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2008 ROTY – Danny Hampson

2008 Rider of the Year – Danny Hampson
by Garrett Cortese

Living the lake life again     photo: Cortese

Editor’s Note: Leading up to the announcement of the 2015 Rider of the Year we are re-releasing pieces of each of the past 14 ROTY articles from the magazine. Danny Hampson won the coveted title in 2008 having returned from a terrible neck injury and dominating wakeskating with his signature style and personality.


Back in 2007 I had the pleasure of traveling with Danny Hampson to South Africa for the filming of Push Process. This was around the time Danny was getting back into the groove of riding following his life altering injury. All of us on the trop thought Danny was riding really well and we were stoked just to see him back on the water; knowing full well that had things gone just a fraction of a bit different he probably wouldn’t even be walking. Danny however wasn’t too stoked on the way he’d been riding. At the end of one day Danny was the last to ride, and as we pulled up to the dock and cleaned out the boat, Danny sat at the edge looking out at the river. It was apparent he was upset and wanted some time alone, so rather than sit down and talk to him, the rest of us headed back up to the house. A few minutes later Danny walked in and in typical Danny fashion asked me, “Did you see me crying down there?”
“That’s hunger,” he replied.

While in that moment it seemed funny and Danny and I both laughed, it also said a lot about who Danny really is and what wakeskating really means to him. Danny loves wakeskating, to the point that the thought of not being able to do it as well as he had before and the thought that that might make him look like a failure in the eyes of others, drove him to tears.

Later on Danny and I would talk about what he was going through. What a lot of people probably don’t realize is just how hard it is to come back from a severe injury, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Danny had obviously left some very big shoes to fill when he got injured, and during the time that he was out a lot of kids filled them. It was apparent during out time together in South Africa that Danny wasn’t sure if he’d ever be able to get to the spot he was once at. It’s one thing when you want to be able to do something, but when you physically can’t the emotional toll can be just as taxing as the physical one – especially when it’s something as important and defining to you as wakeskating is to Danny.

Fast forward 18 months and it is more than obvious that Danny was able to overcome both the physical and emotional scars from his accident. Danny isn’t just back on the scene and riding well, he’s back to where he was before he got hurt: setting trends, having fun, commanding attention in the most subtle way possible, and riding with a style that most others can only dream about having. Sure, there are a lot of other wakeskaters who can do a lot more tech moves than Danny, or who have one more contests than Danny. But that’s not really what this magazine or the Rider of the Year award is about. Try to name one rider who can do tricks the way Danny does them and with the passion and love Danny carries with him, and then you’ve got an argument. There are a lot of riders who, if they left the sport of wakeskating, wouldn’t necessarily be missed. The show, as they say, would go on. There are a few riders though, who if they left wakeskating could never be replaced. Danny Hampson is one of those few and what he has accomplished in 2008 is more than deserving of the Alliance Rider of the Year honors.

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Danny’s ROTY cover     photo: Cortese

Wake Nation Houston

Wake Nation Houston

Fall is settling in and the temperature is cooling down.  Now is the perfect time to book your Paintball Party or Ropes Course Adventure!  We’re booking birthday parties and group events, our you can book online through our new website and online booking software.  Plan your next visit to experience the fun adventures for yourself!!
 Paintball Fields

A new adventure at Wake Nation Houston includes our paintball fields!  Book your group or birthday party now!  We have two fields and all the rental gear including gun, mask, chest & neck protector, and paintballs!  Click here for more info
 Aerial Adventure Ropes Course

What else is new at Wake Nation Houston? Introducing the Wake Nation Aerial Adventure Ropes Course. Book your group now, this is a unique experience unlike any other!  Click here for more info
Call 281-431-4444 or email Michael@WakeNation.com for more info or to book your party!

The 2015 WWA Wake Park World Championships.

Twenty new champions crowned today at the 2015 WWA Wake Park World Championships.
Abu Dhabi, UAE (November 6th, 2015) – The world’s most diverse park riders were named new World Champions at the most progressive wake park event in the world.  Al Forsan International Sports Resort played host to a park event that is certainly one for the books.  The riding stepped up more at this year’s World championships than any other year in the history of the sport.  Riders from across the globe rode through the toughest and most competitive heats put together to become Wake Park World Champions.

President of the World Wakeboard Association, Shannon Starling, was blown away with the quality of riding in every single division.  “Wake parks have completely reshaped our sport, and with the continuation of these riders progressing at this pace, you are guaranteed to see the sport grow even more exponentially”,  says Starling.  “The facility they have here at Al Forsan provides riders with the highest quality of entertainment both on and off the water, resulting in the perfect environment.  There is no other complex on this planet that can replicate or provide what Al Forsan can, thus one of the many reasons making this year’s Wake Park World Championships the best year yet!”

The Professional Men’s Features Only division had every single person on the property at the edge of their seat with the excitement taking place on the water.  Aaron Gunn (AUS) proved himself to be the world best as he earned himself yet another World Championship title by landing a massive truck driver heelside 720.  Closely behind him was Tom Fooshee (USA), who was very balanced on all the features.  Rounding out the podium was John Dreiling (USA) in third.
Professional Women’s features was every bit as exciting as the Men’s, as Julia Rick (GER) made it impeccably clear that she deserved to be World Champion yet again.  She made sure to include her textbook heelside backside 720 off the kicker, as well as a heelside backside 270 transfer.  Courtney Angus (AUS) was right behind her- she put the heat on Julia, but fell slightly short behind her in the scores.  Maxine Sapulette (NLD) finished in 3rd place to complete the Professional Women’s Features Only podium.

Traditional cable put all the attention on one rider at a time as they showed the world who should earn the prestigious title.  Pro Men’s rider Dominik Guehrs (GER) was a step above everyone else as the crowd went mad each time he landed a trick.  “It was so tough riding against all these guys. They all threw it down every round right before me, and I was so lucky to prevail and do what I needed to do for the victory.  I am on cloud 9 right now with becoming a world champion”, says Dominik.  However, earning the title didn’t come easily- Aaron Gunn gave him a true run for his money.  The super final scores were so tight that they were separated by just a decimal point.  Tom Fooshee performed so well throughout the weekend that he was able to land the 3rd place spot in this heavy division of Pro Men Traditional.

The fun didn’t stop there as the ladies hit the water yet again in their Traditional cable final.  The flats tricks that Julia Rick threw down were clearly what helped play a huge role in her becoming the 2015 World Champion.  But what makes it even crazier is that her kicker and rail hits were just as impressive.  She landed a tail grabbed front-to-blind- a trick commonly seen in the Pro Men division.  To accompany an already impressive run, she tacked on several aggressive rail hits that sealed the deal for her. Maxine Sapulette put the pressure on Julia, as she rode so well that it forced Julia to give it her all.  Sapulette landed herself a second place with an incredible competition run, of course Courtney Angus made sure to make it more than a two-girl show as she cranked it up on the water, placing in the third podium spot.

The best Wake Park World Championships of all time can be described only as absolutely epic!  We would love to once again thank Al Forsan International Sports Resort, all of the Event Sponsors, and of course the riders for making this event such a success.  Congratulations to all the fresh new 2015 World Champions.  See you all again at the WWA Wake Park World Championships in 2016





Axis Wake’s 2016 updates include the all-new A20; our new hydraulic Surf Gate, part of the Axis Integrated Surf Platform (ISP); updated interface software; an upgraded helm, steering wheel, and windshield; a new Kicker stereo system; all-new Axis custom trailers; the new AW15 Tower Light Bar; and much more.

 Loudon, TN | November 6, 2015 — Want pure performance and astonishing affordability? Then you want Axis Wake Research, the watersports towboat built by Malibu to be the absolute best, for the money, in the world. No one else gives you so much at such a great price.

For 2016, every boat is better than ever, but a few things have us especially excited:



The sickest 20-foot boat in watersports history is back, all-new, and ready to rumble. The new Axis A20 has been redesigned from the hull up for 2016. Renowned for its wicked agility and precision, this beast is easy on the bank account and built to shred better than ever, with a new wake-and-wave-maximizing hull, all-new interior, deeper storage, and an amazing array of across-the-board 2016 upgrades, leaving the competition far behind.

CEO Jack Springer is extremely excited to launch the all-new A20, especially considering it was already the absolute best 20-footer, for the money, in the world. “Our new A20 is unbeatable when it comes to the highest performance and quality at the best price,” says Springer. “We’ve redesigned it from the hull up to give entry-level customers a world-class 20-foot watersports towboat that no other company can match on the water. Make no mistake about it: there’s no other 20-foot offering that even begins to approach the quality and craftsmanship of the Axis A20. Get out there and see for yourself. It’s on another level.”

Unequaled access and agility are all yours with the A20. This wake specialist features incredible handling and premium vinyl seating for as many as 11 people, plus it’s easily towed and stashed in your average garage. Nowhere else will you find a go-anywhere, do-anything boat that, at this size, can still kick up such a massive wake—especially with our Auto-Set Wedge hydrofoil—and peel off monster waves with our revolutionary, hydraulic Surf Gate, the first and still best wave-making technology in the industry. And with the A20, there’s never any reason to fear the chop; this boat doesn’t get tossed around like others in its class, thanks to dialed ballast control, a cutting hull, and superior V-drive propulsion.



High performance is always yours with the Axis ISP, or Integrated Surf Platform.

For 2016, our Surf Gate gets full hydraulics, giving customers a fantastic ISP wake/surf system upgrade. Featuring our engineered hull designs, Triple Hard-Tank Ballast, fore and aft Plug ’n’ Play ballast, Auto-Set Wedge hydrofoil, and, of course, the new hydraulic Surf Gate, the Axis ISP is designed to deliver the ultimate watersports experience.




Coming standard on all 2016 Axis boats, our brand-new helm includes updated interface software, a sleek new windshield, and a new glove box, with upgrade options like our new Kicker stereo with Bluetooth. We’ve also streamlined our helm design for both aesthetics and functionality. And an upgraded steering wheel tops everything off beautifully.


Designed and built by Malibu’s team of expert artisans—with more than 100 years’ combined experience designing and building trailers under their belts—our brand-new, fully customizable Axis trailers are stylish, safe, and built to last. World-class craftsmanship is evident in every detail, and by bringing production in-house, as with our towers, we can increase and control quality while reducing costs.

What makes Axis trailers better than the rest? A few highlights: 1. Premium, industry-standard U.S. steel for all frame parts. 2. Jigs and fixtures used to create consistent weld and axle placement, eliminating margin of error and ensuring axles and crossmembers are precision-placed. 3. All trailers are produced through the same model-specific frame jig, ensuring that frames, steps, crossmembers, and axles are flat, straight, and square, which is especially important for axle location and squareness (affecting how well a trailer tows behind your vehicle) and crossmember/bunk-tab location (affecting how well your boat loads on your trailer). 4. Fender steps are fully welded to the trailer frame. Other manufacturers use a rubber bond at the top of the step and weld only at the bottom. 5. Top-quality DuPont urethane-based paints and primer used, with side-draft paint booths, to prevent overspray on two-tone trailers, and rotating carts, to ensure excellent coverage, coat thickness, and consistency. 6. Rear corners, where main frames meet propeller guard, are mitered instead of butt-welded, in order to provide better, stronger welds, improve weld aesthetics, and negate the need for an additional plate welded to the end of the main frame. 7. Tandem/tri-axle fenders have a center support brace to prevent the fender from bowing when stepped on.../../../Screen%20Shot%202015-10-25%20at%201.42.49%20PM.png


Every inch of an Axis boat is function-focused and crafted to be practical and comfortable. For 2016, other upgrade options include an upgraded Plug ’n’ Play ballast system, Axis-branded drop-in Igloo coolers, drain-plug sensors, an AW15 Tower quick release, Deckadence carpet, and three new gel and metal-flake color options. Once the sun drops, hang out with your family and friends and light up the night with 300% brighter underwater LEDs and the new AW15 Tower Light Bar.

In a state-of-the-art facility on the banks of the beautiful Tennessee River, Axis Wake Research is developed right alongside Malibu—its ultra-premium big brother—and built by the same people, using the same processes and materials. We invite you to walk the production lines with us and see the incredible artisanal craftsmanship that goes into every Axis, watching customers’ dream boats come together step by step. From the casting of performance hulls to the polishing of tower speakers, it’s all centered on you.




2003 ROTY – Aaron Reed

2003 ROTY – Aaron Reed


Editor’s Note: Leading up to the announcement of the 2015 Rider of the Year we are re-releasing pieces of each of the past 14 ROTY articles from the magazine. 2003 was the year of the incomparable Aaron Reed. Read below to see way and stay tuned for more past ROTY articles as well as the announcement of the 2015 Rider of the Year.


Yes, it’s Aaron Reed. And if right now you’re asking yourself, “Who, exactly, is Aaron Reed again?” then you’re probably not alone. The best question is, “What did he have this year on riders like Danny Harf and Parks Bonifay and Shawn Watson?” Hard had one of the better competitive seasons in wakeboarding, pulling back-to-back wins in the Gravity Games and Nationals for a $35,000-plus swing over the course of seven days, and catapulting himself across the invisible line that separates really good pro riders from superstars. And there’s always a strong case for Parks being the “Rider of the…” anything. There’s little doubt anymore that everyone considers him the overall best, and he kicked it up a notch this season innovating new moves off the double up, including a double back roll mobe. Watson was arguable “traditional wakeboarding” better than anyone else in the world at the beginning of 2003 (he was no slouch on sliders either). For the few months after he moved to Orlando in the spring, he was riding so smoothly it was hard to tell he was holding a rope.

But in the end it was Reed who stuck out. Like a dirty gym sock hanging on the wall of an art museum – you just could not deny his presence. There are many criteria we consider every year when we undertake our judgemental little task, among them are talent, media exposure, video parts, public sentiment, how much a rider has progressed over a course of 12 months, and how much they have done for the sport. If Aaron doesn’t come in first in all those categories, he’s damn close to the top in every one.


Wake Journal Issue 205.

The issue 205 of Wake Journal has arrived!!! Check it out! It’s an amazing magazine.
Download the app at http://wkjr.nl/app and follow their social media!


WakeJournal_Issue205_Cover WakeJournal_205_Ballast1 WakeJournal_205_Ballast2 WakeJournal_205_Ballast3 WakeJournal_205_Following WakeJournal_205_Melspace WakeJournal_205_Untied

Dog Dayz TEASER #1

Dog Dayz is a West Coast wakeboard film full of West Coast riders. Riders like Kaesen Suyderhoud, Derek Cook, Melissa Marquardt, Jacob Valdez, Josh Twelker, Mike Schwenne, Keaton Bowlby, Trever Maur, Randall Harris, and more. Sit back and let the bangers soak in. Stay tuned to Dog Dayz on Instagram for more updates and release dates. https://instagram.com/dogdayzfilm/

Night of the living shred 10/31/15 – Jibtopia Wakepark


jibtobia haloween


If you didn’t make it last year, your regret may still be haunting you… This year they’ve decided to turn this super spooky event into a horrifying Halloween celebration! Various electrifyingly eerie events and games will be offered throughout the day! They will be hosting a costume contest for riders as well as capturing all the dressed up riders on film for a scary shred video! There will be tons of creepy prize packages up for grabs!  They will end the evening with a huge Halloween party at Bar 119 across the street. But be warned, You will need a costume for the after party too (One that’s not wet).  This is the last big bash of the year and you don’t want to miss out! Dare to be scared!


Friday in Wakeskate City was epic with warm water & flat water.  It was pretty epic watching everyone ride behind a 25/hp Boston Whaler in front of a floatilla! They were able to get a drone lined up to shoot for us.
Saturday the party continued at the cable with over 30 participants in the annual Relentless comp. Tons of progression and stoke were in the air all day. In the end the home team took home the win by just 1 point.