Ticket 2 Ride at Stoke City Park was the place to be on Saturday, November 2 and if you weren’t there, well let’s just say you missed one heck of a day and you’d do well to make sure you attend next year’s event.
It was a scorcher of a day and people were rolling into the Park to be a part of one of the biggest Wakeboarding events Johannesburg have seen and, needless to say, no one left disappointed! Amped Distributors had some of the country’s top riders there with the likes of Craig Eygenberger, Devon Nassif, Justin Mitri, Ryan Durham and Jacques Labuschagne. The homegrown talent were up against some of the best in the world with names such as Robin Leonard from Denmark who rides for Liquid Force, Shawn Watson and Kevin Henshaw from the US who are international Liquid Force team riders and Jimmy LaRiche from the US who is the Hyperlite International team rider.
The contest was based on three wheels that got spun by the judges to agree on the trick that the riders had to land in each heat in order to qualify and go through to the next round until finals. Each rider only had two attempts per trick and if they didn’t land it that was the end of their riding. The first wheel was set for a Frontside or Backside trick, the second one was set for the rotation so either a 180, 360, 540, 720, 900, etc, and the third wheel was to determine with which foot forward the rider will approach the trick. This already started to complicate things for the riders, but to make it worse the judges said they would add extra points for each grab that got added to tricks, as well as for extra height and style. These guys were on the water for two hours competing for that top spot, wowing spectators with some exceptionally stylish riding off the kicker.
If there were one rider that shocked the crowd it was Cape Town local Craig Eygenberger, stunning everyone with a clean Backside 720 that secured his spot in the finals – he also bagged a Toeside 360 and even though this was a jaw dropper for the crowd, it left him in 4th place. Robin Leonard managed to land his 720 and this secured his 3rd place for him. This left Shawn Watson and Jimmy LaRiche to go big or go home and, being two of the best in the world, they opted for the former. Shawn Watson managed to get some great grabs in with his spins but it wasn’t enough to kick Jimmy LaRiche out of the top spot with multiple grabs, off axis spins!
After some action on the water the spectators moved from the water to the bike track and went to watch the FMX riders flipping out in the dirt with one of the best, Alastair Sayer, throwing flips and really showing everyone why he is world class.
Red Bull made sure the crowd stayed on their feet with some great tunes and some awesome DJ’s, proving once again that they are always a great sponsor to have at an event like this. Massive thanks must also go to everyone else that pulled Ticket 2 Ride together, including Amped Distributors and Stoke City Wake Park.
We can’t wait to see what will come next but one thing is certain, you’ll be silly to miss out on next year’s event. If it turns out to be anything like Ticket 2 Ride 2013, it’ll be the wakeboarding event of the year!