Wakeboarders "slided" white water UpStream!
More than 1,500 spectators lined along the Sava river in Tacen / Slovenia today to witness the birth of a new sports discipline.
After most of them clashed with whitewater during yesterday's training, today the 12 most courageous European wakeboarders competed against each other on the kayak route in Tacen at the very first wakeboard contest on whitewater called Red Bull Upstream. Let us remind you again this was a world premiere!
Injuries were, of course, unavoidable, but not too painful. Already yesterday, the best Slovene rider Robert Pokovec injured his shoulder but today he set his teeth, gulped a couple of tablets, and appeared at the starting line. This morning, after sliding nicely over one of the artificial objects in the water, the Belgian Quentin Delefortrie managed to plough even more nicely in the concrete wall, and thus brought some blood into the otherwise crystal-clear river. But humans were not the only ones to suffer Pokovec proved once again that his name suits him perfectly (pokovec = naughty boy) when his wakeboard literally cut off one of the cameras' lens. Even this accident had a happy ending as the cameraman swears the last shot was the best shot ever! The lens, though, needs a new leg.
But let's return to the competition. During the qualifications, each contestant had three runs, whereas for the final result only the best two were regarded. The jury gave points for the Choice of Line, Tricks, Style and Aggressiveness&Creativity. The lucky 6 who showed the most, and thus made it to the Finals were Nico Lerchenfeld, Norbert Vasko, Dominik Gührs, Robert Pokovec, Balász Bakró and Emilio Epstein. In the Finals they had two runs on whitewater, and they certainly did not hold back it was a really fierce fight. The spectators witnessed everything, from wild sliding across rocky or concrete obstacles to creative use of all kinds of objects that the organizers placed in the riverbed especially for this purpose. One of the most interesting ones was undoubtedly the high arch across one of the islands, in the free-sports terminology known as a rainbow.
At the end, the decision was according to the judges very difficult, but the spectators approved the final results with a big applause. Nico Lerchenfeld (GER) slid himself the first place, followed by the Hungarian Balász Bakró and the German Dominik Gührs. The Slovene rider Robert Pokovec had a bit of bad luck due to the camera accident but was at the end more than pleased with his fourth place, also because he helped prepare the whole contest and today the new chapter of the sports history was written indeed.
This is something completely new, we wakeboarded like that for the first time. I was present at the preparation process right from the beginning and helped design these objects. The wakeboarders had to pay full attention to the water, its rapids. They had to think about lots of things, explained Robi after the results. And I'm really sorry for the camera an unexpected wave surprised me. I do hope we'll repeat this next year. And if we do, I'd like to see bigger obstacles to make it even more exciting.
The champ Nico Lerchenfeld was extremely satisfied with the result: I really hope the event will be repeated next year. Count me in! Awesome organization, awesome people, and niiice girls!
1 Nico Lerchenfeld (GER)
2 Balász Bakró (HUN)
3 Dominik Gührs (GER)
4 Robert Pokovec (SLO)
5 Emilio Epstein (GER)
6 Norbert Vasko (HUN)
7 Quentin Delefortrie (BEL)
8 Sebastian Stare (GER)
9 Lovro Klepac (CRO)
10 Vukašin Čupić (SRB)
11 Marco Gradl (GER)
12 Jan Kralj (SLO)