FLOW Tour Heats Up Las Vegas

FlowRider Leader, Marshall Myrman, Recaps

The FLOW Tour prime event #7 headed out to Las Vegas for some fun in the sun this past weekend, and what fun it was.  With Aaron Rodriquez, General Manager of Aquatics and FlowRider® Operations at Planet Hollywood, and his staff providing the ultimate in hospitality, the event went off like clockwork.  But the story of the FLOW Tour is one of much behind the scenes work to have a successful competition “Saturday.”

I will leave the official event results and recap to Adam Muller, who does a very nice job coordinating 30+ events per year.  And, since I travel to about 2 events every year, I am the perfect beta to see improvement.  Not only the improvement in riding skills, which is significant, but also the improvement in technology and organization.

First the technology and organization.  FlowRider, Inc. commits valuable resources to making sure we have a FLOW Tour year after year.  It does not pay for itself, and I am thrilled that our parent company, Whitewater West, endorses my view on the Tour, and is also pleased with the job Adam does handling this responsibility.

This event was extremely well organized and the heats moved along throughout the day seamlessly.  Andy Hasse (MC and judge), Rob Chalfant (head judge), Jake Fassett (WaveHouse SD Wave Ops Manager) Adam (EverReady bunny, judge, and organizer) and volunteers, such as Nick Sanchez and Daniel Tarapchak to assist when necessary, provided judging that was excellent from start to finish.  By the way, this is a thankless job, and only open to criticism and long hours.  Years ago, we were using stopwatches and today we have heat timers, we are streaming live video on and making progress to someday having a full live broadcast.  We will continue to try to up our game in all aspects, to the best of our budgetary means.

Second, the skill level.  All levels of the comp were ripping it up, from the groms to the open divisions and beyond.  Dee Daniels continues to set the bar for the Professional Women.  Her combination of athleticism and skill is at the highest level and she continues to nail kick flips with amazing consistency and amplitude.  Easily the best I have witnessed from a woman in the years I have been popping in and out of events.

The Pro Men’s though, that was crazy.  Jake Chipman, Scotty Callen, and TK Barreto and their collective incredible skills are leading a new wave of talent.  In the end though, the final between Sean Silveira and Brad Spencer was the best I have ever seen.  In fact, the people I felt the worst for were the judges.  Eight hours of BAKE in the Vegas sun, then to have to call a final that was one spectacular run after another – a complete heavyweight slugfest.  One of the best finals I have ever seen.  After Brad’s first run, I thought it was over, with 7 flips of varying degrees back to back to back……. Then Sean answered back, then Brad, then Sean with a run that he opened up by riding reverse and with three straight flips – it was incredible, and in front of an audience of global experts (that showed up for this weekend’s US Open of Flowboarding at Wave House San Diego) – the godfather, Greg “Laz” Lazarus, Barrel World Champion Eric Silverman, expert bodyboarder champ Billy Tennent, Wesley Fischer and former Barrel champ Clayton Barker – the one thing that was unanimous? A final to remember.

With respect to the venue, Planet Hollywood’s pool deck has been completely transformed in the last 18 months, since the arrival of the FlowRider.  I was actually on the pool deck on June 28th, 2014 and it was DOA.  With 100 degrees of perfect sun and only 8 people on the deck at 2:00 PM – a total shocker.  This past weekend was a different scene entirely.  The pool area was hopping – a complete madhouse amidst party revelers of all ages, bikini contests, and the FlowRider competition, as well as a well-oiled food and beverage machine.  It really fires me up to be at these events, see the commitment, the skill, and the fun.  The other awesome thing to witness is the many parents who continue to bring their children and young adults to compete, year after year.  That is what makes the Tour worthy of continual investment.  Besides, when you are as old as me, the only way to feel young is hang around young people!!

See you in San Diego,

Marsh (@flowriderldr)