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Today was the first official day of the World Cup in Odaiba Bay, Tokyo. The cable park is located almost directly in the city center. The backdrop is amazing; there are giant bridges and buildings everywhere. This cable is unique in the sense that it is on an open bay, so there is a high tide and a low tide. The difference is approximately two meters, or six feet, which is a lot regarding the distance from the cable to the water. Six feet makes a huge difference in what air tricks riders can pull off. On top of that, this cable was built solely for this event. They constructed the cable on Monday, and they will tear it down the following Monday.
The reason that this event is so important is because this World Cup stop is the first step in making wakeboarding part of the Olympics. The IWWF is the sanctioning organization that coordinates with the Olympic committee. So, at this event, there are a handful of officials here from Japanese Olympic Committee that are assessing if wakeboarding is a sport worthy of the Olympics. Only the top riders from each country have been selected to compete at this event, and it’s up to us to prove that it is. No pressure, of course.
The opening ceremony was spectacular. The governor of Tokyo made a speech to welcome wakeboarding as a sport to the city of Tokyo. There was a giant drum performance, followed by the singing of the national anthem. All of it was extremely professional. After that we went straight into the contest. 14 women and 28 men competed for a chance to ride in the finals on Sunday. The level of riding continues to step up at each contest, and this event was no exception. Rocco Van Straten from the Netherlands rode really well, with tricks like pete 5 off the kicker, and a monstrous 313. As always, Dominik Geuhrs rode sick, landing raley 5 and crow mobe off the flats just to name a few. I rode pretty well as well, landing an s bend to blind to the inside of the cable and a toe back 7 off the kicker. It was enough to get me through to the semi finals on Sunday.
After the event the all of the athletes and officials met for an amazing dinner at Ocean’s Restaurant. The buffet style food included everything from pizza to sushi to, my personal favorite, a fondu fountain. After stuffing ourselves silly, we went over to the Sega Theme park where we got to test out some Japanese style arcade games. Unable to read the Japanese on the computer, we purchased the wrong tickets and had to finagle our way onto the indoor roller coaster ride. But after twisting the staff members arm a little, we made our way onto the ride and had a pretty good time experiencing the Japanese culture. Tomorrow we will see who will be crowned as the first cable World Cup champion.