Thursday, August 6, 2009

Team Liquid Force Wins Malibu Pro Team Challenge

The 3rd Annual Pro Team Challenge wakeboard competition presented by Monster Energy Drink and Malibu Boats took place Sunday, August 3rd at the Bow Lake Watersports Complex just North of Seattle, Washington. The site was beautiful and the weather was epic as two of the sport's premiere teams got set to battle head-to-head for a chance to take home the Malibu Cup Trophy and bragging rights as the best team in wakeboarding for the next 12 months. Team Liquid Force reigned supreme!

Check out the Malibu Pro Team Challenge photo gallery on

New to the competition this year was the addition of wakeskating to the line-up. Also, the wakeboarding discipline was revised from a traditional contest pass to a more rider friendly freeride format. The rail jam discipline featured three obstacles; a 60-foot A-Frame, an 80-foot rooftop rail and the 50-foot Monster Energy C-Rail.

The event featured two-time defending champions Team Hyperlite led by the Bone Crusher, Rusty Malinoski. Rusty was joined by teammates Jimmy LaRiche and Jacob Valdez on wakeboard and Team Malibu's Brian Grubb holding things down on wakeskate. They were gunning for the 3-peat and they rode hard to defend their title against the challengers on Team Liquid Force. Team Malibu's Kevin Henshaw was the Team Captain for LF and he was joined by the always-animated Bob Soven and the face of wakeboarding in the Pacific Northwest - Mike Ennen. James Balzer was their wakeskater as they set their sights on de-throning the Champs.

The event kicked-off at around 11am with the wakeskate competition and Balzer was the first competitor to hit the water. Each rider would get two five-minute runs and would be judged on their best of the two. The conditions were perfect and the crowd was ready to see some pro-level skating. Balzer did not disappoint with a smooth run that included a clean wake-to-wake H/S Backside 180, T/S Backside 180 and several Indy shuv-its. Next up was Team Hyperlite's Brian Grubb, who Rides for Malibu Boats, the winningest skater in the history of the sport and always a threat to take down any competition he enters. Grubb was in his element behind the Malibu wakeboard boat that pulled the competition.

After the wakeskate competition, Malibu Boats pro team rider Chad Sharpe, who was driving the event, strapped on his board to ride for the crowd as we dialed in the tournament boat for the wake competition. Next up was the wakeboard freeride session and all of the riders were amped to show the enthusiastic Northwest crowd their best stuff. With each rider getting a five-minute run and no-limit or point deductions on falls, there was no holding back. The format gave each rider an opportunity to reach deep into their bag of tricks and try things normally not pulled out in a regular contest run. Bob Soven was the first rider to hit the lake and he opened his run with a HUGE one-handed Raley while pointing directly at the crowd…the crowd loved it!

Read more about the Malibu Pro Team Challenge Recap on

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