Just a week ago I was packed up and on my way to Naples, Florida to participate in the 2015 Pro Watercross World Championship’s. Having never participated in a World Championship in Naples, I was unsure what to expect. This year’s drive to Naples was less than half of the typical journey to Lake Havasu and the temperature just as hot!
I chose to book at the host hotel. It was not the cheapest local option, but I have learned in life that you get what you pay for and this was no exception. The Resort was located on Naples white sand beach and boasted pools for both adults and jr adults as well as a private bar for guests. The rooms clean and properly furnished – overall a good experience. The restaurants on-site at the hotel were equally delightful with an array of good food and beverages.
It was a simple 13 minute drive from the host hotel to Sugden Park, with plenty of stores, restaurants and gas stations between to gather the days needs. The pit area was complete with a boat launch (perfect being that I left the ATVs at home), clean bathrooms and plenty of parking for racers and spectators alike. The lake was deep, calm, warm and proved to be a great location for a jet ski race! I only saw 1 snake and no gators in the 4 days that I rode on site.
The event ran well too. AJ beefed up the staff of personnel with a group of seasoned veteran’s from race directors to course marshals – The organizers did a fantastic job! A few delays occurred only as a result of some weather which effected the CBS recording tech. Throwback Thursday is a great concept – looking forward to seeing even more vintage craft on the water next year.
The amateur freestyle riders continue to raise the bar in insane ways. These guys put on a truly amazing show, with Jason Widdes taking top honors on both Friday and Saturday for the Amateur World Championship aboard his 900 cc Evolve Motors built Xscream craft. Jason would go on to move up to Pro for Sunday where he would also win that with a trick count of 44!
On Saturday the freestylers took to the water for the double-up freestyle exhibition. Freestylers were throwing down and attempting everything from one-handed back flips and under flips, to attempting to land that coveted double-back. Make sure you check out my helmet cam footage below for all of the action that was not Live Streamed!
Special thanks to all of my sponsors and supporters for making this season happen: Twangled, Backie Chan, Born2Flip, Hydro-Turf, ODI, Lucas Oil, Spy, Hot Products, Xscream, DASA, Riva, Fast Elements, ADA, SBT & ProRider.
Sunday evening hosted the first rider banquet that I have had the privilege of attending since the days of the Big Red National Tour back in 97 and 98. Those banquets were always so professional and a great way to end the season – with everyone sitting down to a meal as a family. AJ did a fantastic job of replicating this experience and elevating our sport once again. I wish I had remembered my Backie Chan Back Flip Tie – seems like the best place for it!
The CBS and local Naples Newspaper coverage have proven fantastic, and combined with our industry media support from The Watercraft Journal and Pro Rider made for a well-covered event.
Huge shout out to Jessica Waters from Waters Edge Photography for taking and sharing hundreds of amazing action photos, including the 4 of me below!
All in all I had a great time. The crew was very friendly and professional. Already looking forward to next year’s event! Stay tuned for more video coming soon…In the meantime please enjoy a few minutes of helmet cam from the Double-Up Freestyle exhibition!
Congratulations to ALL of the 2015 Pro Watercross World Champions
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2015
Pro-Am Runabout Open – James Bushell, Cambridge, UK
Pro-Am Ski GP – Chris Macclugage, Lake Havasu, AZ
Pro-Am Runabout Stock – Troy Snyder, Bradenton, FL
Sport GP – Billy Dearman, Madison, MS
Pro Freestyle – Jason Widdes, Chicago, IL
Pro-Am Ski Open – Tyron Motzouis, Empangeni, South Africa
Pro-Am Women’s Ski Ltd – Bibi Carmouche, Phoenix, AZ
Pro-Am Runabout SS – Stan Hightower, Lindale, GA
Pro-Am Runabout BOX Stock – Billy Dearman, Madison, MS
Junior Ski 10-12 Stock – Haden Skellett, Port Charlotte, FL
Junior Ski 13-15 Limited – Matt Richuk, High Point, NC
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2015
Amateur Freestyle – Jason Widdes, Chicago, IL
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2015
Pro-Am Ski Limited – Bibi Carmouche, Phoenix, AZ
Pro-Am Ski Lites – Callaway Turner, Apex, NC
Pro-Am Runabout GP – Cameron Frame, Charleston, WV
Pro-Am Runabout Limited – Travis Zielasko, Lake Worth, FL
Women’s Runabout Limited – Shante Bukes, South Africa
Sport Stock – Sam Nehme, Cooper City, FL
Junior Ski 10-12 Lites – Haden Skellett, Port Charlotte, FL
Junior Ski 13-15 Lites – Matt Richuk, High Point, NC
Junior Ski 13-15 Stock – Matt Richuk, High Point, NC
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2015
Amateur Ski GP – Jordon Carroll, Fowery Branch, GA
Expert Ski Limited – Pete Kuncinski, Largo, FL
Expert Runabout Limited – Victor Nolan
Expert Runabout Open – Jeff Dyckowski, Rydel, GA
Runabout N/A – Rob Greenwald, Marietta, GA
Throwback Thursday Classes
Runabout 800 Superstock – Tim Ducat, Belleview, FL
Vintage X2 – Gary Burtka, Rolling Meadows, IL
Vintage Ski 550 – Clay Barbee, Houston, TX
TUESDAY – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22-23, 2015
Amateur Runabout Box Stock – Rashed Aldawas, Kuwait City, Kuwait
Amateur Runabout Stock – Juan Rada, Medellin, Colombia
Amateur Runabout 2-stroke Limited – Robert Sayah, Naples, FL
Amateur Runabout 1000 cc – Robert Sayah, Naples, FL
Amateur Ski Lites – Callaway Turner, Apex, NC
Novice Runabout Limited – Rashed Aldawas, Kuwait City, Kuwait
Novice Runabout Stock – Rashed Aldawas, Kuwait City, Kuwait
Novice Ski Limited – Laura Milone, Delray Beach, FL
Novice Women’s Ski Limited – Laura Milone, Delray Beach, FL
Masters Ski GP – Kirk Britto, Bradenton, FL
Runabout Lites – Paul Green, Toronto, Canada
Veterans Runabout SS – Jeff Dyckowski, Rydel, GA
Veteran’s Ski GP – Pete Zernik, Sacramento, CA