Published in Wake Magazine
Volume 17: Issue 3
Wakeskate Winter Wonderland
By Emma Makepeace
After last years miserable winter conditions, Bli Bli stepped it up a notch, providing blue skies and warmer winter weather for the fifth annual Wakeskate Winter Wonderland. Over 20 wakeskaters set up tent city in the back paddock of Go Wake Cable Park on the last Friday of winter, keen to skate the weekend away.
Wonderland, organised by Greg Dillon and wakeskate.com.au this year, ran a slightly more relaxed format. Casual competitions, new sponsors, boat sets, tightrope walking, all took place along side the old favourites of Wonderland – Go Ride, fishing, skate park sessions, and nights around the fire.
Go Ride sessions started straight up, while those who arrived throughout the afternoon jumped on the cable for a shred. The Gold Coast skaters set up an impromptu game on the cable inclines, calling a trick and everyone attempting to land it.
Early afternoon and the wind picked up with the possibility of a storm. Wakeskating was abandoned for more sociable activities and drinking games.
The skate park next door provided heaps of entertainment with some great stacks and tricks getting thrown down. Jai Corthals coping some big hits while coming unstuck on the flat box ledge and Blair Smith cutting up his feet skating barefoot, yet still managing to grind the flat box.
The Friday afternoon games continued with Greg and Rod (Sydney) whipping up a snatch strap tight rope and the competition was on to see who could walk/balance the furthest. By the end of countless rounds and attempts, Matt Edwards, Tim Franco and Dean Butt came out on top, almost making it to the end. No one could beat Rod though who could walk, balance, hop and dance along to the disbelief and some-what amazement of everyone watching.
The shenanigans continued into the night, as the temperature dropped and we were reminded that it was, still in fact winter. Cam Prest had a Teppanyaki show going on while cooking on the fire. And the night finished with Mayce Dipple and Michael Anderson playing guitar and taking song requests to songs no one knew all of the words too.
Saturday morning bright and early, and the skies had cleared, but the cold winter winds had not. Go Wake operator, Sean Pyers had the cable up and running by 8am for a two-hour private set for the wakeskaters. The incline trick comp started up again, as well as Jarryd Loxton taking on the big kicker, Leigh Rowlands committed to the flat bar, and everyone had a play on the out lake flat box.
But the highlight of the day was definitely getting out on the South Maroochy River on the Nautique Sport 200. Ben Kirby from Nautique Central, with the helpful local knowledge of Blair Smith, found a decent section of river protected from the wind, to show just what the boat could do. Tinnie sets took place alongside boat sets and the very sight of the Nautique was enough to pump everyone up to shred the afternoon away.
Normally tinnie skaters, Matt Edwards, Steve Nuttall, and Steve Millard didn’t shy away from the wake, going big and having some gnarly stacks. At the end of the boat sets Cam Prest took out third place with a few clean frontside ones and just skidding out on the landing of a switch front 3. Jarryd Loxton steezed it up with a few boned Ollie’s, frontside 180-nose grab, and wake-to-wake tail grab, to come in second place. Tim Franco let loose, making a massive toeside wake-to-wake shuv and getting very close to nailing a wake-to-wake 3 shuv, to take out first place, and win a Byerly Heritage Wakeskate.
At the end of an awesome day out on the river, it was time to pack up the boat and settle in for an afternoon of drinks on the deck at Go Wake. Entertainment provided by Matt Edwards and Steve Nuttall, as they had a practice game of SK8 in preparation for the big event on Sunday. Edwards stacked it on a set trick, handing over the lead to Nuttall, who used it to his advantage and took out the game.
Sunday morning and the wind had dropped off slightly over night. Names were drawn from a hat and match ups for the first round of SK8 decided. Leigh Rowlands and Peter Chell were one of the first pairs to ride, with Chell progressing to the next round after throwing in a few toeside and switch tricks. The tricks got harder and the games took longer as the finals approached. Matt Edwards and Blair Smith ended up in third place. With the final coming down to Steve Nuttall and Mayce Dipple and a trick list that included a front 360, switch front 360 and kick flip as the first three set tricks. Other tricks busted out included frontside flip, backside big spin, and a 540 shuv, before Mayce finished the game winning on a varial kick flip, and handing Nuttall second spot.
Winter Wonderland wouldn’t be possible without the likes of Greg Dillon and wakeskate.com.au organising everything. Or without the sponsors: Go Wake Cable Park, Go Ride, Liquid Force, Obscura, Byerly, Central Nautique, Wake Magazine, Union Boarder Magazine, and the Wakeskate Magazine, putting up prizes, or donating services to give wakeskaters, new and old to the sport, the chance to try different styles of riding and learn new tricks from one another.
A few more laps on cable, and Blair destroying the rail, with a nose blunt and front tail, on the Go Ride, before it was time to pack up and start the trip home to recover from another awesome Wakeskate Winter Wonderland.