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Siargao Wakepark Live 2024
Siargao Wakepark Carves Its Name on the World Wakeboard Map
photos by Johanna Serrano
words by Pia Lopez
Siargao Wakepark inaugurated the first international live event in Siargao, Philippines last Saturday, February 10. The wakeboarding exhibition showcased the highest caliber of cable wakeboarding from an athlete line-up of World Champions, World Wakeboard (WWA) and IWWF title holders, prodigies, and progressors of the sport from France, the United Kingdom, Austria, Philippines, and Belgium.
Arkimagine Manila delivered a complete broadcast production with multiple camera angles including drone. Live coverage intermixed with action, commentating, athlete interviews, and sponsor giveaways and streamed on YouTube and Facebook.
Siargao Wakepark has ushered in a new era for the sport of wakeboarding in Siargao by bringing international attention through top-tier cable riding and proving the park’s capacity to hold a world-class wakeboarding event. And the wakeboard world got a glimpse of Siargao Island’s beauty. The Philippine surfing capital is fast becoming an all water sports destination.
The event boasted chief riders from all over. Red Bull rider Dominik Hernler from Austria, aka The Magician, is “one of the most talented rail riders on the wake scene. A familiar face of FISE, Red Bull, X Games, and others, he has had his fair share of gold medals and podium walks for more than a decade. He is known to be one of the innovators of the sport.
2022 Cable Wakeboarding Double World Champion Liam Peacock from the UK is one of the major players in the wake scene at present. He was joined by countryman Matt Muncey, who was recently voted “European Standout Rider of the Year” by Cable Magazine.
The prodigious Charraud Brothers are the French delegates of the event. Older brother, Jules Charraud is a Red Bull athlete and a familiar face in the podiums. He won 1st place in the FISE Battle of the Champions and 2nd place in the FISE World Series at Montpellier in 2019. Some say he stacks the most complete riding technique.
Younger brother, Camille Charraud, a Junior Men's International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) World Champion, is quickly following in his footsteps and already making a name for himself.
Two delegates represented the Philippines. Raph Trinidad is a name to remember, as he holds the Philippines’ shot for a world championship. Trinidad won a world championship medal in his very first international competition in the World Cable Wakeboarding Championships in Argentina. He also gained 2nd place in the 2022 IWWF World Championships in Thailand. Carlo De La Torre, veteran wakeboarder dubbed “Asia’s most renowned wakeboarder” is another equally big name to note. He will be co-hosting and riding in the event.
Belgium’s finest riders topped off the list. Glenn Vandenberghe is WWA World Champion. Louis Eggerickx is the event’s youngest rider and rising star from Belgium with multiple IWWF and WWA podiums over the last 2 years in both wakeboarding and wakeskating. And you may recognise Guy Vanryckeghem, who is the official poster rider of Siargao Wakepark, this underrated rider is a force to be reckoned possessing top technical riding.
The poolgap was upgraded for the event, re-designed and built by the riders of the show. It packed spicy features like the Unit Parktech spine kicker and pipe, the “Kanar” booster-kicker into a mega wall, and multiple rails and ledges.
The Main Event
“We saw lines and flips we never imagined possible.”
Tom Soupart, Event Organizer
Saturday afternoon, a lakeside crowd held its breath in anticipation. Liam Peacock, drops a half cap flip rail transfer from the top into a massive back roll with backside 360 (KGB) and finishes with a double back roll over the spine kicker. The crowd goes wild! Opening the show in high precedence, other riders followed suit delivering full park action. Dominik Hernler answers with a 270° pipe to concrete rail transfer, earning him Best Line for stylish, technical riding. Each rider has a turn for each category and the best ride is determined by vote. Raphael Trinidad outdoes himself, landing his first backside 1080,° and the crowd erupts. This first time trick earns him the Best Kicker Spin. But the double flips are rare, and Liam’s double backroll earns him Best Airtrick. All of this being broadcasted to fans around the world through a livestream, enabled by GOMO’s high speed network. Liam shares, “I think for me this brought together all the best things of an event that we love: a crowd lakeside at the park, a live stream with people watching from all around the world, all of us riding this unique set-up with our competitive instincts kicking in as we try and one up each other with our riding. The vibes were all-time with riding continuing into the night with a floodlight set up, surrounded by a crowd with front row seats to the action. For me, this is one of my favourite events I’ve had the pleasure of riding in recent years!”
Belgium teammates Guy and Glenn snatch the Doubles award on a seemingly choreographed run riding in synchrony down the pool gap rails and throwing 270°and 450° spins on top of another, then riding in close tandem on the pipe, to finish off by ascending in both kickers up the pool gap. “I love how the Doubles (category) showcases all the features in the park because they are forced to. There are two of them and they have to go a certain way,” Tom comments enthusiastically.
During the last doubles run, legends Dominik and Liam hold hands on the pipe, a gesture of camaraderie and fun that seems so entrenched in water sports.
Athletes rode straight through Siargao’s majestic sunset, which backlit the Wall for the most picturesque aerial tricks. The Best Wall award was up at stake, with Dominik wagering five attempts and landing a massive backmobe. Liam answers back by landing a more polished backmobe on his second attempt and tops it off with a Pete Rose flip over the pool gap and into the wall. The riders threw down quite a finale!
Awarding, champagne, and fireworks concluded the event in one of the most picturesque wakepark settings in the world.
Save the sunset drone shots in your memory!
After a massively successful event, main mastermind Tom reflects, “It’s amazing how quickly this all came together. Starting January, we received confirmation from Jules and Camille Charraud and Liam Peacock. Then we instantly booked the livestream and collected the needed partners. From there we launched into a rollercoaster of events, constructing the new features as well as building the marketing for the event. Liam Peacock absolutely blew our minds with his show and performance. He was the stand out rider of the week by far!
Everyone did a great job and the level of riding exceeded all expectations! Thank you so much everyone. We are proud to have been able to accommodate these top athletes and give them the challenging platform they require to perform their best.”
Words from the Riders
“Siargao Live" definitely falls in the category of events like “Waldbad Summer Jam” or “The Unofficial,” which are my favorite events of last year. Where it’s more about getting together and having a good time on and off the water than just competing and upping one another.
In my opinion the setup was still better than the ones at most of the big events and has big potential to become one of the main events on the wakeboard scene every year.
Big thanks to Tom and the team of Siargao Wakepark for putting on such an amazing event at arguably the most beautiful spot to wakeboard.”
Carlo De La Torre
“This was more than just your run of the mill competition... it's a jam session. This was a gathering of like-minded individuals that want the best vibes for our culture and sport, and not just for money or a medal. Got to see how this event shaped up over the months leading up to it and it definitely surpassed my wildest expectations. Truly a great representation of what direction the community should be headed towards and is the reason many of us got into it to begin with. Kudos to Tom and the Siargao wakepark staff, yall have your biggest fan in me. Absolutely #homiesapproved see yall next year!”
“Being my first time in Siargao, I can definitely say it really is paradise.
Wakeboarding, Surfing, & Foiling, you name it! You can do almost all the watersports you wanna do.
The Siargao Wakepark Live Event was one of the best and funnest events I’ve ever been to over the years. Having riders from around the world and the crowd just hyping everyone up really emphasizes what wakeboarding events are all about.
Best riding, Great vibes, and an all around good time.
Big ups to Tom and his team for making all this possible. And, I am definitely looking forward to the next one.”
“For sure this is what I love the most about wakeboarding!
Riding with friends, pushing and cheering each other without any pressure, what a sick vibe!
The whole day and the night was crazy. It was really insane to see everyone giving their best here!
Thank you, Siargao Wakepark!”
“This showcase of wakeboarding is what it’s all about. A bunch of people coming together to show off what is possible if the setup in the park is properly gnarly. A free flowing event where it’s not about who can spin the most to win something. Rather a get-together of all levels where every rider tries to bring a unique approach which suits his style best. Talking location-wise, this event showed local people, travelers, and online watchers what wakeboarding can be on a remote island if the host comes from a wakeboard background. This truly is an event which has so much potential and will have sparked interest from riders of all levels to maybe join in for an upcoming event in the future. Big ups Tom, this was the best!”
What's next ?
Siargao Wakepark aims to make this a yearly event. There will be a call for longterm partners soon, so all businesses or brands can prepare their budgets already if needed. The actual concept is up for change and all input is welcome. If interested please contact Siargao Wakepark through any preferred channel.
A big thank you to GOMO for providing the riders their much needed data packages and connection on the island of Siargao and for the livestream, which enabled all who couldn’t attend to still tune in to the Siargao Wake Park Live Event. The first digital telco brand in the Philippines and a brand which consistently finds ways to support events where passion, interest, and adventure transpire. Like our amazing wakeboarders, GOMO believes that the pursuit of adventure and thrilling experiences is one of the most important aspects of living life to the fullest. This sponsorship aims to share the same experience to those who seek to get 'Mo out of life.GOMO’s High Speed No Expiry data can be used however you want, from staying online and sharing your adventures, to swapping your GBs for travel, food, and fitness vouchers, possible only through the GOMO PH App.
Furthermore a big appreciation for our Gold Partners: System 2.0, Unit Parktech, Homies Approved, Lakeside Paradise, Siargao Island Villas, Siargao Watersports, Prime Mates Boardclub, Bravo Beach Resort, Harana Surf Resort, Lubihan Siargao, Yay Lodge, Explorers’ Bar, Sidargo, Redbull Philippines
About Siargao Wakepark
The wakepark sits like an island amid a sea of coconuts, a canvas for wake tricks as cable lines run continuously around two man-made “lakes'' connected by a pool gap of ledges, rails, and kickers. A dreamy setting of green and blue hues, the park has an “island” aesthetic quite distinct from conventional cable parks of urban surroundings.
Construction of the wakepark dates back to 2016 and the process was not devoid of the ever looming ‘island’ challenges such as difficulty of sourcing and transporting materials and debilitating rain during Amihan season. They opened doors to the public in 2018 introducing wake sports and hydrofoiling.
Siargao Wakepark has endured through a pandemic and category five typhoon. This all due to the undeniable efforts of the park founders and team. Indeed, their passion for the sport is contagious, and they seem to run on an endless battery supply, relentlessly working, promoting, and finding time to teach and play. The Siargao Wakepark founders have been priming Siargao to be a world-class destination for cable wakesports, a good counterpart to surfing. Their efforts are finally bearing a big harvest, and the local wake sports community continues to grow exponentially through their efforts.
and press updates
Email at siargaowakepark@ gmail . com
Call or Text, WhatsApp +63 917 670 1667
A big thank you to the sponsors and partners who make this event possible:
System 2.0, Unit Parktech
Homies Approved, Lakeside Paradise
Siargao Island Villas, Siargao Watersports
Prime Mates Boardclub
Bravo Beach Resort, Harana Surf Resort
Lubihan Siargao, Yay Lodge
Explorers’ Bar Sidargo
Thank you Steffen Vollert and Kaikoa Official for these great pictures !