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wakeboarding action from Wakestock Pwhelli Marina

Wakestock 2011 What a Scorcher!

Wow what a fantastic weekend at Wakestock 2011; sun, sea, music and WAKEBOARDING, what more could you want!

Driving through torrential rain, the ExPix team arrived at the Wakestock festival site in Penrhos, Abersoch on Thursday afternoon to glorious sunshine. We sorted out passes before having a quick look round the site and then headed off to the Pool Gap to grab some shots of the practice session.

First introduced to the festival site in 2006 and now a major dominating feature, the set up was different in the 200,000 gallon Pool Gap this year. Famous for having the most progressive rails at any European wakeboard competition, Wakestock once again mixed things up with thinner, gnarly, metal rails on the Pool Gap, making for a difficult entry and an essential Ollie start.

The System 2.0 cable rig was in action once again, having replaced the old winch system on the Pool Gap back in 2009, courtesy of ExPix’s very own Ian Edmondson, who transported it back from France in the back of a Toyota Hi-Ace van! The advantage of the System 2.0 is that it cuts down waiting and change over time as no-one has to ‘walk the rope back’, as with the old winch system and it also gives all riders a very accurate and fair pull.

So, back to the action and as the practise session got under way, the world’s best rail riders prepared for the WWA Rail Europeans competitions which were taking place throughout the weekend, with the finals being held on Sunday. The format for the competitions was that the 8 most impressive riders from ‘free ride’ session each day got to compete against 8 pre qualified riders in the main competition. The 16 riders would then battle it out in head to head heats, with the rider throwing down the sickest trick going through to the next round. And with some serious prize money up for grabs and the Pool Gap Champion title, there was everything to play for!In addition to the WWA Rail Europeans, Wakestaking Jams and Girls Jams would also be taking place each night at the festival site.

Friday morning came and we headed off into Pwllheli for the main Wakestock wakeboarding competition which is held every year at the Marina. This year was a biggy for ExPix as not only were we covering the action, as we have done for the past eleven years; we were also running our own ExPix promotional activities. So we set up camp and pretty soon our team of promo staff were ready to hit Pwllheli Marina to spread some ExPix love!

The lovely Amy, our graphic designer was busy amazing everyone with her fantastic illustrations; not only that but she signed every picture that she drew and as we know she’s going to hit the big time, they’re worth keeping hold of! The ExPix promo team ran competitions to win ‘goodie bags’ and a ‘Mega Bag’ and just to be sure we’d covered all angles; we had our very own secret weapon in Welsh speaking local girl Zoe on board!

The Pro Qualifiers soon got underway in the Marina but with heavy showers there were some choppy conditions to contend with. In true style the wakeboarders did their best as they battled it out it for a place in Saturday’s final.

Back at the festival site and there was more Pool Gap action with the Girls Jam. The weather was still rough making it difficult for the female, riders with Steph Caller being pushed by Chloe Goudie and Lex Balladon.

In the arena the music started with a heavy mix of DJ sets, Dubstep and Rap from the likes of Chase and Status, Kissy Sell Out, Lethal Bizzle, DJ Fresh & Dynamite MC, before finishing off with headline act, Ellie Goulding.

The sun came out on Saturday and within no time Pwllheli Marina was packed with die hard fans all eager to see the Pro Finals. As usual there was plenty going on down at the Marina; we had the ExPix team out in force once again and next to us were the Frubob team promoting their new range of fruit drinks.

Event sponsors, Mystic and Mastercraft had set up stall opposite the band stand where the DJs were throwing down some sick beats. The Lucozade guys and girls were busy handing out freebies of Lucozade drinks, sunglasses, lanyards and even tents; handy for anyone who may have forgotten the essentials; not mentioning any names here but we can think of at least one ExPix member who could have done with knowing this on Friday!

There was an army of fantastic volunteers from the RNLI all ready to spread the word about what they do and keeping safe on and off the water and the airman from RAF Anglesey were there too, although we were a little disappointed that they hadn’t flown in a certain royal for the occasion!

Back on the water and the crowd were rewarded with some awesome wakeboarding from the riders as they were towed across the wake on the back of the new Mastercraft X2. Every year the competition seems to get fiercer and this year was no different as the riders competed for the Wakestock championship title.

Danny Thollander and Shawn Watson, both from the USA tried to defend the title for their fellow country man and former 2010 Wakestock champion, Philip Soven, whilst British rider Sam Carne pulled out all the stops to try and secure a spot on the podium. But all three were up against a might force in the form of David O’Caoimh from Ireland who was crowned Wakestock 2011 Champion, taking the title back to Dublin.

 

In the Women’s competition, Argentina rider, Robbie Rendo‘s determination to improve on her third place position in 2010 showed as she took her riding to the next level. Close on her heels were British riders, Charlotte Bryant, Sian Hirst and Jules Haley but Robbie Rendo’s efforts paid off and she was crowned Wakestock 2011 Champion. 

With the finals over it was back to the festival site for the start of the second night of music and Pool Gap riding.

With little time to spare we headed straight to the Pool Gap for the first of two pre arranged shoots for Mystic sponsored riders and whilst we can’t show you just yet, we managed to bag ourselves some sweet shots! Then it was straight onto the men’s free ride qualifiers and the wakeskate jam. Once again the riding was amazing with the crowds, some of whom were unfamiliar with wakeskating, wondering how the riders like Ollie Moore managed to stay on their boards.

On stage the artist were whipping the crowds into a frenzy; Far East Movement were amazing as was Beardyman and The Wombats, but for us Kelis stole the show with renditions of Acapella and Bounce. We’re not sure about her milkshake bringing all the boys to the yard but the black catsuit that she was wearing certainly did the trick!

Sunday morning came and it was time for the Mystic Big Air competition on Abersoch Main Beach. The move from the usual spot of Friday evening to Sunday morning proved popular; festival goers and locals crammed the beaches and headland trying to get a good spot, whilst the boats lined up out on the water had a bird’s eye view of the action. Not wanting to miss out and always looking for the chance to get the best shot, ExPix photographer Ian Edmondson joined Chris Rawes on his yacht Bimmy. We must give a huge thanks to Chris who not only provided us with a prime spot but also supplied cold beer!

 

So for those who don’t know, the Big Air comp does what it says on the tin! The winner is the guy or girl who goes biggest off the floating kicker. And boy did they go big! But none more so than Padiwat Jaemajan aka ‘The Bomb’ from Thailand who landed £500 for his efforts.

At the festival site the Pool Gap Finals soon got started. The head to head knock out threw up some surprises and it was obvious that it was going to be a fight to the finish. The British lads fought hard but it was Mitch Langfield from Australia who took the Pool Gap title.

As the last night of music began, the East arena was jammed, ready for Ed Sheeran, who seemed genuinely overwhelmed by the crowds. His set was brilliant and fans could be seen singing along to all of his numbers.

Example also wowed the crwods before headliners Biffy Clyro, bare chested, tattoed and hairy lifted the roof off the West stage in true rock style!

So another Wakestock is over!

BOAT FINAL RESULTS:

Professional Men
1 – David O’Caoimh IRE 90
2 – Danny Thollander USA 76,25
3 – Shawn Watson USA 75
4 – Sam Carne UK 65

Professional Women
1 – Robbie Rendo ARG 91,25
2 – Charlotte Bryant ENG 85
3 – Sian Hirst NIRE 56,25
4 – Jules Haley ENG 55

MYSTIC BIG AIR:

1st – Padiwat Jaemajan THAI

Pro Men Rail Jam:
1st – Mitch Langfield (Australia)
2nd – CK Koester (UK)
3rd – Marc Rossiter (UK)
4th – Shawn Watson (USA)

Pro Women Rail Jam:
Best Overall: Chloe Goudie
Best Trick: Steph Caller

Pro Wakeskate Pool Jam:
Best Overall: Ollie Moore

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