South African PWT Stop 1:
Emerald Casino Resort, Vaal River
Over the weekend of the 3rd-5th of February 2012, the Emerald Casino Resort, situated on the lush banks of the picturesque Vaal River, hosted the first South African Pro Wakeboard Tour stop of the 2012 season.
The Friday saw several of South Africa’s finest wakeboarders pitch up for registration. All of the riders showed great enthusiasm on registration day and they couldn’t wait to get on the water and start shredding it!
The official tow boat for the competition was none other than the Malibu Wakesetter MXZ, supplied by Boating International – a good preview for the upcoming E&A (European and African) Wakeboard Championships to be held here on the 15-19th of February 2012. The general consensus from the riders was that the Wakesetter MXZ delivered big, clean and consistent wake – exactly what was required for an event like this.
The Saturday introduced a brand-new format on the PWT. The only division allowed to compete on this day was the Pro Men, Junior Men, Ladies and Wakeskate, riding qualifying heats in the morning and finals in the evening, making it a bit more action-packed for the spectators and adding better structure to the tour.
The wakeskaters were up first in qualifying rounds, and the stakes were high – each competing for a seat in the finals. The conditions were sublime. Glassy waters allowed four wakeskaters to seed through to the finals with the rest battling it out in the LCQ (Last Chance Qualifiers) later that day.
The Junior Men’s division showed some real promise, with most of the passes including at least one invert and a host of flowing wake tricks. Again, four riders advanced straight to the finals, with the rest doing LCQs.
The Pro Men division was up next with two international riders taking part. Massimiliano Piffaretti (Italy) and Paul Johnson (Ireland) made for some hot competition on the water. The heats were well attended with Clayton Krause, Shaun Faccio, Massimiliano Piffaretti and Dylan Mitchell seeding to the finals, while Paul Johnson and Devon Nassif made it through the LCQs, gaining their ticket to the finals. The Wakeskate finals were closely contested with the likes of Caleb Louw, Craig Eygenberger, Dale Nieuwstad, Dylan Mitchell, Bryan Loggenberg and Matty Buys all making the finals. Bryan Loggenberg showed off his skills by sticking both Heelside and Toeside wake-to-wake Frontside 180s, but unfortunately, going down on a Backside wake-to-wake 180, earning him a third place podium finish. Dylan Mitchell managed to secure a second place finish after Matty Buys managed to stick two wake-to-wake 180s, a 3-Shuv, a Kickflip and a Frontside Big Spin. Matt didn’t hold back, stomping a huge switched 360 in his pass, a switched Kickflip, switched and regular Big Spins and a Backside Big Spin to secure himself an overall first place in the Open Wakeskate division. Junior Men saw a final of six battle it out with an array of inverts. Leighten Barnard took first place with some huge tricks and an overall clean execution. Kai Brockman came away with a second place after a pass which showed good intensity, but then he ended up going down on a Tantrum. Shane Webster claimed third to round up the podium for Junior Men. The Ladies division saw Mary-Ann Pepler take third place with a solid pass that upped the ante with a score of 32. Bryanna Motepe managed to up that, sticking a wake-to-wake 180 in her pass to achieve a final score of 40! Courtney Scholtz from Port Elizabeth took top honours with a final score of 41 – a run which included a Toeside 180 and some steezy grabs. Courtney also managed to claim the Chad Award for the weekend – a prestigious award given to the rider who bailed the hardest!
The Pro Men division was a real humdinger with each participant landing at least two or three Mobes in their pass. Shaun Faccio secured a 3rd place position with some high-intensity Mobes, such as a Front Mobe, Pete Rose and a Whirly Bird. Dylan Mitchell managed to claim another 2nd place for the day, sticking to a variety of Mobes, which included a KGB, Moby Dick and Crowmobe, as well as a Big Worm. Dylan went down on a Heelside 720 and a Toeside 900, allowing the young international Massi Piffaretti to claim the top spot with a flawless run that included two 720s, a tail-grabbed Whirly Bird, KGB and a Front Mobe.
The Sunday saw the Masters, Open Men, Novice and Trolls battling it out. The Masters showed that they can still rip it! Jono Joseph claimed top spot with a run that included a Whirly Bird and 540. Second place went to Justin Selby with a score of 45 and a run that scored high in overall intensity, but didn’t quite live up to Jono’s composition. Taking third was Darryn Ridgeway who managed a clean, decent pass. Cameron Graham took third place in the Open Men’s division with a clean pass that perhaps lacked a little in the technical department. Craig Eygenberger and Brenden Tucker took 2nd and 3rd place respectively. Craig’s execution and intensity saw him to a final score of 50. Brenden Tucker scored well for intensity, composition and execution, landing a flawless S-Bend, and finishing 3rd place. Byron Brett ended up 3rd in the Novice division, with Eland Bands taking 2nd and Travis Pienaar first place. The first ever Trolls division was opened to accommodate four groms, which is awesome for the sport. Olivia Van Rooyen took first, with sibling duo Wesely Paniano and Tanika Paniano taking second and third respectively.
A big shout out to all the sponsors who helped put this event together: Monster Energy for fueling the event, Emerald Casino and Resort, Boating International for supplying the Malibu MXZ and Amped Distributors. For more information, visit www.wakesa.com