One week from today I’m covering the 2011 Nautique Wake Games, “the largest wakeboard teamed event in the world” at the Orlando Watersports Complex.
From wakeboardingmag.com: “The Nautique Wake Games attracts such large and diverse group of competitors due to the event’s uniqueness, as it’s is the only wakeboarding contest where professional and amateur riders compete together in teams to affect an overall outcome.”
It’s been a few years since I first attended the event in 2008 when I was shooting photos for fun. I captured some of the top pros in the sport, which I did not even know at the time. See, it’s always a trip showing up at a wakeboard competition as a moto-journalist. Sure, it seems just like a motocross race, with large banners and fans everywhere holding bags of posters and cold beers. But, for me, there’s another challenge. I can not recognize anyone or tell who is important, no matter how long I memorize their mugshots beforehand. Wakeboarders wear sunglasses, hats and other disguises, so I take pictures of everyone. This year, the four-day event features qualifying rounds for the first two days and the 10 team captains are: Phillip Soven, Harley Clifford, Bob Soven, Danny Harf, Rusty Malinoski, Austin Hair, Josh Palma, JD Webb, Olivier Derome and Trevor Hansen. So, at least I know who I’m looking forward to seeing.