While much of the sport’s attention has focused on the IJSBA, APBA, and USWRA in recent months, yet another multi-initialed body has recently come into being, the World Freestyle Watercross Alliance, or WFWA.
Created by current and former pro freestyle competitors Eric Malone, Josh Lustic, Brad Lustic, and Lloyd Burlew, the WFWA’s goal is to further the sport of PWC freestyle by taking competition and exhibition events a step further into the extreme sports realm while simultaneously bringing spectators closer to the action. Just how the group plans to do that is by featuring what is being called a "street course," a venue that includes obstacles already made familiar by skateboarding, snowboarding, and wakeboarding, including ramps, sliders and gaps. Conventional, flat water freestyle tricks would still be performed in what is being called a "freeride" area of the course.
The concept has some history. Burlew included two five-foot jumps in exhibitions put together several years back. According to WFWA organizers, however, those relatively small jumps failed to compare to ocean wave riding, a venue that offered enough air time that riders were able to push the sport by inventing new maneuvers such as back flips and double barrel rolls. After coming to the realization that flat-water freestyle was becoming rather "boring," it was Malone who reportedly began to look into ways of bringing the big wave surf style to flat water. His solution was to bring in the use of larger jumps. Contacting Burlew and the Lustic brothers shortly after the World Finals, the crew soon put together a sample 12-foot vert ramp and the high-flying antics began. Along the way the foursome also brought in the street theme from skate and snow, adding rails and gaps that they hope will push the sport of freestyle back into the limelight, and ultimately position it for inclusion in both the X Games and Gravity Games.
Malone and crew currently have ten exhibitions on the schedule for 2004, with stops at major water festivals including Milwaukee SummerFest and Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta. Even better exposure should come through a pair of exhibitions planned for the WFWA’s holy grail, this summer’s Gravity Games and X Games.
For more information on the WFWA, log onto the organization’s Web site at www.wfwaalliance.com. psb
Copyright 2004 Powersports Business