Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Words & Photos: Kevco
Kicking off the inaugural event of the four-stop Malibu Rider Experience tour, wakeboarders of all levels descended into Freedom Wake Park, in Orlando, Florida on May 10-12 for three days of high-end riding and education.
With a mission to teach individuals and help grow the sport on all levels, The World Wakeboard Association stepped up big time, as the producer and sanctioning body of the Rider Experience. The agenda was laid back, yet productive in a fun environment. And the newly opened Freedom Wake Park delivered great conditions and proved itself as one of the best new venues in the world for wakeboarding.
“Freeride Friday” set the tone for the Rider Experience as 30 riders took turns in groups shredding behind the Malibu WAKESETTER 22 MXZ, which is also the official towboat of the Red Bull Wake Open. Glassy water and good vibes led to a day of shredding that was fun to be a part of. Sessions were also held on land with WWA officials, Malibu pro team riders. The Judge’s Experience explained what judges are looking for and how to create your best run in a contest. The Rider Development session explained the do’s and don’ts of becoming a successful wakeboarder, including advice on many topics such as conduct and social media management.
19-year-old Danny Groves landed his first-ever tantrum to blind that day and was psyched on the experience. “It was nice to connect with people and converse with other riders throughout the whole weekend,” Groves said. “I was super impressed with Malibu as a boat and fell in love with the wake behind the MXZ. After my first air, my eyes immediately lit up. Jimmy Trask taught me how to take my tantrum up higher and it was the best advice. Sticking my first tantrum to blind was the best feeling ever. I appreciate everyone on staff for lending their time to help me out. It went a long way.” Look for an extended interview with Danny coming soon on
Saturday was competition day for all age divisions and a Pro Card qualifier for aspiring professionals to become recognized as a top competitive wakeboarder. Malibu Pro Team riders Brian Grubb, Amber Wing, Phil Soven and Dallas Friday were the judges. Dante Digangi killed it all weekend, and scored his Pro Card.
Overall, it was a progressive contest atmosphere, with each rider allowed two runs, keeping their best score. All riders also improved their seeding for events later in the year including the WWA Nationals and Worlds.
“SURF GATE Sunday” capped off the Rider Experience, with participants able to test out SURF GATE by Malibu, the revolutionary innovation allowing for wakesurfing on both sides of an evenly weighted WAKESETTER. Music was pumping through the Rockford Fosgate system on Brian Grubb’s 22 MXZ and everyone was psyched to hang out and wind down with some slayshing. Special thanks to the WWA as well as Cobe and Tarah Mikacich of Freedom Wake Park for hosting an amazing event. Malibu Boats would also like to thank CTRL, CWB and Ronix for their support of the Rider Experience.
The next Malibu WWA Rider Experience will be held on June 7-9 at Mossdale Quarry Lakes in Lathrop, California hosted by Larson Marine. Go to for more info and to register in the coming days.
Check out photo galleries from each day on the Malibu Boats Facebook page.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Charitable Group, “Wake The World” Provides Opportunities

Wake The World is a non-profit, charitable organization headquartered in Asheboro, North Carolina that provides watersports opportunities to local Children’s Homes. Whether it’s wakeboarding, wakesurfing, kneeboarding, water skiing, tubing, swimming or just hanging out in a boat, Wake The World provides opportunities for kids that normally would not have the chance. These events are possible because of big-hearted supporters. Currently, 100 percent of all funds donated are used for expenses directly related to the charitable events. Wake The World has no paid staff, just volunteers.
Greg Hodgin, director of Wake The World, has reached out to the industry and its participants and has received a great deal of support.  He said, “I don’t want Wake the World to be my thing, I want it to be our thing.” If you would like to learn more, or find ways to help out, go to:

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Tommy’s Colorado Celebrates New Location

By Dano The Mano
Kicking off the year for me, after what felt like a long winter, was a rail jam out west in Colorado. Back in March, I received a phone call from the guys at Step Up Productions telling me to prepare for a trip in early April and a weather possibility of anything! When I found out we’d be doing a rail jam for the grand opening of Tommy’s new location in Colorado, I was stoked!
Tommy’s has been around the towed water sports industry since 1981. They have always been out at the frontline of the industry, one of the top Malibu dealers and one of the most recognized names in water sports. The new location is just outside of Denver, in a town called Golden, which also happens to be the home of the Coors Brewing Company.
Upon arrival at Tommy’s, I was blown away with their new facility. It is huge! There’s a massive pro shop with all the top brands and plenty of floor space to display the brand new Malibu and Axis boat lines. The staff was like family and everybody was either a rider or enthusiast. The rail jam was set up in the massive lot outside the shop. April in Colorado can go either way, but we were lucky as we had almost perfect conditions from set up, during the event, and tear down.
The day was packed with fun, free giveaways, awesome sales, music, food and of course the wakeboard rail jam. Local riders and employees like Pat Kennedy, Cole Barone, Dan Malone, Hunter Schleper, and Lucas Snider joined some of the Step Up Productions athletes: Justin Teich, Chris Garvy, Larry Taylor and Kyle Alberts for action packed demos all day long. Local pro Tino Santori even stopped by for a few pulls across the setup! The wake event was capped off with a nighttime contest under the lights. The semi-finals featured the top four riders with only two making it to a head-to-head finals battle. Chris Garvy and Hunter Schleper shared a third place tie, while Lucas Snider and Justin Teich took turns attacking the rails trying to take top honors and their share of the prize money. In the end Lucas edged out Teich to take the win.
In addition to throwing a great event at this new location, Tommy’s has announced two new locations in Michigan and Florida. If they are anything like the Colorado location, I only see a bright future for both! Here are some photos from the event, and hop on Instagram and search #TommysGrand for more.
Also check out Tommy’s Colorado online here:
A big thank you to Malibu and Axis boats, Ronix, Slingshot, Hyperlite, Liquid Force, HO, Radar, O’Neill, Dragon and everybody else who made this event such a success.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

First Rider Experience Kicks Off May 10-12 In Orlando!

The Malibu WWA Rider Experience is more than just a contest, it’s a time to connect with riders, parents and local volunteers to the sport of wakeboarding. On May 10-12, 2013 at Freedom Wake Park in Orlando, Florida, competitors and non-competitors will join to advance and progress, not just their own riding, judging and development, but also as a sport.
Freedom Wake Park in Orlando, Florida
As a portion of the Malibu WWA Rider Experience, the Rider Development is another tool to help riders, parents, coaches and volunteers better understand and become comfortable in our sport.
The Rider Development will be delivered partly by the WWA as well as a top profile athletes or industry leaders and will help a rider achieve their goals in the sport. Whether that rider wants to win Junior Boys or become a professional one day. We want to deliver to them the proper avenues to achieve a dream. This includes conduct at and around events and social media do’s and don’ts.
The Rider Development is free to enter for registered competitors and non-competitors alike.
FRIDAY, MAY 10, 2013
• Freeride Fridays; come ride with Malibu Boats Pro Riders
• Judges Experience; open to everyone that wants to learn more about judging
• Rider Development; learn how to brand yourself as a wakeboarder
• WWA Regional Championships – Semi Finals and Finals; compete with regional riders for your chance to win the WWA Regionals & get a seeding for WWA Wakeboard US National Championships
• WWA Pro Card Qualifier; aspiring pro riders qualify their annual pro card (
• Social Function; come hang out and grab some grub with other riders and Malibu Boats pro riders
• Wakesurf Experience. Try out SURF GATE by Malibu, open to competitors and non-competitors

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

National Demo Day: May 18, 2013

Get behind the wheel of a brand-new Malibu on May 18, 2013 and see for yourself why “The Truth Is On The Water.” Quality, performance and innovation are why more people choose Malibu than any other brand on the water today. Contact your local dealer now to reserve your spot to drive the #1 watersports towboat in the world. Be sure to check out the innovation that changed wakesurfing forever, SURF GATE.

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The Rider Experience Is For Everyone: Competitors & Non-Competitors

Get involved at the Rider Experience, even if you aren’t competing.
This is more than just a contest, it’s a time to connect with riders, parents and local volunteers to the sport of wakeboarding. On May 10-12, 2013 at Freedom Wake Park in Orlando, FL competitors and non-competitors will join to advance and progress, not just their own riding, judging and development, but also wakeboarding as a sport.
The 0ne-hour Judge’s Experience seminar on the afternoon of May 10 will feature top WWA officials explaining everything from how judging works to what judges are looking for in a contest. It will also help riders and parents set up good competition runs to better your overall tournament experience. This is a great opportunity to enlist parents and other volunteers to shadow judge the event while encouraging them to assist at other events in their area. The ultimate goal is to give people a level of comfort with the sport to become more involved in their own wakeboard community.
Come join us May 10-12, 2013 for the Judge’s Experience at Freedom Wake Park in Orlando, FL.

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Malibu Open Waterski Championships Set For June 21-22

For the fourth consecutive year, the RESPONSE TXi will tow the Malibu Open on Friday and Saturday June 21-22, 2013 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at Veterans Park Lagoon. Make plans now to come check out all the action, including the WATERSKI Awards at the Harley-Davidson Museum. Summerfest will kick off at the same time nearby! More info at


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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

5 Questions With Raph Derome

After a banner year in 2012, Raph Derome found himself on two magazine covers and winning “Best Wakeboarder” and “Rider Of The Year” with TransWorld WAKEBOARDING and Alliance WAKEBOARD, respectively. He won many events all over the world, highlighted by his coveted, overall victory at the inaugural Red Bull Wake Open. Here is where Raph’s head is at coming into 2013.
1.) Now that it’s Spring of a new season, what is your perspective on last season and all of your success?
It was amazing. I had a lot of fun and it was great to be back riding and traveling. Everything has really motivated me to figure out my plan for this 2013 season.
2.) What are your goals behind your WAKESETTER 22 MXZ this season?
I would honestly just like to ride more and have fun behind my boat. I didn’t get to ride that much behind the boat last year with all the contests and traveling. And the year before, I had my elbow injury so hopefully, I can get out and ride a lot this year.
3.) You are a creative rider on all levels. What do you think can be some areas for progression behind the boat?
Hard to say. But I believe the best progression happens naturally.
4.) Your lifestyle seems to be a little cleaner than a lot of other pros, how to you resist the urge to fall into the rockstar lifestyle?
I don’t know, I do my own things. I guess I’m just not a rockstar.
5.) What advice would you give to young aspiring pros, and those just looking to have fun and learn a few tricks this year? What is the key to keeping the fire and passion for wakeboarding?
You need to just ride and appreciate the present. I meet a lot of people who have a strong desire to become pro. To have fun, they need to become pro. Once the dream doesn’t happen, they stop riding. But that’s not what it’s all about. When wakeboarding is not going well, people should do something else, like go skateboarding or pick up a guitar. But always give it another shot.

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Thursday, April 18, 2013


Interview with Tim Walters of Liquid Force (West Coast Sales)
What was your perspective on SURF GATE FIRSTHAND?
From my perspective, the event was a first class ticket with extraordinary hospitality from the crew at Malibu Boats. Being able to indulge in boating with a diverse group of people from a broad variety of action sports heritage was a treat. Furthermore, when the venue is at a private lake in Southern California’s Wine Country, you start to ask yourself how you made it on the short-list on invitees.”

What was your reaction to winning the MVP award? 
I was incredibly honored to be singled out among wake veterans and peers as someone who contributed to the success of this unique event. It was a very kind gesture to say the least.

What are your thoughts on SURF GATE after experiencing it firsthand?
The SURF GATE technology has really pushed wakesurfing’s creativity and performance when it comes to user-friendly waves. SURF GATE creates the longest, largest, cleanest wave I have ever ridden behind a boat. It was so good that I was able to surf up and down the wave on my wakeboard without a rope!

How will SURF GATE make an impact on your Liquid Force customers?
Since the boat can be weighted symmetrically, this makes it easier to drive, decreases wear on the drive train and no longer requires passengers to pile onto one side of the boat. They can also transition from wakeboarding to wakesurfing surfing in seconds, and change sides in a snap. This makes my job easier and adds to the enjoyment for all. WAKESETTER’s with SURF GATE are really a dream come true!

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Malibu WWA PRO CARD Qualifier At Freedom Wake Park In Orlando

New Format Legitimizes Pro Wakeboarders
Glass calm water and a huge wake set the stage at Freedom Wake Park in Orlando on April 13 for the first-ever Malibu WWA PRO CARD wakeboarding qualifier, a development project by the World Wakeboard Association designed to fuel the vitality of competitive wakeboarding long into the future.
With an opportunity to secure a spot as a legitimate professional competitive wakeboarder, 20 riders competed for 16 cards on the day. The heats were stacked and the wake behind the Malibu WAKESETTER 22 MXZ was banging. In the four-man final, camaraderie outweighed the riders’ competitive nature, but they all pushed each other to throw down.
Bryant Thomas, Chad Sharpe, Oli Derome, Brian Grubb & Dean Smith
19-year-old Mike Dowdy was the favorite coming into the event and he proved why, landing a backside 720, Moby Dick 540, toeside 900, nosegrab crow mobe 540 and more, including his signature heelside double grab (nose/stale) ole’ 720.
Mike Dowdy rides to victory and scores his PRO CARD.
That run put Dowdy in the top spot as winner of the first-ever Malibu WWA Pro Card Event. Dowdy was psyched on his result and appreciates the new structure created by the PRO CARD system.
“I think the PRO CARD is awesome,” Dowdy said. “Anyone who thinks they are, or can be a pro rider now has this opportunity to prove it. I was super stoked to come out with the win at the first event and the conditions were perfect. Everyone is killing it. All my friends were out here riding as well today and we are all having fun just pushing it and becoming better riders every day. There’s definitely a movement going on with this crew and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Finalists Ben Allbright, Stephen Pierce, Christian Primrose and Mike Dowdy
The Malibu WWA PRO CARD was the first of five events for 2013. The remaining regional events will consist of PRO CARD qualifiers and the “Rider Experience,” which will be events designed to help amateurs develop into pros. Check out more at

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Monday, April 15, 2013


Industry Gurus Collaborate On And Off The Water
SURF GATE FIRSTHAND was a collaborative, on-water event hosted by Malibu Boats on April 8-9, 2013 to enhance and improve the activity of wakesurfing on all levels.
As the pioneer of the revolutionary SURF GATE system, Malibu’s staff conducted a day on the water with 20 wakesurfing participants and many more in attendance. The goal was to have fun while collaborating about the sport of wakesurfing and the products used to enhance the activity. Awards we’re handed out for “Best Transfer,” “Best Slam,” “MVP,” and “Most Improved.”
Spirits were up on the water and enthusiasm was running high on both days. Some people were experiencingSURF GATE for the first time and were impressed with the functionality. In the round-table discussion session, breakout groups came up with various ideas for competitions, and improving wakesurfing in every way possible.
All in all, there is no question that wakesurfing is a huge part of what is happening on the water these days, and this process proved invaluable to preserve the vitality of wakesurfing. Malibu is committed to creating the best environment for wakesurfing and to push the sport to levels that nobody thought were possible.
Malibu Boats CEO Jack Springer was impressed with the result of SURF GATE FIRSTHAND, “Remarkable! That’s what comes to my mind,” Springer said. “The concept was simple, yet this far exceeded any expectations we set. The participants were fantastic and I have not been around so many great attitudes at an event like this in a long time. The excitement was palpable, performances were extraordinary in trying conditions. Malibu is committed to producing the best boats for wakesurfing and we value the opinions of our industry experts. With SURF GATE FIRSTHAND, we wanted to get people behind our boats and have a great time while pushing the future of wakesurfing. I couldn’t be more pleased with the result and especially the enthusiasm from all who attended.”
Brian Grubb enjoys the sizable SURF GATE wave.
(L-R): Chad Borba (Best Slam), Sean Mattison (Most Improved), Josh Sleigh (Best Transfer), Tim Walters (MVP).
“Group 1″ docks their WAKESETTER 23 LSV after ripping SURF GATE.

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