An era of the sport of wake boarding as we have known it has ended. After 25 years the professional wakeboard tour has officially ended as Mastercraft boats has walked away from from being the tour title sponsor. I really miss those “hot summer nights” on ESPN for those of you who remember but I think this is pretty great decision that MC has made as I feel it’s time for some changes. Now, I will never forgot the incredible memories and great times that I have had traveling around with friends on the tour for many years and I thank the pro tour for that as well as all of the promotion they have done for the sport.
On the current tour the crowds are small, many of the riders runs look identical and we have judges who would prefer not to “rock the boat” so the riding really lacks personality. The Pro Tour has without a doubt hosted some of the best riding in the world but, going big is not the forte at these events so it is boring unless you understand the nuances of super technical riding, which isn’t good for spectators in my opinion.
Expensive boats are one of the reasons people are saying that wake boarding has not seen growth. It is true that pricey boats have priced many people out of the new boat market but, people will always love boats, myself included. There are quite a few boats for the consumer that are priced really well at the moment so you can get big wakes and a great boat that doesn’t cost as much as a house.
The cable is currently the main area where wake boarding is seeing growth. Between no boat purchase, gas and insurance, more people are flocking to the cable to get their riding in. There are more cable events than ever and kids now are able to have a chance at a career through cable riding. I think this actually adds to the total number of people riding boat as it means a higher total number of riders but it doesn’t do anything for boat contests. My hopes is that we will see new boat events emerge with different formats now that the MC pro tour is over.
I am just stating a few opinions here as I woke up to this surprising news this morning and decided to rant a bit. I am sure boat riding will live on and contests will continue to be a part of our sport but, I really hope we get back to our roots and remember why wake boarding was new and exciting back in the day. It didn’t look like trick skiing! Yep, trick skiing.