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Red Bull Step Up

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Orakei Korako “The Hidden Valley” Central North Island New Zealand

When you mention the term ‘wakeskating’ to people you might get a nod of understanding as they slot the sport right in there with wakeboarding. The difference is that wakeboards have bindings and wakeskates don’t. A wakeskate has grip tape on the top similar to a skateboard and the rider wears skateboard shoes in the water while being dragged behind a boat or jetski.

Wakeskating is a relatively new sport, the freedom of not being strapped into the board creates lots of new possibilities as the rider can ride on water similar to the way a skateboarder would in a skate park.

Some of the founding figures in wakeskating came together in Orakei Korako to be part of the Red Bull Step Up project. Four of the best internationals from Florida were present including Red Bull pro rider Brian Grubb, who was joined by Hyperlite teammate, wakeboarding legend and godfather; Scott Byerly. Scott is now solely devoted to progressing wakeskating along with Thomas Horrell, another instigator and creative propagator of the sport with Cassette teammate Aaron Reed.

The idea of Step Up was to create an environment to ride that had not been done before and one that would challenge the riders and push the sport to new levels.

The thermal waters and lush valley of Orakei Korako near Taupo was the setting for the Step Up box. This construction allows riders to ride in a large water trough six feet above the water so they can slide down rails to the lake below.

Each rider had four days at the resort to get used to the Step Up and start to apply their abilities. It took them no time to warm up and straight away all riders were being hauled by the jetski up the ramp into the trough and onto the rails and over onto the water below.

The guys pulled out a stunning array of tricks that were filmed and photographed for an upcoming documentary.

Photos: Graeme Murray