Most people think SLC stands for Salt Lake City, but at the 5th Liquid Force Slide Show presented by Monster Energy, SLC stood for Seriously Legit Crashes...or something along those lines.
In most parts of the country, wakeboarders are not allowed to build rails on there local lake so hitting rails is something new to them. The Salt Lake riders fall into this category. When we showed up to Marine Products, the host of the 5th Slide Show, I was talking with Jason "Coop" Cooper (Coop is one of the main guys at Marine Products) about the rail set up and he seemed a little nervous. The reason being, he was one of two out of the eight amateur riders that had ever hit a rail. He had never ridden using a Grinch Winch, and had definitely never done so over concrete.
Donít get me wrong, all eight of these amateur wakeboarders are very legit riders when on the lake...they just needed to get warmed up a bit on the rails. The event started around 1:00 pm on Saturday, July 1st, with a practice session for the am's. The amís were definitely a bit hesitant to hit the rails, so Shane Bonifay stepped up and showed them how it was done. Then, ust to put them more at ease, Aaron Reed slid the rails on his pro model wakeskate with the ease and style that only Aaron has. Reed was definitely at the top of his game all day.
So, the time had come for the amís to compete...I wish I had photos of the cringing faces of the crowd, because that would explain it all. These guys were hitting the hay bails left and right. It was definitely sketchy, but we were all having a ball at the same time. In my opinion these eight riders were the best riders we had seen yet. Hereís why...They had determination and fight like I had never seen and were all determined to show us and the crowd that they could shred over concrete like they can on water. Watching them wreck hard and then get right back up to try it again was one of the cooler things weíve seen all summer. All 8 riders were showing the true spirit of the Slide Show. After a little practice, they were all making it to the landing pool with style.
Once the local crew had there chance to sessions the rails for a while, it was time for the pro riders to step up and show them how it was really done. Gregg Necrason, Silas Thurman, Shane Bonifay, Aaron Reed, and Keith Lyman were all on hand. Of course the master of style, Mr. Bonifay, showed everyone up with his signature nose press, Keith was master of disaster with his powerful rail riding, and even the legend, Gregg Necrason showed why he has been one of the leaders in wake. Wakeskaters Aaron Reed and Silas Thurman, a.k.a. Mic Styles and Random Guy, showed the SLC crowd that you donít need to be strapped to your board to ride rails.
After the pro demo, it was time to get on with the amateur finals. The two finalists were Jason Kimball and Colby Shelton, as both managed to top Scott Bagley and Dave Bagley who were solid competitors, as well. These guys went from slamming into the hay bails, to riding the rail with style and ease. Jason and Colby were seriously killing it in the finals...it was a tough call for the judges, but in the end it was the Sessions Snow Team Manager, Jason Kimball who was crowned the champ! Heíll be joining the winners of the previous Slide Shows in Houston, TX September 29th.
Be sure to check www.liquidforce.com for a Slide Show coming near you. A big thanks to Randy, Jeremy, Coop and the rest of the staff at Marine Products for hosting a killer event. And of course a big thanks to all of the Slide Show sponsors, Monster Energy, Malibu Boats, Reef, Spy Optic, Kicker, Alliance Wakeboard Magazine, and Lake Powell. Most importantly, thanks to the local rippers that gave it there all and showed us what the Slide Show is all about!
To view pictures of the SLC Event check out the Wakeboarder.com photo section.