Recap and Photos Courtesy of [ WakeboardNorthwest.com ]
July 26th featured some of the biggest; booted double ups ever witnessed in the Northwest as the 4th annual BAKES NWI competition took flight. In all, 11 riders took to the milder than normal waters of south Lake Washington at Coulon Park. Many of the competitors were familiar to the event with a few brand new faces mixed in.
Straight off the dock, the fans could tell this competition would be high caliber. All of the riders stepped up their game from previous years, going bigger and more technical than ever. Early favorites coming into the day had to be Thomas Olson of Gig Harbor, WA and Pro Tour spoiler Nick Jones of Kirkland, WA. The first round kicked off and Jones broke the ice with a Front Melan 360 and a massive KGB. BAKES team rider and perennial NWI competitor, Brandon Robins, showed everyone his improved consistency with a Frontside Off-Axis 360 and a solid Heelside 540 to push through into the seeded second round. Taking the round one top spot, however, went to Slingshot rider Sam Cole. Cole set the bar on his first trick of the afternoon with a Heelside 720. With a solid cash prize on the line for “Best Trick,” Cole gave the other competitors something to shoot for.
Round two pitted BAKES NWI veterans versus some riders with a little something to prove. The seeding was as follows:
(#8) – Zach Schneider // OR vs. (#1) – Sam Cole // WA
(#3) – Rob Carter // OR vs. (#6) – Bret van den Heuvel // WA
(#2) – Nick Jones // WA vs. (#7) – Nick Cardoza // WA
(#4) – Brandon Robins // WA vs. (#5) – Thomas Olson // WA
Zach Schneider (Active Water Sports) came out firing but fell up short on his attempts paving the way to a third round entry for Sam Cole as he coasted with some stylie Backside 360′s. Next, Nick Cardoza hit two quality double ups (HS OA 360 / KGB) putting the pressure on Jones. Jones went for it all on a 900 attempt, but came up short allowing Cardoza to slide into his first ever round 3 slot. The next group featured 2-time BAKES NWI champion Bret V, who continually brings the pressure to the other riders. In his signature style, he went BIG and he went consistent scoring two tricks. Rob Carter then came out attempting to match Bret V, but in the end it was van den Heuvel moving on yet again…establishing his dominance and quickly pushing back to the top in the “favorites” category. Last, Robins hit another HS 540…but was bested by Tom Olson’s Frontside 720.
ROUND 3 MATCHUPS:
(#1) – Sam Cole // WA vs. (#6) – Bret van den Heuvel // WA
(#7) – Nick Cardoza // WA vs. (#5) – Thomas Olson // WA
Going into Round 3, Bret V put the pressure on top seed Sam Cole landing three staple tricks. Cole then pulled out the stops attempting three Heelside 720′s, but came up short all three times allowing Bret V yet another finals appearance. Finally, Cardoza came out and over rotated on a huge invert going down hard on what had to be one of the largest double ups of the day thrown by the Northwest Riders Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV. He then came up short on his final tricks giving Tom Olson his first finals for the event against his mentor Bret V.
The finals featured the most anticipated matchup possible pitting two Gig Harbor, WA riders and friends against each other as Teacher (Bret V) and apprentice (Tom O) set to square off. In uncharacteristic fashion, the higher seed (Olson / #5) decided to go first. Apparently, he knew what he was doing as he hit the best trick of the day with a Toeside 900…a trick that no one else had even come close on in the rough water at Lake Washington. However, a Heelside 360 that was not hit clean and a third trick that didn’t score, left the door open for a possible three-peat for van den Heuvel. Bret V came out big with a Stale Glide, followed by a huge Backside Off-Axis 360. With more work to be done to top the 900 … Bret V hit the biggest double up the competition has ever seen with a knee-destroying Heelside Indy Front…easily claiming the BIG Air prize.
As the crowd and other riders discussed who they thought took the top spot, the results amongst them were nearly 50/50 for each rider. Although Olson’s 900 was the hardest and most technical trick of the day, the judges were scoring in three categories. With points for technicality, amplitude, and style…no one could be quite sure who the winner was. As announcer Matt V took to the mic, the anticipation rose. The call came and Thomas Olson (Northwest Riders Clothing Co.) unseated the King of the BAKES NWI by the slimmest of margins and claimed his first ever major title as a wakeboarder.
1st Place – $1,000: Thomas Olson (#5 Seed)
2nd Place – $500: Bret van den Heuvel (#6 Seed)
3rd Place – $250: Sam Cole (#1 Seed)
Best Trick – $750: Thomas Olson (Toeside 900 // Finals)
Big Air – $750: Bret van den Heuvel (Heelside Indy Frontflip // Finals)
The 2008 BAKES Northwest Wakeboard Invitational was sponsored and supported by : Bakes Marine Center, Bakes Board & Ski, BakesOnline.com, Northwest Riders Clothing Company, and WakeboardNorthwest.com.
2008 BAKES NWI Rider List :
Bret V (Washington)
Brandon Robins (Washington)
Nick Jones (Washington)
Sam Cole (Oregon)
Nick Cardoza (SW Washington)
Nick Haisch (Washington)
Jeff Fabiani (Washington)
Rob Carter (Central Oregon)
Hunter Graham (Idaho)
Zach Schneider (Oregon)
Thomas Olson (Washington)
BAKES Marine, BAKES NWI, Brandon Robins, Bret V, Hunter Graham, Jeff Fabiani, Malibu Boats, Nick Cardoza, Nick Haisch, Nick Jones, Northwest Riders Clothing, Rob Carter, Sam Cole, Thomas Olson, WakeBoardNorthwest.com, Zach Scheider