Toronto, ON – The 2012 Ontario Wake Awards were presented in front of a packed house at Red Bull’s 381 Projects on Friday, May 11. Everyone from riders to parents, shop owners to marina representatives were in attendance, and dressed to impress.
The awards, selected by the Ontario Wakeboard Committee, grew this year with the addition of two new categories: Video of the Year and Cable Rider of the Year. More than 45 riders were nominated across 10 categories, and all were hoping to get their hands on one of the custom, four-finger brass rings crafted by JBR Designs. Award winners were selected based on three criteria: contest results, media coverage and leadership in sport.
Emcee (and all-round sharp dresser) Jono Boysen
For the second year in a row, Robbie McMillin was crowned Ontario's Wakeboarder of the Year. McMillin’s season included a 5th place finish in Junior Pro Men at the Wake Games and a shared title as the Overall Men’s Champion of the Roots Wake Series. He was recognized with an interview in SBC Wakeboard Magazine, and dropped multiple web edits throughout the year. Robbie also coached a group of young riders, worked at Muskoka Wakeboarding and volunteered as a judge throughout the Roots Series.
2011 Provincial Wakeskate Champion Addison Farr was named Wakeskater of the Year. Addison is a silent leader within the Ontario wakeskate community. He volunteered his time at events, built rails and organized the Bungle in the Jungle – Ontario's first wakeskate-only contest. Leslie Sparkes took home the Female Rider of the Year award after her 2011 Roots Wake Series Championship, while Sean Fleming was crowned as Ontario’s newest Legend, and Drew Austin was named Cable Rider of the Year.
Vince Whiteman took home the Video of the Year ring for his edit of wakeskater Braden Ioi, but it was Vince's heartfelt “Thank You” video that truly stole the show. “Hearing all of the volunteers speak so passionately about the sports we all love, and then seeing a large portion of the community thank us for our efforts in their own individual ways was totally unexpected,” said Wake Canada Chairman Sean Fleming. “It became a very emotional moment for me, and all the other people that volunteer for wakeboarding and wakeskating in Ontario.”
The most important award of the night, the Industry Influence Award, went to Jeff Barnes. This award recognizes individuals and organizations that have spearheaded the growth of wake sports within Ontario. Barnes helped found Ontario’s original grassroots X-Cup Series, which paved the way for riders like Kyle Rattray, Sunni Anne Ball, Erika Langman and Robbie McMillin. He was also instrumental in getting wakeboarding recognized as a separate entity within the watersports community under Sport Canada.
Once the last of the hardware was handed out, the official after party took over, and suit jackets and high heels were ditched as everyone packed the dance floor to celebrate another successful edition of the Ontario Wake Awards. With all proceeds going to assist sport development and The Roots Wake Series, it was truly humbling to see the support from all the sponsors and everyone in attendance.
Entries for Photo of the Year
Supporting brands that made this amazing night happen: Red Bull, Molson Coors, Tag Vodka, Holland Marsh Winery, Jones Soda, Popchips, SBC Wakeboard, Accurate, Algonquin Outfitters, Art School Skateboards, Crow’s Nest Barbershop, The Bayou, Billabong, Boarder Pass, Boardsports, Buckeye Marine, Byerly, Capix, Dakine, Dunklevolk, Domino’s, Endless Surf, Fox, Hurley, Hyperlite, I/S Eyewear, JBR Design, Jetpilot, Liquid Force, CWB, Malibu, Mastercraft, Metab, Muskoka Woods, Nautique, New Era, O’Neill, Pride Marine Group, Quiksilver, The Ranch Wake Park, Ripcurl, Ronix, Rusty, Sharpley Source for Sports, Somewon Collective, Spy, Summerski, Teva, Voleurz, Xcel, Ontario Wake Committee, Dave Tsuyuki, Sean Fleming, Erika Langman, Jono Boysen, Jay Poole, Leslie Sparkes, Shavonne Hasfel-Macintosh, Ally Boothroyd, Jason Petznick, G&G Electronics, The Wake Institute, Canadian Wakeboard Championships, prints from Brennan Grange, Alija Bos, Dave Sandford, Ally Boothroyd, Andy Campbell, Patrick Donnelly, video by Andrew Curr Films, Vince Whiteman, Adam Cruickshanks, artwork by Dan Hughes, Raph Derome and the team at Red Bull 381 Projects.
Rookie Wakeskater of the Year: Braden Ioi Also nominated: Austin Farr, Adam Fairbrass, Aaron Turke, Colt Pickles and Brad Grant
Rookie Wakeboarder of the Year: Harrison Carter Also nominated: Brayden Beswick, Sebastien Santacroce, Brendan McDougall and Will Morris
The Legend Award: Sean Fleming Also nominated: Ryan Doyle, Joel Adair, Neil Brown, Tiffany Tsuyuki, Scott Duke and Mike Donald
Cable Rider of the Year: Drew Austin Also nominated: Johnny Bonney, Craig Cunningham, Braden Ioi, Christian Primrose and Mickey Henry
Female Rider of the Year: Leslie Sparkes Also nominated: Emily Tenwesteneind, Amanda Newhouse, Ally Boothroyd, Jenn Evans, Susie Mallory
Wakeskater of the Year: Addison Farr Also nominated: Tommy Bailey, Brady Hicks, Scott Boysen, Jordan Sullivan and Laurie Leblanc
Wakeboarder of the Year: Robbie McMillin (absent, not pictured) Also nominated: Jordan Long, Christian Primrose, Gavin Hicks, Chris Sinkic and Andy Milovanovic
Industry Influence Award: Jeff Barnes
2012 Photo of the Year: Brennan Grange (Rider: Dary Znebel)
2012 Video of the Year: Vince Whiteman (Rider: Braden Ioi)
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