Eleven riders, two converging waves and one contest to crown a champion of the double-up wake.
That was the scene on Lake Jessamine for Red Bull’s Double or Nothing by Parks Bonifay – the first of its kind in almost a decade.
The seventh edition of Red Bull Double or Nothing returned to the water where Guenther Oka took the crown after landing a first-ever trick in competition – a wrapped toe-side back 1080.
“Parks’ Red Bull Double or Nothing is a staple in wakeboarding for competition and for pushing the sport,” said Oka. “To walk away with the top spot is mind-boggling. I just couldn’t be more stoked right now.”
Longtime Red Bull athlete and wakeboarding legend Parks Bonifay created the event almost 20 years ago in 2004 to help progress the sport.
“I call it ‘Double or Nothing’ because there’s only one winner. It really pushes the guys to really go for tricks that they may only try in practice,” said Bonifay.
Since its inception, the event has helped take wakeboarding to the next level by pushing the limits of possibility in the sport by using the ‘double-up’ wake. This wake occurs when two seperate waves from a wake boat combine and amplify into an extra-large jump, allowing riders to go much higher than on a traditional wake. The 2020 edition of the event marked the first time since 2011 the contest has been held.
Eleven of the world’s top wakeboarders were invited to the contest: Danny Harf, Tyler Higham, Tony Iacconi, Lafferty, Rusty Malinkoski, Oka (Red Bull), Jake Pelot, Brenton Priestley, Nica Rapa, Teunissen (Red Bull), and Shota Tezuka (Red Bull).
All 11 riders were given six double-ups in Round 1 to perform their best trick. At the end of Day 1, four of the riders were selected to come back to the Finals: Nic Rapa, who placed fourth, Oka, Lafferty and Teunissen.
The Finals saw each rider hit 10 double-ups to complete his best trick. After a long day of big jumps, massive falls and jaw-dropping tricks, Guenther Oka came out on top after landing the wrapped toe-side back 1080 to claim a $10,000 prize from MasterCraft.
“It’s just really cool to see these riders charge so hard,” said Bonifay. “That’s why I made this event – to push the sport of wakeboarding.” Bonifay mentioned how he first saw a double-up wake early on in his career and knew they were important to the sport.
“The wakes were almost twice as small (back then),” said Bonifay, explaining that boat technology did not allow for single wakes to provide a big enough platform for big air tricks. That’s where double-ups came into play. After almost a decade since his last contest, Bonifay felt the time was right.
“As the boats changed and the riders got younger and better – it was a perfect time to have the contest,” said Bonifay.
Given the success of the event – Bonifay seems ready to continue the contest – albeit this time sooner than 2030.
“Red Bull Double or Nothing is back after ten years. But I guarantee you, we’re not waiting ten more.”