|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.