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The Story Behind Red Bull's Step Up Event

Date: 02-16-2007
Author: Staff

Sometimes hindsight can prove to be enlightening when you're witnessing a young sport and art form grow into what it could one day become. This occurred to me when I was reflecting on the history that was made, and the subsequent progression that was brought to wakeskating as a result from the Red Bull Step Up and Adrift wakeskating projects.

Thinking back to the summer of 2002, an interview between Thomas Horrell and Brian Grubb was published in Alliance Wakeboard magazine. Given the nature of the Red Bull projects, one topic from their interview is now particularly relevant, one that was inspired by a skating event called, "The King of Skate." The idea behind the event was to collect a small number of riders and allow them the opportunity to create their own features, be judged by their peers, compete for a $25,000 winner-takes-all cash purse and the title of "KING OF SKATE!!" It would also be showcased as a Pay-Per-View event, which was the first of its kind. With that concept in mind, Thomas then posed the question: "...If somebody came to you and they were like, 'Here's ten grand.' What would you want to build?" Both then agreed on water gaps and legit handrails, but the topic ended with Thomas predicting, "I'm sure somebody will do it. Somebody will give some money to do it."

Three years later a special event would occur in wakeskating, whereby four riders would be assembled to help conceptualize and build a feature of their liking. Thanks to Ivan Mennim and Red bull New Zealand, in 2005, the Step Up wakeskating event took place in Orakei Korako, New Zealand, with the unique Adrift event following one year later. (Most appropriate is the fact that Thomas and Brian were involved in both of the Red Bull New Zealand wakeskating projects.)

Step Up was a groundbreaking project in that it laid out the blueprint for a progressive event with a "for the rider and for the sport" mentality. Similarly, Adrift built upon the experience from the previous year's structure, and ultimately made history with a number of progressive moves, with the most notable being a locked-for-five-frames backside tailslide. They're also special events because both were purist pursuits absent of crowds and fanfare, with nothing more than fun and progression in mind for all involved. And as a stark contrast to the Pay-Per-View format, both Red Bull events had DVDs produced to document the events, and they were distributed for free.

However, It's unfortunate that there isn't a lot of footage from the Step Up event floating around the US, outside of a few scattered clips in various videos, since that DVD never officially made it to the States. Luckily, Ivan kicked down a few copies, and now you have the chance to check out what REALLY went down at the Step Up event. To own one of three Step Up DVDs that we have, you have to design your own ideal wakeskate feature. Be creative and be progressive, and if we like your idea you'll walk away with a special DVD to help ward away the winter time blues.

Send a reasonable description or an illustration of your feature to by March 16th. From there, three winners will contacted by e-mail and we'll let them know just how awesome they really are...

And if you'd like to track down a copy of that memorable interview, look around for the September 2002.7 issue of Alliance Wakeboard.

just one??

it's magic!

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