2014 SURF GATE FIRSTHAND RECAP
With a mission to improve and enhance the activity of wakesurfing on all levels, the second-annual SURF GATE Firsthand event took place April 28-30 in Pismo Beach, California with a group of 45 ambassadors including industry experts, media members, pro riders and representatives of Malibu Boats.
Malibu’s marketing team, athletes, sales reps and product development staff were on hand to collaborate, network and return with valuable feedback on wakesurfing with SURF GATE®, the innovation founded in 2012 that has changed wakesurfing forever.
Designed as an invite-only, extraordinary wakesurfing experience, SURF GATE Firsthand ran a contest through Facebook, giving away two free VIP invites to this unprecedented event. To enter, fans had to explain their best wakesurfing experience behind a Malibu. Mike and Jenny King of Belmont, California won the contest and experienced five-star accommodations, gourmet cuisine and world-class wakesurfing behind a 2014 WAKESETTER 23 LSV, Axis Wake T22 and A24 Liquid Force Edition, supplied by VS Marine and Etco Marine.
Cash prizes in several categories were awarded to individuals who excelled and embodied the spirit of SURF GATE Firsthand both on and off the water. An award for Best Team was added this year, setting the stage for an entertaining and comedic vibe surrounding the festivities.
Alliance MultiMedia participated in full force, bringing their media team as well as pro surfer, Pat Millin from Cardiff, California. After a welcome reception on Monday night, Tuesday brought clean, 4-5 foot waves to Pismo Beach, where a group of 12 surfers took to the ocean while many more watched from the shore. Click here to see the surfing photo gallery.
Tuesday also included a laid-back day of wakesurfing on Lopez Lake in the hills of Central California. With a sunny day and temperatures in the 80’s, energy ran high and SURF GATE waves ran for hours as everybody got warmed up for Wednesday’s main event.
On Wednesday morning, Malibu CEO Jack Springer addressed the crowd with Marketing Coordinator, Bryant Thomas. Four teams of seven riders were announced and assembled. Throwing down the gauntlet early for a Best Team performance, “The Minions” rallied with their matching T-shirts, inflatable Body Glove hands and a fun attitude.
Malibu Pro Team rider Brian Grubb shredded for two-days straight with his skate-style tricks, fluid rhythm and SURF GATE transfers. After landing a 360 shove-it, Grubb stuck a backside big spin that would later win “Best Trick” at the awards ceremony. Corey Moratta, Associate Publisher of Alliance WAKEBOARD, brought the heat as a strong supporter of the event while demonstrating leadership and orchestrating high-end shenanigans, like wrangling a towable whale to kick things up a notch for his team behind the boat. Moratta won the MVP award for his performance and his squad, #TeamGoBoating won Best Team.
#TeamGoBoating consisted of Moratta, Malibu pro team rider Johnny Stieg, Axis pro team riders Tom Fooshee and Trever Maur, the WWA’s Rob Corum, freelance adventure writer Billy Brown, Arun Frances of WakeWorld.com, and Minnesota wakesurfer Stacia Bank. Each team member took their own “selfie” with the team before their run and the group got creative with new ways to ride and share laughs on the water. Moratta was still amping days later when we talked to him about his experience: “It’s an honor to receive an invite to this event and with surfing at the beach this year, it was almost waterman’s overload,” Moratta said. “#TeamGoBoating, tried to emulate what a day in the boat is all about - having fun with friends, with the only performance expectation to have the most enjoyable time possible. We had music, effortless waves provided by Malibu and an environment only California can provide. It really doesn't get much better than that. Apparently our team just ‘lived it’ a bit more than the other teams that day. YEEEW!” More on Moratta’s MVP performance will be up soon in the NEWS section at MalibuBoats.com.
Malibu took this event as an opportunity to announce the addition of Stacia Bank to its Pro Team and her husband, Chris Bank won Best Transfer for his smooth, double-grabbed air. Pat Millin impressed everybody with his surf skills and had fun working the endless SURF GATE wave, winning Most Improved. Etco Marine’s Chad Borba won Best Crash for the second year in a row. Borba is always a contender for MVP, bringing great energy to the event.
After the ceremony, Danny Gasper, Malibu’s director of product development, collaborated with all the participants to help shape the future of wakesurfing and the overall towed-watersports experience. Jack Springer thanked the attendees and concluded the event by highlighting the best stories from another unforgettable SURF GATE Firsthand.
See why all surf systems are not created equal. For more on SURF GATE® by Malibu, CLICK HERE.
PHOTO GALLERIES (All images by Kevco)
#4: Main Event
#6: VIP Gallery - Mike & Jenny King (May 16)
#7: MVP Corey Moratta & #TeamGoBoating Gallery (May 17)