Throwback Thursday: Devise & Conquer 2011

A look back at the iconic wakeskate contest
Danny Hampson wakeskates through fire
Danny Hampson – Devise + Conquer nose pick through the inferno. Letchworth

Back in 2011, the Devise + Conquer contest was setup in the vein of some of other TransWorld entities like Skate & Create, the Team Shoot Out, and Imaginarium. The original concept was to give four wakeskate teams full access to The Projects for three days to create their own setups and then shoot photos and video on them. When it was all said and done, there would be one winner. The initial Devise + Conquer made waves in the industry, and the photos and videos each team came up with were some of the most creative ever. Here’s a look back at the first iteration of this epic series, with the story and photos from the magazine, and the original videos.

Experiment Gone Right
Team Obscura wins the first-ever Transworld Devise + Conquer present by Teva

The inaugural TransWorld Devise + Conquer was as much an experiment as it was an event. Wakeskate teams from Byerly, CWB, Obscura and Remote were given a blank canvas upon which they could portray wakeskating exactly as they wanted it to be seen. Every team received the same basic tools and had full creative control over the outcome of their talent and hard work. We didn’t know what to expect, but what the first Devise + Conquer produced could never have been anticipated anyway.


The concept is simple: Each team received three days of isolation at The Projects outside Orlando with a photographer, videographer, some random obstacles and a small budget. They had one day to bild and two days to film and shoot photos. At the end of each team’s allotted time, it produced a three-to five-minute video and submitted photos from its shoot.

The sheer diversity of the setups and riding made it interesting to watch as each team came through The Projects over the course of 12 days. Byerly, Obscura, Remote and CWB all came up with original setups and unique ideas for its repertoire. But to win, a team needed the entire package. It not only needed a solid them that allowed its photos and video to shed light on its talents on a wakeskate, but it also had to show diversity, innovation, and creativity. In the end, that team was Obscura.

Byerly Boards
Puttin’ Paint Where It Ain’t

Scott Byerly backside 50-50
Part of the paint crew, Scott Byerly backside 50-50 on a 16-foot extension ladder. Maloy

Riders: Scott Byerly, Brandon Thomas, George Daniels, Bret Little
Photographer: Matt Maloy
Filmers: Tad Matthews, Danny Vanzura, Steve Campbell
Build by the Numbers: 36 cans of spray paint, 15 ladders, 6 painter jump-suits, 1 Ski Nautique for $1
Highlights: Brett Little’s back-to-back-to-back first tries on the incline. George Daniels frontside flip off the boat. Brandon Thomas boardslide big spin 360 off the the boat. Scott Byerly shove lipslide to fakie.

Byerly Boards paint crew
Paint crew. Maloy
Bret Little hits the ladder
Shoots and ladders with Bret Little. Maloy

“The team and I wanted to come up with something completely different. We have done a lot over the years, and it’s pretty hard to come up with different and original stuff. We were throwing all sorts of ideas around we were kinda stressing about it. I couldn’t sleep at night! Matt (Maloy) and I finally came up with the ladder idea, looking around my house for things we could use. I sent BT and George some pictures, and they were into it. So when we go to The Projects, it was pretty easy to set everything up, and we couldn’t believe we never used ladders before! It was the most fun we have ever had.” – Scott Byerly

George Daniels rail slide
George Daniels’ version of climbing the ladder… Maloy

CWB / Connelly
The United States of Awesome

Matt Manzari ollies
Matt Manzari throws a poked-out ollie for himself and his team but, more importantly, for America. Meddock

Riders: Matt Manzari, Stuart Shinn, Josh Zentmeyer, Tom Doran
Photographer: Joey Meddock
Filmers: Tad Matthews, Steve Bates, Aaron Pastura
Build by the Numbers: 26 4×4 posts, 5 gallons of red, white and blue paint, 2 badass American flags, 1 can of gas for $3.81.
Highlights: Matt Manzari backside flip. Stuart Shinn back-to-back kickflip and frontside flip. Matt Manzari 3 flip. Josh Zentmeyer switch front big into the pool, regular front big out.

Josh Zentmeyer hits the hand rail
Josh Zentmeyer getting down in style on the hand rail. Meddock
Stu Shinn kickflips through flames
Because when you’re Stu Shinn, you kickflip through a wall of flames for the fun of it. Meddock

“We went into this thing knowing we all loved the U.S. of A. Matt had the grand idea of a 4th of July theme, including large flags, fireworks, and Neil Diamond. Both the fireworks and Neil were tough to come by, so we lit a fire and did flip tricks through it while being watched over by 12-foot American flags. It just so happened that our last night of filming was the same night bin Laden was paid a visit by our SEALs. It was a proud moment for us all. God bless the USA.” – Steve Bates

Tom Doran frontboarding
Tom Doran frontboarding in the name of freedom. Meddock
Matt Manzari wakeskates through fire
This picture of Matt Manzari looks way scarier than it really is… It’s like they say, timing is everything. Meddock

The Hollow Men

Danny Hampson wakeskating
Leave it to Danny Hampson and crew to use an apocalyptic poem about the end of the world for wakeskating inspiration… That being said, the Obscura team won the first Devise + Conquer for a reason. Letchworth

Riders: Aaron Reed, Danny Hampson, Grant Robers, Travis Doran
Photographer: Josh Letchworth
Filmers: Tad Mathews, Ian Reid
Build By the Numbers: 1,144 miles that Aaron Reed drove to the event, 18 sheets of plywood, 2 fog machines, 1 stolen road barricade
Highlights: Aaron Reed front board hippie jump 270-shuv. Travis Doran backslide flip over the standup PWC. Danny Hampson boardslide to nosegrind backside 180. Danny Hampson nose pick into the burning town.

Aaron Reed innovative wakeskater
Aaron Reed landed on the cover of the July 2011 issue with what at the time was the most innovative and creative hippie jump on a wakeskate to date: front board shuv. Letchworth
Travis Doran looks cool wakeskating
Travis Doran making sure the end of the world still looks pretty darn cool. Letchworth

“The inspiration for our theme and title came from the T.S. Eliot poem “The Hollow Men.” The poem deals with the end of the world and the Hollow Men who bring it on. In today’s turbulent climate and with 2012 looming, we thought it fitting to tie in the end of the world idea. In reality, we are the Hollow Men – a bunch of guys in wet shorts watching the world spin off into darkness and not caring as long as the rope is in our hands. I know it’s a little heavy, but it was just an idea we wanted to experiment with.” – Danny Hampson

Grant Roberts' nighttime escape
Grant Roberts’ nighttime escape from the madness. Letchworth
Hampsons' turn with some hippie jump fun
Hampsons’ turn with some hippie jump fun through the road barricade that Reed brought all the way from Texas to Florida. Letchworth

Back in Black – and White

Ben Horan's frontside flip
Ben Horan, keeping it clean – and black and white – with a frontside flip out of the Remote pool. Letchworth

Riders: Ben Horan, Silas Thurman, Matt Hooker, Yan Lecomte
Photographer: Josh Letchworth
Filmers: Tad Mathews, Ian Reid
Build by the Numbers: 223 2x4s, 25 sheets of sheetrock, 20 2x6s, 18 sheets of plywood.
Highlights: Ben Horan 3-flip and varial heel. Matt Hooker boardslide to backlip, 270 shuv. Yan Lecomte front board to backside 360 big spin.

Yan Lecomte wakeskating slide
Yan Lecomte locked in. Letchworth
Matt Hooker making some magic
Matt Hooker making some magic with the infamous Remote logo as a backdrop. Letchworth

“We wanted our theme to be simple. Black and white with all straight lines, and we were really trying to keep things square with this idea too. We decided for a lot of the riding to do the work as well. With the music we chose, I think it worked out to be exactly what we wanted.” – Ben Horan

The Remote team's setup
The Remote team’s setup was simple, but allowed for a lot of variety. Here’s Matt Hooker sliding the edge of the pool. Letchworth
Yan Lecomte flipping out
Yan Lecomte flipping out of the pool setup. Letchworth