Normally, kickball is the sport you can see played with Hunger Games-style intensity at Mills Pond Park in Fort Lauderdale, but come September, it's wakeboarding that will take over the park. The world championships are set to be held here from September 11 to 14.
More than 200 wakeboarders and wakeskaters from 20 countries and ranging in age from 5 to 55 years old will participate, and the event should bring in a nice chunk of revenue as enthusiasts shack up at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa. The event is sponsored by Rockstar energy drink and Supra boats.
Terry Dorner, of Bonnier Events and Entertainment Group, which is organizing the event (Bonnier publishes Wakeboarding magazine), tells New Times that Fort Lauderdale "was chosen for the World Wakeboard Championships because it boasts a world-class watersports facility in Mills Pond. Because of its size and shoreline configuration, Mills Pond produces perfect, glassy water conditions allowing athletes to perform at their peak."
He also told us what a wakeskate is -- "a wakeboard with no bindings. The rider generally wears sneaker-type shoes to maintain a grip on the board. This allows the rider to perform skateboard-type maneuvers on the water. This aspect of the sport is extremely technical and difficult to perform well but is appreciated by boardsports fans across the spectrum. Some tricks to watch for are kick flips, body varials, shove-its, and 360-degree spins."
The event is free to the public for the first two days but switches to a ticketed event starting Saturday, September 13. Advance tickets cost $7 online or can be bought at the gate for $13 (adult), $5 (ages 6-12), and free (ages 5 and under).
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