2019 was the 14th year of the most anticipated park style competition on the planet; the Wind Voyager Triple-S Invitational. A week long event located in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and hosted by Real Watersports.
From the very beginning Real has led the charge when it comes to pushing park style riding, grooming some of the top riders like Brandon Scheid, Eric Rienstra and Sensi Graves. Originally the format included a freestyle element and a surf element, but in 2012 Real saw the potential for park style to grow and focused the event strictly on features.
As stated by the name, The Wind Voyager Triple-S Invitational is a predominantly invite only event, however there are two ways to secure a place in the competition. The first is through a wild card video contest, and the second through entering and winning the Wind Voyager Triple-s Open two days prior to the main contest.
Each year the bar is raised, bringing something new and exciting to the table, and for the first time in it’s history, 2019 saw equal prize money for both men and women with a combined prize purse of $70,000.
The week started out with the Wind Voyager Triple-S Open. The event was able to run despite challenging side off conditions. Hometown hero Aaron Roberts took home first place (a welcome return after he got knocked out of the contest last year). Nadja Bianchet who proved that she was a more than capable candidate with some serious skills on the sliders took the win for the women.
After managing all the media output for past events, sometimes editing video until seven in the morning, it was a welcome relief that my job this year was to capture photos alongside industry legend Toby Bromwich. Tom Court, Vincent Bergeron and Jeffrey O’Neil took care of the video side of things coming up with some awesome BTS content.
The announcement of the open winners also marked the start of the main contest and a week of insane parties the first of which was hosted by Mix Master Mike of the Beastie Boys and world champion DJ Cubert.
Despite a questionable forecast in the run up to the event, this year turned out to be great for conditions with wind almost every day, creating the perfect playing field for competitors to battle it out and allowing for some incredible riding, And that’s what we saw.
Key players from the past few years have been Sam Light, Ewan Jaspan, Brandon Scheid, Aaron Hadlow, Colleen Carroll, Karolina Winkowska and Christophe Tack. People like Sam, Ewan, Brandon and Colleen have all taken the top spots on the podium on numerous occasions, so it was exciting to try and figure out what combination would make it this year and if there will be any wild cards to steal a spot from the big names. Each year, people like Alex Maes, Ramiro Gallart, Izzie Von Zastro and Noe Font quietly creep up the ranks putting pressure on the big guys.
One person who wasn’t likely to be fazed was Brandon Scheid. Brandon started out in the event as a young up-and-comer only to go on and win the event more times than any other competitor, pretty much remaining on the podium ever since. The past few years though, he has watched his stronghold on first place be taken by Sam Light multiple times and Ewan Jaspan in 2017. He did manage to secure it back last year.
With perfect conditions this year his chance at retaining the title was better than ever and it was obvious from the start that he wanted it. Just being on the spectators’ dock and hearing the oo’s and ahh’s you knew it was likely coming from Brandon pulling off one of many highly technical manoeuvres with twice as much speed and power than the rest of the pack. It was really a spectacle to watch and I got an incredible sequence of him going huge off the Wind Voyager Kicker.
Other stand outs were people like Annalous Lammerts who was raising the bar when it comes to technicality and power. Something that in years past hasn’t really been associated with womens’ riding. This year it was clear that she had been putting the time in and wanted to secure a top spot on the podium.
With exciting days on the water, the evenings brought OBX night life to a whole new level with bands and DJ’s every night leading up to the grand finale and awards party.
The final night was one to remember and filled with anticipation as everyone made their guesses as to who would make it onto the podium. I think regardless, it was clear from the action in the finals that Brandon, Ewan and Sam would make it into the top 5, but the exact combination and the other two podium placers were somewhat of a toss up.
As for the women, both reigning champ Karolina Winkowska and Annelous Lammerts had been battling it out along with three-time Triple-S winner Colleen, so it was looking like some combination would make it to the stage. When the results were announced, it was exciting to see Annelous took first place and Izzy Von Zastro, who got injured one week prior narrowly scraped past Colleen by .43 of a point for third place. Colleen came in at fourth place and Sensi Graves took fifth.
With the hype from the Dubplates playing in the background and the anticipation of The Roots concert, the men’s results were announced. It was a bit of a surprise to see four-time champ Sam Light take fifth place but exciting to see Ramiro Gallart made it to fourth leaving just three spots left. One of which was soon taken by World Champion kiteboarder and the first person to land a 900 off a kicker in a contest, Christophe Tack. So it was down to two. Would Brandon Scheid come back to take the win for the second time in a row or would Ewan Jaspan take it for the second time after his win in 2017?
Second place was announced for a prize purse of $7,500 and the check was written to Ewan Jaspan, meaning Brandon Scheid would take home the win for his second year in a row and fifth overall time winning the Wind Voyager Triple-S Invitational.
Once again, this year’s Wind Voyager Triple-S Invitational was more insane than ever with incredible action and entertainment both on and off the water. It was so cool to shoot the event and capture some of the insane action alongside Toby Bromwich. Definitely one for the history books.
WOMEN’S FINAL RESULTS
1. Annelous Lammerts (Belgium, Cabrinha) $12,000.00
2. Karolina Winkowska (Poland, Slingshot) $7,500.00
3. Issy Von Zastrow (Kenya, Ozone) $5,000.00
4. Colleen Carrol (USA, Duotone) $3,000.00
5. Sensi Graves (USA, Liquid Force) $2,000.00
MEN’S FINAL RESULTS
1. Brandon Scheid (USA, Liquid Force) $12,000.00
2. Ewan Jaspan (Australia, Naish) $7,500.00
3. Christophe Tack (Belgium, Liquid Force) $5,000.00
4. Ramiro Gallart (Argentina, Liquid Force) $3,000.00
5. Sam Light (United Kingdom, Slingshot) $2,000.00
6. Alex Maes (Belgium, Cabrinha) $1,500.00
7. Noe Font (Spain, Duotone) $1,200.00
8. Eric Rienstra (USA, Core) $1,000.00
9. Chris Bobryk (USA, Slingshot) $800.00
10. Aaron Hadlow (United Kingdom, Duotone) $600.00
11. Jack Rieder (Canada, Airush) $500.00
12. Artem Garashchenko (Russia, Nobile) $400.00