the most technical tricks in the sport. He’s continued that for 2020 and further cemented his place at the top of wakeboarding.Bryan Soderlind
Guenther continues to progress and push the limits with his boat riding, both from a trick standpoint, as well as style. The guy regularly puts together contest lines that feature tricks nobody else is doing – Pete Rose 540 and switch Pete Rose 540 back-to-back – plus, he just took home the win at Parks Bonifay’s acclaimed Double or Nothing contest, landing the first ever wrapped toeside backside 1080 behind a boat.Garrett Cortese
The Italian known as “Pizza Boi” continues to separate himself from the pack with riding that is distinctly his own. Massi has a style and approach to riding his board that is unlike any other, and he makes it look insane, fun, and way too easy, all at the same time.Bryan Soderlind
As the defending Supra Boats PWT champ, Nic Rapa is one of the most consistent riders on the planet who also happens to have one of the deepest bags of tricks. Rapa charges hard and uses his competitive fire to push himself, and the sport, to new heights every time he hits the water.Bryan Soderlind
Not many riders can claim the plethora of tricks that Cory Teunissen can, and he further set himself apart this year by dropping the first ever 1260 in a contest line during the Pro Wakeboard Tour. His edits have gone viral, thanks to his uncanny ability to land the hardest tricks and link them together like nobody else.Courtesy Nautique
Josh Twelker’s name is synonymous with style, and the Delta native continues to push what’s possible on a wakeboard in terms of making even the most difficult tricks look different and fluid. For years riders have looked to Josh as an example and inspiration, and that continued to be the case in 2020.Rodrigo Donoso / Hyperlite
THE FULL SCOPE AWARD
The Full Scope Award was created three years ago to honor the best all around rider in wakeboarding – the rider who doesn’t just ride every kind of pull, but who excels in all of them. These riders not only do that, but they push the boundaries of what’s possible on a wakeboard every time they ride, no matter what they’re riding behind.
While John is better known for sending it in the park, he spent much of 2020 making all of wakeboarding rethink what boat riding could or should look like. By treating the boat’s wakes more like features in a park instead of just as ramps for getting air, John blew minds while simultaneously proving that any pull can not only be fun, but can be grounds for unique, stylish and even progressive riding. Who else does inside-out fast-plants behind the boat?!Dave AV
Tyler’s versatility continues to blow minds as his style from the boat carries through into any other riding he does, whether it’s in a traditional wake park, in the streets with the winch or in the revamped Clear Lake Rail park.Bryan Soderlind
The Nor-Cal native with endless amounts of stoke, Trever Maur’s riding is some of the most well-rounded and cool-looking in the game. Maur rides his own way, putting his own twist on everything he does, and whether that’s behind the boat, in the park, or with a winch, it always looks good. Add to the fact that he’s one of the best videographers and filmmakers in the industry, and you’ve got a guy who wears a ton of hats and wears them all well.Rodrigo Donoso / Hyperlite
The smooth-riding Canadian looks good on the water, no matter what the pull. Dylan was one of the early adopters of the “ride everything” mantra, and he continues to live by that today.Wes Jacobsen
To put it simply, Guenther Oka is the king of the castle these days, and has been for a few years. He’s the three-time winner of the Full Scope Award, and deservedly so. Not many riders come close to Guenther’s abilities and accolades when it comes to boat, park and winch riding. Guenther’s style stands out, as he continues to lead the sport and push it to new heights.Bryan Soderlind
There isn’t another rider on the planet like Massi Piffaretti, and wakeboarding is better off because of it. Massi rides everything and does it all in a style that looks rad and inspires everybody who watches. And with 2020, a lot of eyeballs were watching Massi.Bryan Soderlind
THE WAKEBOARDING SHOW
In partnership with our friends at Surf Expo, and due to COVID cancelling the in-person exhibition in Orlando this year, we had last year’s Wake Awards hosts – our editor Garrett Cortese and the one-and-only DanO – put together a little video to announce this year’s finalists. If this is any kind of sneak peek at this year’s upcoming Wake Awards show, you know it’s gonna be good… and neon…
A big shout-out to our early Wake Awards sponsors, who help make sure we can keep the awesomeness of this tradition going!