This summer a new festival is coming to the South Saskatchewan River: WakeRide ’09.
“We have such a beautiful river bank, so why don’t we use it?” asked WakeRide ’09 spokesperson Nicole Martini. “We have a gross winter but summer is so cool.”
The wakeboarding competition is part of an effort of the government-funded initiative Urban Playground to attract and retain younger people in Saskatoon and Saskatchewan.
The competition levels will include beginner, intermediate one and two, and advanced. There will be big air competitions, different trick competitions, and rails in the water. Sunday is the professional competition, including the likes of Rusty Malinoski, a local rider who has made it big in the wakeboarding world.
“We decided that this is just something we want to do to make Saskatoon cooler,” said Martini. “The fact that Rusty comes from Humbolt says that anything is possible; you can dream big, you can achieve your dreams. We want to give that encouragement to kids in Saskatoon.”
Eight pros will compete in Sunday’s advanced competition. They will also be available to sign autographs and talk to fans and are scheduled to work as judges along with volunteer judges.
The charity event takes place at Rotary Park from July 3 to 5 with all proceeds going toward the White Buffalo Youth Lodge and KidSport.Wakeboarding is the main focus but there will also be music playing throughout the event. DJs will play during the day and Wired 96.3 will be doing live broadcasts. Saturday night One Bad Son opens for State of Shock.
Competitors are judged on execution, intensity, and composition of their run. At each level of difficulty, competitors are required to do a minimum number of specific tricks; for the pros, expect to see lots of inverts, spins, jumps, and grabs.
“The competition is a chance for the young people and people from Saskatoon and Saskatchewan to come and see world-class athletes,” said Martini. “It’s not every day we get to see these kinds of riders come to Saskatoon.”
This is the inaugural year for WakeRide but Martini says it’s going to become an annual event. Next year, Martini hopes to see more professionals and bigger prizes for the competitions.
Weekend passes are $12.50 and kids nine and under are free. Tickets are available at Backside Boardshop and through Picatic.com.
graphic Danni Siemens