Lots has happened since my last update on the way home from Brazil.
The weekend that I got back was the Mason Waddle Freeride in Pismo. Thanks to the generous donations from many companies in the watercraft industry, the generous contributions from the riders in attendance, and the hard work of Derek Gleeson, and Pamela Beazely; the ride raised over $1000 for Mason's educational trust. I also got a huge surprise that weekend when Pamela and EJ gave me a cake to commemorate the world title, and a card that was signed by everyone there! We truly belong to an amazing community! This event deserves more detail, but I am sitting in an airport in Lyon, France and have lots to catch up on in a little time.
The next event on the list was the Bayside Boogie, this was a very cool event put on in Mission Bay. Randy Laine was gracious enough to ask me to be involved, and although it was a flat water show...I would do anything I could for Randy! However, it did take about a week of practice in the bay to brush up on my flat water skills (and I use the term skills very loosely.) The show went really well because the guys that were hired to do water safety were not only local lifeguards, but friends of RL's as well. So instead of having to put on a flat water show, we got to play behind the boat wake. It is not surf, but sure as hell helps me out!
The very next day I packed up the box van with a bunch of skis and headed to Lake Havasu, AZ for IJSBA “World Finals.” This event is the epicenter of racing and flat water freestyle. And as such has been a big industry trade show for the past couple of decades. In years past, Havasu basically consisted of me and my freeride buddies getting drunk, making fun of freestyle, then drinking some more. This event always comes at the end of our season, there are lots of friends there, and it is generally a good time to let off a little steam while the rest of the PWC world is stressed out over their one big event a year. But this year things are a little different. I was there with a purpose. The IJSBA was generous enough to donate a booth to help raise money for Mason Waddle, and I was going to do what I could to help make it a success. John Dady of Blowsion, (who set up the educational trust for Mason) had 20 huge posters made of Zach and Mason, the plaque that will be permanently place in Pacific City, Zach's ski, and my Championship winning ski in the booth. Every morning Chris Rossner (newest Blowsion team rider) and Mark Gomez were nice enough to set the booth up. I was there (often times with those guys, or Liz, or Jerry Jones...or whoever else was around) from Friday through Sunday doing what ever we could to get people to donate to Mason's fund. Whenever I had to take a break, Chris, Mark, Liz or Jerry were always willing to fill in. The end result of the three days at the booth was that we raised a little over $1400 for the trust. I would really like to say thank you so much to everyone who helped make the booth possible, and especially those who donated! If nothing else, Mason will grow up knowing that he had great parents who not only loved and cared about him tremendously, but that his parents were great people who were loved and missed by an entire community. And that same great group of people who miss his parents care deeply about him and his future.
World Finals was interesting this year for a few reasons. On the industry side of things, there is lots of change in the air. One of the most notable events is Steve Webster's new venture Kommander Industries. After founding the company three years ago with partner Erik Knoble, Steve has elected to get out of the business of selling watercraft to focus more on his passion of designing parts for, and building world championship winning watercraft. Kommander Industries will be unveiling lots of new parts over the next 12 months. And of course Steve is still building the baddest standups in the world. The Hydrospace killing SXR that Steve (the Kommander) Webster build for Steven Dalliach was good enough to earn the Pole in pro Ski, win the first heat, and tie for the overall officially placing second overall. Not too shabby for only having about two weeks prep time with Dalliach. But it is par for the course for the Kommander. He has built countless world championship winning skis, and will continue to long in to the future!
Then we come to Freestyle. Both Rick Roy and Eric Malone unveiled new hulls this year. Freestyle is certainly progressing! Both boats helped elevate the game to a tremendous new level this year. But both were also illegal according to the IJSBA rule book. I don't know what the end result was, but Rock run was in a league of his own...but he did not win. Suffice to say that these boats are helping take freestyle to a new level and I hope that the rules will be able to find some way to accommodate the new technology. Admittedly I don't' have a lot of interest in flat water freestyle, but I did ride both of the hulls, and I think Rick's hull will work quite well in the surf (actually rode it in the surf a week later.) The biggest surprise for me was riding Josh Lustic's Trinity hull with a Kawi motor prepared by Kommander Webster. That boat had noticeably more power than either Eric or Rick's polaris based motors. I think Rick's new hull is going to open some doors for us in the surf, I like the concept of the design as a whole. Weather or not I wind up riding one in the future, I think it will help elevate our side of the sport and the innovation is hull design is certainly welcome and needed if we are to progress.
From Havasu, I went to Kommander Industries world headquarters in Phoenix to rebuild my Go Fast boat. I took the motor and other parts to Brazil, and I figured it would be best to have the Kommader himself re-assemble the motor. Those of you who know me, know why this is a good idea!
Lustic was super nice in helping me put the boat back together after Steve re-did the motor, and I was off to spend a day at home before heading to Pismo for the JK Freeride Pismo Rager.
Joe's event went really well. The video that Daylite and the NWFreeride crew put together was great, and will be something that I know Joe will cherish for the rest of his life. Joe was on hand with his new wife, and was in really good spirits. It is great to see Joe happy again. The last time I saw him happy was probably at his contest two years prior. I feel bad that Joe and my friendship was a little strained over the planning of that event. It is not like we were on bad terms by any means...just had a little disagreement over a few things, and I felt I had to step away from the contest. And we never really had a chance to set things totally right before he was hurt... At any rate, the weekend was great, epic as far as pismo in October goes. Surf was on the small side, but clean, and we had sunny warm weather for the most part. I think this is the first time that I have ever been to Pismo when things went well for me. Boat ran great and since I had not been in the water all that much since Brazil, I took advantage of the good conditions and rode through 5 tanks of gas over the two days. Again Pamela Beazely was the driving force behind much of the weekend's events. She arranged awards for the “Rookies of the Year” which went to Chris Rozner and Mark Gomez. And arranged the raffle as well. We are really luck to have her and EJ in the sport, with his innovation of parts through BrapStrap and her hard work on events, good things are happening for the sport.
At the end of the day on Sunday I got a chance to ride Rick's new hull for a little bit. Clay Cullen was nice enough to let me ride his new boat even before all the bugs were worked out of it. Despite it not being jetted correctly, and the ski being set up a little different than how I would do it...the ski worked very well for me. I think there is a ton of potential in this hull for surf applications...
And I guess that about catches up on the past month more or less...I had one day of being home from Pismo before I began my trip to Hossegor. Right now I am on my third and final flight on my way to Biarritz from Lyon. I'm looking forward to a fun weekend. This will be my first Hossegor Air Festival, and it looks like we will have good surf. Hopefully we will be able to put on a good show!