Austin, TX - The Malibu Just Ride Series wakeboarding event began in Austin on Saturday with a little business before a weekend of nothing but fun on Austin's Decker Lake. The business to be settled was which four wakeboarders
would gain invitations to join top riders like Darin Shapiro and DallasFriday in the Just Ride portion of the event.
The Just Ride event is unique in that it allows riders to showcase their talents behind the Indmar Marine engine powered Malibu Wake Setter boats in a non-competitive format. Officials on the day are very unofficial, with riders judging the performance of their peers with nothing on the line but a good time.
For the women, five riders Challenged their way into the event with the two spots going to Marie Botved-Studd and Lauren Harf who finished first and second respectively in their qualifying heat.
For the men, the competition was even more heated with 13 men challenging for only two spots. A number of riders from the Austin area came out to participate in the men's challenge, but ultimately the two spots went to Ryan Wynne and Collin Harrington, both from Florida. Matt Lockwood and Brendan Findley were the top Texans in the Pro Men's Challenge qualifying on Saturday.
The Malibu Just Ride Series isn't just about Pro riders, though. It is also about giving young wakeboarders a chance to showcase their talents in front of professionals. Native Texans really shined on Saturday in the Junior Men's competition. Four riders from the Lone Star state earned a trip to the finals on Sunday. Top honors went to Joey Arcisz who won his qualifying heat. He and fellow Texan Duston Swafford took first and second place in Heat #2. Brad Allen of Austin also made it into Sunday's finals finishing second in his heat.
For the professionals, once the qualifying is out of the way the fun begins. The only competition on the day was to see which pro could pull off the Best Trick, Best Slide, Best Crash and Best Double-Up.
Shapiro took best trick, an honor he could claim in just about any wakeboarding event. Brian Grubb, a wakeskater, took best slider and Daniel Watkins had the best double up. But, it was one of the women who grabbed much of the attention. Fearless, Emily Copeland took a nasty spill off the ramp gap-slider, leaving an ugly gash on the back of her leg, and a best crash award.
This Malibu Just Ride event will continue on Sunday beginning at 10:30 a.m. with Junior Men's Finals. Nine junior men will go after the $1,000 award from Malibu. Pro Just Ride will begin at noon and the Pro Double-Up competition will end the day at 2:45 p.m.
PRO MEN CHALLENGE
(2 advance to Just Ride Rd 1)
Heat # 1
1. Collin Harrington (FL) 70.66
2. Greg Falzon (AUS) 61.74
3. Brian Sasser (OK) 53.30
4. Matt Lockwood (TX) 50.00
5. Billy Garcia (TX) 41.65
6. Rob Brewster (CA) 26.70
Heat # 2
1. Ryan Wynne (FL) 70.00
2. Chad Sharpe (CAN) 63.69
3. Brendan Findley (TX) 40.00
4. Chris Ramirez (TX) 40.00
5. John Perry (TX) 22.36
6. Brad Ward (TX) 21.70
7. Kurtis Rauhot (TX) 13.40