Attracting a record 26,000 spectators and the world's top wakeboarders, Wakestock 2001, presented by Coors Light and Malibu Boats/Sun and Ski affirmed its reputation as the world’s largest wakeboarding event and one of Canada’s most popular summer parties.
"I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s the best event I’ve ever been to for so many reasons. I wish there were more events like this!" – Shaun Murray, reigning World Wakeboarding Champion and new Wakestock Expression Session Champion.
Featuring $55,000 in cash & prizes and four different pro events showcasing wakeboarding’s newest progressions and top pro riders, Wakestock enjoyed four near perfect warm, sunny days in beautiful Bala, Muskoka, Ontario from August 9-12. "Wakestock has grown every year since it was established in 1998, and this was our largest turnout of participants and spectators ever", said head organizer Steve Jarrett of SBC Media and Events. "Wakestock has become an annual summer highlight for thousands of action sports enthusiasts across Canada, as well as thousands of Ontario cottagers."
Wakestock kicked off with its annual Amateur Championship, which this year was sanctioned as a National Team and National Championship qualifier for up & coming Canadian wakeboarders. The largest amateur event of its kind in the world, the Wakestock Amateur Championship attracted a record 275 wakeboarders.
After missing last year’s event with a knee injury, 2001 Pro Tour champ Parks Bonifay of Lake Alfred, Florida re-captured the Wakestock Pro Railslide title he had earned in 1999. The Wakestock Railslide event is the biggest in the world, featuring a giant snowboard-style fun box with an upper rail that rises 12 feet above the water and stretches 72 feet in length. "The highlight of my run had to be the 270 frontside boardslide transfer on the big funbox. I think it’s the best rail slide I’ve ever had the chance to ride," Bonifay offered after his final run.
Competing at his very first Wakestock, Shaun Murray, of Orlando, Florida, a two time world champion and arguably the most popular rider among wakeboarders today was forced to step up his degree of difficulty after falling halfway through his first of two runs. His second pass, featuring one of the most exciting runs ever performed at Wakestock, was executed flawlessly to edge out up-and-coming star Shane Bonifay, younger brother of Parks. Australian Champion Daniel Watkins followed in third.
The Malibu Night Big Air event, a crowd favourite held under the movie set lighting of a giant, helium filled, "night sun" was won by Team Australia, followed by the Team USA and Team Canada. Hundreds of cheering fans watched the spectacle from the "Coors Light" party deck at the Kee To Bala concert hall overlooking Bala Bay. The Malibu Night Big Air was immediately followed by a sold-out performance by The Travoltas disco band at the "Kee", for the "cottage country" party of the summer.
The Pro Wakeskate event was won by Floridian, Brian Grubb, possibly the best wakeskater in the world. Grubb was one of the only riders to incorporate railsliding into his run, upping the level of difficulty, as there are no bindings used on a wakeskate.
While the pro events were the main attraction on the water at Wakestock, it was the multitude of festival activities which took place on shore that make Wakestock so unique and so popular. The entire main street of Bala was transformed into a massive "boarding lifestyle" festival village stretching from the Competition Park to the Kee To Bala bar a 1/4 mile away, and overflowing with music, surfwear, wakeboard and boat displays from over 40 different exhibitors representing all of the leading brands. On top of that there was an 80 foot Freestyle Motocross jump right in the middle of the street, a Skateboard Mini-Ramp sessioned by top skate pros and several of the the pro wakeboarders, bands playing on roof tops, beer patios, and crowds of young people everywhere.
On the water, there were hundreds of boats anchored and raft-tied together to cheer on their favourite pros. The Competition Park featured a floating stage where DJs, including an impromptu session by Parks Bonifay, spun records, and where punk band Sector 7 performed. This was also where the Miss Wakestock Bikini Contest, a much anticipated annual Wakestock highlight, took place, right across from the Coors Light Beer Garden. The bikini contest winner as voted by the panel of sports and entertainment celebrity judges goes on to compete in the Miss Bikini Canada pageant. Other highlights included the Malibu Boat display, featuring the official tow boat of Wakestock and a presentation of the first new 2002 Malibu models in Canada; the Nintendo Video
Gaming station; and free giveaways from Schick Extreme Razor, Canada Pure Water and Jelly Belly.
The Wakestock party schedule featured four consecutive nights at the Bala Bay Inn, the official Wakestock hotel headquarters, two consecutive nights at the Kee To Bala, featuring Treble Charger in concert, and the Travoltas Saturday night party, as well as the Malibu Boats "Meet The Pros" reception at Sun & Ski.
In addition to presenting sponsors Coors Light and Malibu Boats / Sun & Ski, Wakestock was sponsored by Billabong Clothing, Neil Pryde Wetsuits, and SBC Wakeboard Magazine. And supported by Nintendo, Bala Bay Inn, Pizza Nova, SBC Skateboard Magazine, G & G Electronics, Cango Fuels, Kee To Bala, Arnette Eyewear, Spy Eyewear, Fleshgear, Moose Radio, The Muskoka Sun, Rock 95, Energy 93.1, Cobian Sandals, Aquajet/Yamaha, Canada Pure Water, Schick, and Jelly Belly. Industry Sponsors included: O’Brien, Hyperlite, Liquid Force, Double-Up, CWB, Blindside, Ichor, Bloc Eyewear, Pro Rider Eyewear, and Bolle Eyewear.
Wakestock is owned and produced by SBC Events Inc, in conjunction with SBC Media Inc., Canada’s leading sports lifestyle magazine publisher, including: Snowboard Canada, SBC Skateboard, SBC Wakeboard, SBC Skier, Windsport, SBC Kiteboard, and SBC Sports Business magazines. "Wakestock™" and "Wakestock World Cup Festival™" are trademarks of SBC Media Inc. in Canada, the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
For more information and complete story and results of Wakestock 2001 surf to: www.wakestock.com or www.sbcwakeboard.com. Or contact SBC Media: 416-406-2400 (Tanya@ext 244 or Amanda@ext 224).