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I would love you to all follow my adventures as I push myself wakeboarding around the world.
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Monday, August 30, 2010

World Championship here I come

After my first Pro Tour ride, I couldn’t wait to get back to Orlando and get ready for Worlds.

I went back to the Wakeboard Camp at Clermont for a couple of nights to chill with my good mate Corey Turnbull.  I t was also good to see all the staff again and the Aussie Girls Crew of Amber, Hayley & Bec.    My new Watson Classic got shipped in from liquid force in time for me to get used to it before the Worlds and we headed straight out behind one of the camp boats Malibu v-rides and rode awesome the board had so much pop it was actually surprising and that board has now seen me through to landing a bunch of new tricks that I can do now.

Mid week I went out with Aaron Brown for a couple of  days having fun little jet ski sets at night hitting his rooftop and see what stupid stuff we could do off the little wake that the Seadoo put out. I also got to ride with Bennet Spartz behind his Nautique 230 on Lake Minnehaha which was awesome.  Then it was off to chill at Nick Galotifiore’s house on Lake Irma.  Nick was pretty pumped fresh from his US Pro Tour Win.  Mick, myself and Tony Carroll spent a lot of time adjusting the ballast to try and replicate a Supra Wake behind Nick’s Nautique 230.  I think we did a pretty good job and over the next 2 days we knocked out about 5 or 6 sets.   I just grilled myself on my pass and some of my bigger tricks making sure I was riding confident enough and consistent enough to be able to do my run at worlds.

Arrive in downtown Orlando and checked in to the Hotel for the main event – the WWA Wakeboard Worlds at OWC.  It was a crazy event; there were people everywhere and a lot of familiar faces especially from the huge Aussie contingent that had travelled over to Orlando for the competition.

WWA Wakeboard Worlds at OWC
When the heats for the Quarter Final were published, I had been put up against 2 good mates, and 2 of the best Junior Pro Men in the World.  US Pro Tour Champ Nick Galitifiore and Freddie Wayne.  I didn’t ride my best falling on my first trick and struggling to recover after that.  Nick & Freddie knocked me out of contention for the Semi’s, but Nick went on to win and Freddie also got to ride in the final, so it was a couple of quality riders to get rolled by. 
It was so thrilled to see a legend in the Australian wakeboarding world Dean Smith take out the competition for his first US competition win. And what a place to do it, at the last event of the season with every Australian there to see. Dean was just going insane when they called Phillip Soven’s name out for 2nd place.  Every Aussie and everyone else for that matter forming a circle around him clapping and whistling and yelling his name, it was just unreal!  Dean is a super nice guy, and as he said “for the next 365 Days, I can say I am the World Champion”.

I learnt a lot in my two big Pro Tour Events.  As a rider I am not far off the pace and have enough tricks to be a serious competitor.  I just need to learn to be a better competitor.  These two comps are the first 2 I have ever been in without my Dad there.  He is a great influence on me and always gets my head right for events.  However, I need to learn to do that on my own.  My plan is to be back next year, to do all 5 Pro Tour Events and the Worlds again, and Dad can’t spend 5 or 6 months over here with me.

Just chilling and thinking!
For the next couple of weeks I will be chilling with Nick, Tony and Freddie and continuing to ride every day.   We are planning to make a nice little video before the Surf Expo.   We will film on Lake Irma on Nick’s Nautique 230 and on Lake Whippoorwill on Freddie’s VLX.   Freddie has a psycho rail which is the same dimensions as the Pro Tour rooftop and he has an amazing trampoline to practice new tricks on before taking them to the water.

Freddie has the best wake on the lake and it is really cool to ride the same boat on the same lake where I landed my first Moby Dick 5.   I am missing my family and friends back home, but this journey will end soon enough.   Straight after the Surf Expo, it’s back home from some sleep and then off on the Monster Energy Tige Tour!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My first US Pro Tour Event

Had a nice flight to Knoxville and went and checked out the site. It’s a great location for people and crowds but it looked like the water traffic and roll back might be a problem. But hey, we all ride the same water so we are all affected the same.

For my first US Pro Event I was in Heat 2 against Julian Cohen, John Jeffries and Kyle Evans. I was first off the dock. I had a pretty solid ride, stand up pass which included a Toe 7, Back 5 and a Whirly 5. Didn’t need to throw down too much to get through and I was pleased to get through to the Semi Finals. I was stoked at the number of people who thought I was a podium chance. I just came here for the experience and to see what I need to do in the next 12 months to be a serious competitor in the Jr Pro Tour.

In the Semis I unfortunately crashed out on my opening trick (Whirly 5) which I never fall on and I crashed out on my opening trick of the 2nd pass (a tail glide) so I struggled to get enough tricks in my pass to get through to the final. It was a great event though and a really good one for Liquid Force and Australia with super nice people like Amber and Harley winning the event.

It was also good to have a talk with some of my Billabong Team Riders like Shawn Watson, Danny Harf and The Bomb. I met the Bomb at my first ever Pro Event on the Tour in Sydney 2 years ago, he is a cool guy. Shawn and Danny have both offered to take me riding.

Back to Clermont and riding with Danny Burnstein, I landed a toeside 9 and all of my other tricks. I thought to myself that this will be a good week getting ready for worlds.

Today I went out on Bennett’s boat with Aaron Brown and stuck more Toe 9’s, all of my 7’s and my 3 Mobe 5’s. Tricks come and go and sometimes when you learn something new, you lose something. I guess I am going through a solid phase at the moment where I have most of my tricks very consistent.

I have stopped free riding for the moment and I am just running my pass over and over.

Tonight I am heading to Aaron Browns to crash for the night. Tomorrow is the last day before worlds and I will get 3 or 4 sets in with Aaron and Nick Galotifiore am felling pretty pumped about it. Nick won the Overall Jr Mens Pro Tour, so he is the benchmark of what I need to be next year for my chance at a US Tour Title.

Worlds start on Thursday and finish on Sunday. It’s all about riding on Sunday, I hope I get the chance.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

First week in America

I settled in to the Wakeboard Camp at Clermont. They are an awesome bunch and it’sthe home of our Aussie Girls Amber, Hayley and Bec. I didn’t get too much riding down in my first week because the Camp was at capacity and there was so much to do, but I did manage to head downtown for some boat sessions and some rides at OWC.

I have had so much fun hanging with my good friend Corey Turnbull. We ride together back home at cable and on our boat, and it's great being away with him.

I went out for a ride with Ben Greenwood and I did 5 different 7's in one set, 4 of them were in a row back to back which is awesome and I was also doing back to back mobe 5's (Crow & Whirly).

I went out in Freddie Waynes VLX on Lake Whippoorwill with Danny Burnstein and had a fun set. I landed a Moby Dick 5 on my first attempt and watched some sick runs from Freddie & Danny. It was great just chilling and listening to aussie tunes - Hilltop Hoods, Bliss and Eso. I had never tried a Moby Dick 5, and thought that a Skeezer 5 would be my next Mobe 5, but it felt good, and I have them consistent now. It was nice hanging at Freddie’s, his family remind me of mine and his Mum is awesome just like mine. I saw a sick new rail that is just insane and had a crazy tramp set on an olympic standard tramp (and Freddie absolutely dominates it). Freddie’s family have asked me to come stay with them after Worlds which I am looking forward to.

I have had lots of fun riding at OWC which is where the Worlds will be held. Danny Burnstein and I have been trying to learn two new tricks, one being a cab 10 and the other being a hoochie blind 3. I love OWC, it’s a very cool place.

I talked to Dad about me heading to Tennessee for the last stop of the Pro Tour. He thought it was a great idea to get some more competition experience, so he hooked me up with flights and a base at the Marriott with some of the other guys.

I also have been riding with Daniel Powers in his boat just getting my pass pretty sorted out for the Pro Tour Stop in Knoxville. I was hanging out there for the day with Danny Burnstein, Kyle Evans, Julien Cohen and of course Daniel Powers. Daniel is a great rider and a nice guy – I am looking forward to competing with all these guys in Knoxville.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Just landed in downtown Orlando

Corey and I touched down from the overnight flight from Los Angeles into Orlando at 5.30am and was picked up by Daniel Watkins. It was so cool for DW to drag himself out of bed at that hour to pick us up.

Daniel arranged for us to go out for a ride on Jimmy LaRiche's boat and I had the most awesome set and felt super confident. I also had a second ride with Jimmy's room mate Jeff Langley.

Went to Cable with Dean Smith where I caught up with a bunch of Aussies including Harley Clifford, Mitch Langfield, Brenton Priestley, Parker Siegele and Ryleigh Pfitzner. Had so much fun and went back to chill at Harley's house for the rest of the afternoon.

Finally checked in to the Wakeboard Camp at Clermont and made our plans for tomorrow and then went for a midnight swim and saw my first alligators.. I hear they aren't as bad as our Aussie crocodiles, but I wont swing too close just in case..

Looking forward to waking up tomorrow and continuing my adventure.....