Jul 14, 2012
Author: Press Release
Approximately 25,000 amazed spectators lined the Garrison Channel at the Tampa Convention Center, turning the downtown community into an amphitheater fit for 40 of the world’s top wakeboarders. The three-day event hosted riders from eight different countries and showcased talent in Boat, Big Air, and Park. The camaraderie of the competitors only brought out the best in flips, tricks, and jam-packed action. In the end, a podium of riders would round off the world’s best in wake. Winners Harley Clifford (Boat) and Raphael Derome (Big Air and Park) took home top prizes and bragging rights, with Raphael Derome of Canada sweeping the competition by claiming the overall title.
The riders weren’t the only ones creating a wake out on the water. Technology was key in the Big Air and Park portions of the competition. The new Sesitec System 2.0 lead the athletes through the course, launching riders fifty feet into the air off the kickers, which wowed audiences both in-person and live on NBC’s Red Bull Signature Series. In true wakeboarding fashion, Malibu boats pulled the top athletes through timed runs and overall performance, held at Sun West in Hudson, Florida.
The contagious applause of the audience spoke for itself. Red Bull Wake Open’s innovative format of competition pushed the pros to their limits and provided a platform in advancing the sport as a whole. Among the three days and three disciplines, it was Raphael Derome’s overall elite style of riding that won over the judges.
“It was a lot of pressure and there was no room for mistake, so I went all out. I knew I needed doubles to win and I went for them. I’m super stoked I won,” said overall champion Raphael Derome. Red Bull Wake Open is all about wakeboarding as a sport that encompasses all three disciplines. And when it comes to competition, each rider brings something different to the water, being an expert at one field of the sport over the other.
“I’ve always been trying to ride all three events; boat, cable and rails,” stated winner Raphael Derome. “I love all three aspects, and to ride a contest that is actually rewarding that kind of riding is a really big opportunity for me.”
The number of fans in attendance at the Tampa Convention Center and surrounding areas created an economic splash in the hosting community. As well, 17 local artists had the chance to shine in the Wake Art Project, using wakeboards as their canvas and following the theme, “what gives you wiiings?” The winning Wake Art boards were presented to the top riders as commemorative trophies of their time at Red Bull Wake Open in Tampa.
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