Real Wake 2018 contenders
Click through this handy gallery to learn more about the riders, filmers and judges in this year's Real Wake contest, starting with this guy right here: "I moved to California when I was 12 to live with Josh Twelker and his family, to ride a bunch with Josh," says Tyler Higham. "Of course, the support of my family has been huge. My parents have always been there for me. But if it wasn't for Josh and his family there is no way I would be here."
"Growing up, I was one of the biggest wake fans you could find," says Oka. "With a ton of determination and persistence I was able to work my way up into the pro ranks and find myself on top of multiple podiums. I began winching and pursuing professional boat riding a couple years ago, and now it's transformed into something bigger than I could have ever imagined."
"I grew up snowboarding and the old video parts always meant more to me than any contest results," says Real Wake 2017 gold medalist, Felix Georgii. "I've always been more of a freeriding type of guy. I don't like the vibes at contests when there is that tension in the air. It always felt better going out filming. It's a different kind of tension, and I can handle that a lot better."
Though he is only 20 years old, Thailand native Daniel Grant has won Wakeboard Magazine's "Wake Park Rider of the Year" award every year since 2011. "I am stoked to be part of this project," says Grant of his involvement in this year's Real Wake contest, "and to show what wakeboarding means to me."
"I don't hold back," says Lafferty. "It's all about progression for me. It's make or break. Either way, the sport is going to be pushed."
"I started wakeboarding in 1999. I fell in love with it and I haven't stopped doing it since," says Miller. "I've never really been into contests, partially because I suck at them, but I've made my mark on wakeboarding by doing things differently and filming video parts throughout my career. I've always been hugely influenced by wakeboard, snowboard and skateboard videos. I grew up in a small town of 1,500 people in Southeast Saskatchewan, and religiously watched the X Games, and am honored to now be a part of it."
Higham's Filmer: Trever Maur
"Trever is awesome. He works insanely hard on everything he does, and his eye for how he wants to film each trick is unreal. I'm super stoked he was my filmer/editor," says Higham of his filmer teammate, Trever Maur. "He is also a really good friend and that made it way easier. He has done a bunch of projects that I could go on and on about, but he filmed Josh Twelker's X Games part in 2016 that was a super sick section. And, of course, he did 'Dog Dayz,' a full-length that won 'Video of the Year' in 2016."
Georgii's filmer: Steffen Vollert
"Steffen is a really focused kind of person and always wants to do something," says Felix Georgii of his Real Wake 2017 gold-medal-winning filmer teammate, Steffen Vollert. "Not filming for a day is hard for him. He has a good drive to get everything going. He's pro on Slingshot so he is doing a lot for them, but also still rips on a wakeboard and gets clips everywhere he goes."
Oka's Filmer: Taylor Hanley
"I met Taylor a couple years back at Area 52 and asked him to film a small video for me," says Guenther Oka of his filmer teammate, Taylor Hanley. "Because of his unreal skills behind a lens, that video did huge things for my wakeboarding career. About three years ago, Taylor approached me with the idea of making a full-length wakeboard movie with a couple other unreal riders. Of course I said yes, and two years later he produced 'Formats Film,' one of the best wakeboard movies of all time. Filming Real Wake 2018 with him was a no brainer."
Lafferty's filmer: Aaron Rathy
"Aaron is a pro rider, the X Games Real Wake 2017 silver medalist and a very talented filmer," says Steel Lafferty about his filmer teammate, Aaron Rathy. "It's rad because we share a similar vision, and I don't need to worry if he's shooting it the right way because he also rides! He did my X Games part back in 2016 as well."
Grant's Filmer: Brandon Thomas
"BT is like my American dad," says Daniel Grant of his filmer teammate, wakeskater Brandon Thomas (pictured second from left). "I met him at CWC way back in 2011 at a comp. My first trip to the U.S. was to Orlando where I stayed with BT, and I've been staying with him ever since."
Miller's Filmer: Trevor Bashir
"I've known Trevor for about eight or nine years. I picked him because we live together for a good portion of the year and he's a great videographer," says Dylan Miller of his filmer teammate, Trevor Bashir. "We also have very similar taste in video production. Last year he filmed and edited Brenton Priestly's bronze-medal-winning Real Wake part."
Judge: Garrett Cortese
WHO: Full-time wakeboarding editor/photographer since 2005. HOW HE'S JUDGING: "Real Wake should showcase more than just a rider's skills, it should highlight his approach and creativity as well. I look for that creativity and how it complements each rider's riding. Wakeboarding always has been, and always will be, about innovation and progression, so new tricks or new variations on different tricks will always stand out."
Judge: Tom Fooshee
WHO: Ten-plus years judging park and boat events for the WWA. One of the first all-terrain riders. More Wake Park Championship titles than you can count. HOW HE'S JUDGING: "With a vast understanding and experience of all aspects of wake, I get how much work and risk goes into winching, as well as the spot choice and uniqueness. I also really appreciate a rider that uses all facets of wake. I look for a rider that is really progressing the sport, not only in trick choice and difficulty, but with individuality. I am looking for that WOW factor in a rider's part, something that leaves me saying, 'How is that possible?'"
Judge: Rob Corum
WHO: Professional wakeboard judge in the highest levels of competition in all aspects of the sport: boat, cable and winch. HOW HE'S JUDGING: "I'm looking for the riders to get outside of their comfort zone and be creative, with a mix of riding in boat, cable and winch. Riders pushing the limits on what is possible to do on a wakeboard will score highly in this contest."