The beach may be within reach, but the waves are always flowing at Rapids Waterpark, which hosted the first of ten events on the 2015 North American FLOW Tour this past weekend. Located in Riviera Beach, Florida, Rapids Waterpark is the go to place if you are looking to cool off from the sun and have a splashing good time in South Florida.
A field of 35 plus competitors, all ages and skill levels, showcased their talent on the FlowRider® Double surf simulator as the sport of flowboarding took center stage in front of observing spectators, park guests, friends and family members at Rapids Waterpark.
Hosting events on the FlowRider gives local riders and customers more incentive to improve their skills, generate repeat business for the venue, and provides a lot of excitement and entertainment whether you are riding or spectating.
Tina Hatcher, Rapids spokeswoman, told media representatives that in their three years of hosting contest, this was a first to be featured on the FLOW Tour prime schedule that allows riders to earn points to their national rankings. This vastly increased the number of traveling competitors along with the number of bystanders.
“Rapids puts a lot of effort behind the scenes to promote the sport of flowboarding so it was only fitting to take their events to the next level” mentioned FLOW Tour Coordinator, Adam Muller. “The event had a great turnout and the talent level was high,” Muller added.
The event attracted top flowboarders who flocked from all over the country (Florida, California, Utah, Texas, Virginia, and New Jersey), turning the venue into a sporting arena as riders start their campaign for a National Title.
Rapids Director of Marketing & Sales, Bob Morgan, explained that “One of our goals as a venue for the event was to draw Pro competitors from outside the state of Florida, and bring attention to the waterpark and community.” The event had approximately twenty Pro riders so it’s safe to say they fulfilled that goal!
Pro competitors such as Sean Silveira, Nick Nguyen, Brad Spencer and Xana Nash (all former or defending World Champions) were in attendance along with other notable names like Nick Sanchez, Chuck Wright and Dee Spencer (Yes, Dee and Brad are a married flowboarding power couple) as they battled it out for Tour standings and cash awards.
In the Pro Flowboard Division, defending World Champion, Sean Silveira (26) came out on top holding off top contenders like Chuck Wright, Scott Callens and others, by riding smooth and consistent and displaying a high level riding. Brad Spencer, who was not far behind, gave Silveira a run for his money in the Final with an excellent performance of difficult maneuvers.
Nick Sanchez (18), 2014 National Bodyboard Champion, went to work with quick combinations and high risk maneuvers to overtake the current World Champion, Nick Nguyen, who was runner up in the division followed by Andrew Shelton and Andrew O’Conner rounding out the top four finishers -all will be adding dollar bills to their piggy banks.
While the sport is perceived to be predominantly for young men, the number of women competing is growing each year and so is their level of riding. Supported by Calavera swimwear, the 2015 FLOW Tour features a Women’s Pro Division where Dee Spencer, Xana Nash and Austyn Bynon demonstrated that girls flow at a high level too!
Dee Spencer of Utah took top honors in the first event of the year and we look forward to watching these girls battle it out all season long while encouraging other female riders to participate.
FLOW Tour events not only welcomes but also encourages novice and intermediate riders to participate, have fun, and win prizes!
The Amateur class has divisions available for all ages. Throughout the day, amateur riders impressed the crowd and judges. Matt East, a local rider from Florida, claimed the Men’s Flowboard division, narrowly beating out his riding buddy Tyler Rohaley.
In the Men’s Bodyboard division, Jordan Grigg, rose to the occasion and seized the top of the podium to kick off the year as he held off Josh Kapp, Gary Poe and Zach Lenz in the Finals.
With one event down and nine to go before determining the Tour Champions, the FLOW Tour is off to a great start. As always we would like to thank our contributing sponsors and tilt our hats to the amazing staff at Rapids Waterpark for all their efforts and hospitality.
The Tour heads to Corpus Christi -Texas, where Hurricane Alley Waterpark will open their doors for competition on May 16th.