Words: Sean Reavis | Photos: Sean Reavis & Danny Braught
2016 World Wake Surf Championship (WWSC); another great event brought to you by GM Marine and Centurion Boats. Throughout 2016, Boardersmag.com was able to follow the manmade waves across the United States for the World Series of Wake Surfing with the finale in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. It was definitely worth the journey and adventure! We were fortunate to capture the growth of individuals all aiming for their invitation to this grand event. Previously the WWSC was held in places like Las Vegas, Nevada and Parker, Arizona, so we were anxious to see how this Southern Florida venue would hold up against previous locations. 2016 was all about progression and change in many areas. New & old athletes trained their hearts out in each divisions to make their way up the rankings, and new boats creating bigger and better waves. This combination of greatness pushed the envelope of tricks as well. No longer was it about doing one trick, rather it was about combinations of tricks with clean lines and endless intensity (which had us feeling like we were watching a Tony Hawk video game). Seventeen new World champions were crowned and an amazing 31 personal bests behind the 2017 Centurion Boats Ri237!
The venue was perfect for any wake surf competition; yet seemed very different than past venues for a championship. We heard lots of varied opinions about location, but most were about how it felt like another great competition versus the Super Bowl of wake surfing. Personally – I liked it, because of the change of pace; and believe that a new part of the United States should host the event each year, much like the Super Bowl. I also believe that the location should be announced before the season starts and all the logistics well planned to avoid any dissenting opinions; though those opinions are always available. Another thing that was was different about the event was the prize purse total – for whatever reason, it went down instead of increasing. In the future, as competition gets more fierce, the WWSC will want to go back to being the ultimate award for the best of the best, and will continue to attract those competitors from around the world.
All in all, we saw the Ri237 provide a mean and adjustable wave to accommodate the riders as they went bigger than they had all year. The brand new Ri257 was on display all weekend to entice the shore audience. Centurion brought out team rider Grant Korgan for a beautiful sunset demo on it's very impressive wave. Bad weather thankfully held as the giant thunderstorms seemed to stay to our West; actually providing shade from the hot sun that could have burnt us for three days. The athletes really performed their hearts out and aside from the reigning queen of surf style, Ashley Kidd, most of the podiums had new kings or queen to crown. We saw winning combinations from the first place finishers that really inspired us all to push harder on these waves.
It was a great time on and off the water! Most attendees were staying within a block of each other and the beach, we all enjoyed each other's company and reminisce about the year spent with this great family of wake surfers. No matter the venue and no matter the awarded prize – I'm certainly excited to see all the competition in 2017. I do hope for the improvements in announcement of location so planning can be done months in advance, and for the sake of these champions that exert lots of blood sweat and tears – I hope that the Sponsors find a way to make next year the biggest purse seen thus far. To the entire wake surf community – we implore you to strive to progress and keep finding ways to make it to these events, even if as just a spectator...It is worth the journey and destination. See you all soon!
Recap video from Day 1 a the 2016 World Wake Surf Championship