Auburndale, FL (July 14, 2021) – This past weekend the Malibu Rider Experience series traveled into the mecca of wake sports to host the fourth stop of the 2021 event series in Okalawaha, FL, just north of Orlando. Wake enthusiasts arrived at Carney Island Recreation and Conservation Area for two days of fun-filled action on the calm waters of Lake Weir. “Shreddin’ Saturdays” kicked off the weekend with riders and families testing out the brand new line of Malibu and Axis Boats, provided by Transition Watersports who helped to host the amazing event. With expert instruction from Malibu and Axis Team riders – Tarah Mikacich, Bec Gange, Brian Grubb, and Chad Sharpe – all the participants were guaranteed to improve their skills on the water! With more registrations than any other Rider Experience event this season, it was non-stop action out on the water all weekend long. But off the water there was still plenty for riders to experience! Attendees practiced their balancing skills with the help of Lakesurf Balance Boards while getting rewarded with pieces of candy for learning new balance board maneuvers. Transition Watersports also had a booth set-up to display a small portion of their full-size pro-shop, and The Wakeboarding Hall of Fame handed out informational pamphlets about their efforts in honoring and preserving the history of wake sports.
Sunday morning brought out more competitors than any other 2021 event. Nearly reaching the triple digits, more than 90 pulls of wakeboarding and wakesurfing kept the Malibu 23 LSV running all day long for the Regional Championships South. “We always expect to have a great turnout in the South region,” said WWA Executive Director Corrie Wilson. “But this event blew those expectations out of the water! We couldn’t be happier to see so many participants out on the water, whether it was their first event or fifth!” With perfectly calm water all day long, the conditions were picturesque for a full day of competing. Starting the day with Jr. Pro Semifinals, 16 of the most promising young riders took to the water to battle it out and see who would make it into the Finals in each of their divisions. For the Jr. Pro Women, Emily Kazmer, Payton Gross, Kitt Smith, and series leader Kira Lewis would edge out the other four women to make it into the finals. Ultimately, Kira Lewis would once again prove that she cannot be beaten this season as she secured another win with impressive tricks like her wrapped KGB and her cab 540. Alex Albin, Jaden Reichl, Parker Swope, and Jamie Huser all made it clear to the rest of the field that they had earned their spots in the Jr. Pro Men finale. In similar fashion, series leader Jamie Huser would add another win to his resume’ as he perfectly executed three mobe 540 variations (whirlybird 540, KGB 540, and DumDum 540) as well as three different 720s to clinch his place on top of the podium.
Although the Jr. Pro divisions bring a lot of excitement, it was several of the amateur divisions that held special significance for many of the first-time competitors and their families. Twin 9 year old girls, Marguerite and Eloise Bailie entered their very first contest ever and rode in both wakeboarding and wakesurfing after traveling all the way from Houston, Texas. Also competing for her first time was Rachel Edwards who won the Amateur Women’s Wakeboard division, as well as Maya Reugsegger who competed in the Open Women’s Wakesurf division. Another notable moment during the day was when David Williams took his youngest daughter, seven year old Violet Williams, out to compete with him during his “Surfin’ Dads” run. Carrying her on his shoulders and then laying down on the board together provided the crowd with some applause-worthy moments. A performance not to be missed was the always inspirational Scott Leason who once again competed in the Adaptive Standing division. Scott – a blind wakeboarder – is always a fan favorite as he performs wake jumps and multiple 180 variations. His service dog, Snickers, joined him on the podium and made for a memorable moment that everyone in attendance enjoyed.
As the series nears its end, the Malibu Rider Experience heads to the fifth and final stop later this month at the Regional Championships East on July 23-25, partnering alongside TNT Watersports and joining them at the 2021 TN WakeFest. We look forward to seeing the top riders from each of the regions join riders from the East region come together for an epic finale to the 2021 season!