30 years in the making, we all have our own set of memories, experiences, and lifelong bonds that make wakeboarding what it is today. In today’s wake culture, when one sees the name The World Wake Association or The WWA there is one prevailing person that comes to mind; Shannon Starling.
Circling back to the very beginning of the WWA’s 30-year legacy takes us back to 1989, to the Texas State Kneeboard Championships at the Austin Aquaplex where the longest standing world record in kneeboard history was set by none other than Shannon Starling himself. The #1 seed in the Open Men’s division, Starling set the slightly controversial record running 1 ¼ at 39 off, which he held for about fifteen years.
Simultaneously, Jimmy Redmon alongside some of our industry’s greatest trail-blazers finagled a skiboarding competition to take place on the back lake of the Aquaplex that same weekend in Austin, Texas.
At this point in time, Jimmy Redmon had made a pretty strong impact on the world of watersports. He was pushing Redline Design’s skiboards along with SANO traction pads and had a laundry of list of the top kneeboarders riding for the brand, Shannon Starling being one of them. Redmon, the pioneer behind the skiboard, was on a mission to bring to skiboarding into a competitive light. Alongside Redmon was Shannon Starling with equal determination and fire-burning in his spirit as the two brought about the very first open skiboard competition under what we know today to be The WWA.
Under the watch of a few margaritas, Redmon and Starling gathered a few competitors and developed the one-page rulebook the night before at one of Austin’s local favorites, El Mercado. The riders were allowed to ride whatever board they had, if anyone died, they automatically won, pulled by the MasterCraft Prostar 190 ski boat. Keep in mind the boat had no extra weight, no tower, nothing.
Riding his SANO board with three 5 ½ inch fins on a directional board with toe straps, Starling stole the show with fin releases and a textbook backscratcher. It was the biggest move by far, coming away with the win against the three other competitors. Chris Powell came up in second, followed by Greg Lawrence, and John Redmon (Jimmy’s brother and partner in SANO) brought up the pack in fourth. The cheers and reactions followed suit that day as they witnessed one of the coolest on water experiences they had ever seen.
This specific set of events back in the summer of 1989 set the initial mold for a sport that rapidly transpired into a worldwide phenomenon and one that has continued to evolve into what it is today. Stay tuned for the full 30-year history of The WWA coming out soon to WWA RIDELINE! #WWA30Years
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