TAMPA, Fla. - Approximately 30,000 spectators lined the Garrison Channel at the Tampa Convention Center and many more tuned in live to the Red Bull Signature Series on NBC to watch 35 of the world's top wakeboarders compete in the second annual Red Bull Wake Open. The three-day event showcased talent from nine countries in boat, big air and park.
"I just took it one at a time, and tried to do my best in each event," said 2013 Red Bull Wake Open overall winner Aaron Rathy.
The camaraderie of the competitors 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 Raphael Derome (boat), Bob Soven (big air) and Raphael Derome (park) took home top prizes and bragging rights, with Aaron Rathy sweeping the competition by claiming the overall title. Derome and JD Webb earned second and third place overall, respectively.
"Red Bull Wake Open definitely stepped up the obstacles since last year," said 2013 Red Bull Wake Open judge Brian Grubb. "The big air ramp-to-ramp feature has never been done in America before. It's kind of a new thing that guys are just starting to hit so having that feature as the center of big air was really cool."
In true wakeboarding fashion, Malibu boats pulled athletes through timed runs and overall performance on day one of the competition. The boat category of the competition was held at SunWest in Hudson, Fla., near Tampa.
The big air day was just as exhilarating as day one, with the inclusion of the first ramp-to-ramp feature ever to be seen in U.S. competition. The Sesitec System 2.0 cable system pulled the athletes through the course, launching riders up to 50 feet through the air off the kickers.
Day three rounded out the competition with the park segment and the crowning of the winners and the overall champion of the 2013 Red Bull Wake Open, Aaron Rathy. Red Bull Wake Open's innovative format of competition pushed the world's best wake pros to their limits and provided a platform, yet again, to advance the sport as a whole.
See www.redbull.com/wakeopen for event information and www.redbullsignatureseries.com for highlights from Red Bull Wake Open. Share your favorite moments on Twitter using the hashtag #WakeOpen and @RedBullTPA.
Release courtesy of Trifecta Team and Red Bull.
View Sports Commission photos of the event here.