x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Waters too choppy for competition

The world's best wakeboard riders are forced to delay their competitive Abu Dhabi debuts after strong winds produced an unsafe environment at the Corniche.

ABU DHABI // The world's best wakeboard riders were yesterday forced to delay their competitive Abu Dhabi debuts after strong winds produced an unsafe environment at the Corniche. Wakestock Abu Dhabi officially got under way with a local qualifying round on Thursday, but yesterday was supposed to see the introduction of riders such as Dallas Friday, considered the world's most successful female wakeboarder, and Aaron Rathy, the 2009 Rider of the Year.

But with rough, choppy waters brought on by high winds, organisers were obliged to reschedule the quarter-finals of the World Series event to 10am today. They will be followed immediately by the latter stages. "Wakeboarding requires flat water and there is a certain point where the wind is too strong and the water chops up, making it dangerous to host an event. It was definitely past that point," said Mark Durston, the Wakestock founder.

In a bid to appease the strong crowd that had made their way to the beach for the UAE capital's first international wakeboard competition, the organisers held an alternative cable-based event that rewarded the three best tricks of the day. The professionals, Padiwat Jaemjan of Thailand and the American duo JD Webb and Adam Errington, shared the US$750 (Dh2,754) prize purse. "We wanted to ride properly," said Jaemjan, who has competed in the US and at previous Wakestock events in the UK. "But in the afternoon we went for a couple of rides and it was just so dangerous."

Durston said if the poor weather continues he will speak to the city's municipality and Flash Entertainment, the event's production company, to check the potential of rolling the final over to tomorrow. "Unless you put a roof over the water, you can't do much else," he said. gmeenaghan@thenational.ae