June 3-9, 2006
Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
Sponsors : REAL Kiteboarding, Red Bull, Outer Beaches Realty, John Wayne Cancer Foundation, Smith Optics.
The Best Riders
The Best Conditions
The Best Locations
The Best Results…….
According to Andre Phillip, the Triple-S Invitational went down in history as “the best contest I have ever been to. Nothing even comes close!” The Triple-S Invitational freeride format allowed riders 7 days to compete with and against each other without the worry of being eliminated as with classic style ladder/heat systems. Each rider was free to ride when they wanted, for as long as they wanted and using whatever style they wanted.
“The riding that Andre was throwing down was off the charts. He would casually hang out most of the day and then explode in a two hour session that defines what can be and should be done on a kiteboard. His pioneered so many new lines on the Red Bull, not only with balls but with style too…”
The Triple-S Invitational was guaranteed 4 riding venues to maximize the riding conditions during the event. The riding venues included the infamous REAL Slick behind REAL Kiteboarding, with the entire REAL Slider Park set up. Offsite locations dedicated to the Triple-S Invitational were Ramp 23 in Salvo (Surf), Frisco Pier (Surf) and also Kite Point in Buxton (Flat water). As always, continuous REAL PWC support allowed riding to the extreme limits!
“Sammy's (Sam Bell) defining session was the sunset dock session in front of REAL. I thought he was going to take Best Session for this one. He flawlessly threw down every slide in the book over the trex dock at the end of REAL. Sammy was completely on fire that night....”
What took place during the Triple-S Invitational is an advancment in the sport of kiteboarding itself. No longer were contests a freeze frame in time, where riders hold back to make sure they're not eliminated by falling or missing a maneuver. During the Triple-S, the riding level was a steady crescendo from insane to completely of the table of recognition or imagination. Riders pushing riders, not riders eliminating riders. Sessions building with excitement until all you could do was scream at the top of your lungs. Great wind, unbelievable riding locations, flat water and the REAL Slider Park. Never before had such powerful ingredients been combined to see what would happen. Not until last week…..
“I had never met Susie Mai before the Triple-S. She is a cool person and an unbelievable rider. Her and Aimee squared off on the Triple-S the very first day of the event. By the end of the event Susie and Aimee were taking on the Red Bull Funbox end to end with style…”
Triple-S Invitational Riders
What do you get when you mix the best freeriders in the world, with the best conditions, the best slider park and then add in the best videographers and photographer? You get a recipe for pure adrenaline! You can't really pick one of these elements that drove the riding level so high in the week, but you can focus in and talk about what the media staff did to not only capture the excitement, but also to push the sport to the next level.
"On one video run, we were tracking Sam Bell through the Slick and over the Red Bull Funbox. While Sammy was handlepassing his way down the final stretch of the Funbox, Slezy backdoors (jumps over) the entire Slick Island and the Funbox, lands 3 feet away from our ski and we switch gears tracking him through the rest of the park including the Triple-S, the John Wayne and a hoard of big, stylish Slezy maneuvers. It was all three feet from my face and the cameras. I can't wait for the Triple-S DVD!"
Brian Caserio and Trip Forman were on a jetski for 7 days straight shooting tracking footage of the riders during flatwater maneuvers and slider and kicker riding. They would follow a rider into The Slick, through the entire REAL Slider Park hitting every feature and then turn off to grab the next rider. Every rider wanted the best run through the park, every run was being captured on video. Needless to say, each consecutive run got better and better for an entire week, pushing the level off most rider's scale of imagination. On land and in the water John and Alexis Bilderback captured photos and video from every angle imaginable. If it happened, it was captured both in motion and in stills. Buster Tronolone flew over from Oregon to bring his own angles to the crew. You would regularly see Buster poised atop a 60 foot slider ducking riders as they flew by, over or around him.
“During one tracking run of Andy Hurdman through The Slick, Brian and Trip were yelling at the top of their lungs in complete disbelief. Andy threw probably 20 maneuvers in the course of 200 yards. All of them were to blind, from blind, or blind to blind with a kite loop. This doesn't even take in account Andy's level of riding on the sliders, which was unexpected and world class…”
Triple-S Media…. It fueled the fire. All of the action was captured. Is the world ready to see it? Look for the Triple-S DVD Action DVD to be released by REAL as the 5th of their 5 DVD series in September 2006. Also look for the Triple-S Invitational in Buster Tronolone's next action kiteboarding DVD release this coming Fall as well.
No event is complete without a couple of good parties right! The Triple-S Parties treated the crowds to great food, rocking music, tons of beverages and piles of smiles, laughs and dancing. The Triple-S Welcome Party held Saturday June 3rd had to be moved offsite due to rain and was held indoors at the Rodanthe Community Center. This place was like the Rotary Club meets the Flinstones. A real cool place to chill out listen to music, enjoy the grinds and share some laughs. “Steve the Dream” DJ'd his way through the night up on stage while riders, campers and event staff feasted on delicious North Carolina BBQ with all the fixings courtesy of Rusty Midgette. The highlight of the night featured B-Town rapper “Nick-Nick” busting out his rhymes and taking down the house ! This party ran from 7-11pm and then was then moved to Ethan Wayne's (John Wayne Cancer Foundation) house for some quality after hours entertainment. Everyone was having such a good time that the head count went up rather than down as the venues changed . Thanks for your hospitality Ethan!
"Greg Norman and good friend John Modica drove up from Florida for the Triple S. Both represented with solid riding during the entire event. By the final session on the Red Bull Funbox, Greg was destroying the transfer from the box to the top rail! John, who had a number of good sessions early in the week, unfortunatly took himself out during the sunset dock session with the wipeout that put him into 2nd place in the "Best Wipeout" catagory. After seeing the photos I'm amazed his leg was not broken!"
Friday, June 9th saw the Red Bull Triple-S Awards Party hosted at REAL Kiteboarding under a full moon with southwest winds! Red Bull's “DJ Chela” spun her vinyl magic on the back deck at REAL while party goers enjoyed the sunset over The Slick, the moonrise over the Atlantic, plenty of moonlit riding, an impressive John Bilderback slideshow from the Triple-S projected on a 10ft screen, jerk chicken burritos from Rusty Midgette and all the beer and Red Bull drinks you could muster. After the awards ceremony, DJ Chela packed up her tables and moved the party across town to a private house where the music and action continued on well after 3am. Needless to say, Sunday was a very blurry day for most of the Triple-S contingent.
"Shannon always seemed to go out just as the wind would increase making him overpowered for many of his sessions. I watched him do some of the fastest speed runs that I have ever witnessed through the slick! He would go as fast as he could and then jump the entire lane of the slick with an enormous amount of hangtime, landing within five feet of land every time in complete control just upwind of the spectators and media crew on the dock."
No Wind, No Problem!
5 of 7 windy days wasn't bad, but what do the boys and girls do when the breeze is light? On the two lightwind days riders headed north to skate the "Cheesebowl" and also enjoyed some tasty surfing waves courtesy of a nice Atlantic groundswell. When the wind was on, the riding was INTENSE. In the two days we had off, the riders welcomed the change of scenery, knowing that this was all part of the freeride format. No stress, just chilling with friends and having a great time!
"Morgan and Evan were the two youngest riders in the event. They were out on the water snagging sessions when they could in between both having to work and still going to school. It is great to see both of them pushing the limits and constantly improving and learning new moves all the time. I watched up wind, as I set up my gear one morning, while Evan had a killer solo session on the "Red Bull Funbox". As Evan was trying a number of different lines on the box Morgan, just downwind, was throwing unhooked raleys and large handle passes in front of JB's lens."
Judging the Triple-S
The normal gripe with event judging is that most judges are not nearly as good of riders as the competitors they are judging, and also the heats are so fast with so much going on at once, that it makes it nearly impossible to see every maneuver completed in a heat. The judging system adopted at the Triple-S allowed for judging ballots to be filled out by each of the media crew (5) plus each of the competitors (15) , totaling 20 judging ballots. Each ballot scored riders in each category 1st through 5th place. Cumulative score of all the ballots were tallied to find the winners. As you can see with the weighting of the ballots, riders were responsible for 75% of the entire vote. The only other 100% witness of the event, the Triple-S media staff, was responsible for the other 25% of the vote. This system assured a talented judging pool, plenty of ballot sheets and a way to guarantee that the winners were fairly chosen over the week of riding. Below are the recognized “winners” of the 1st annual Triple-S Invitational. We feel that all the riders and the sport of kiteboarding itself won the event, but feel free to ask any rider or spectator that witnessed the action. You will probably find out that next year's Triple-S is the first event on their travel schedule….
Slickstyle Attitude Award
1st Place Jason Slezak
2nd Place Moe Goold
3rd Place Sam Bell
1st Place Davey Blair
2nd Place John Modica
3rd Place Andy Hurdman
1st Place Andre Phillip
2nd Place Greg Norman
3rd Place Andy Hurdman
1st Place Andre Phillip
2nd Place Andy Hurdman
3rd Place TIE Sam Bell / Greg Norman
1st Place Andre Phillip
2nd Place Andy Hurdman
3rd Place Jason Slezak
1st Place Susi Mai
2nd Place Aimee Raby
3rd Place Morgan Skipperdene
We would like to throw out a big THANKS to ALL of the riders, media, spectators and sponsors who made this years Triple-S Invitational such a success!
Stay tuned for the release of the Triple-S Action DVD from REAL Kiteboarding!
"The first annual Triple S Invitational was off the hook! We had such a great crew of people in Cape Hatteras for the event! Not only was the rider turnout killer but the media crew, safety crew, and spectators made this the most fun kiteboarding event that I have ever been involved with. We had rideable conditions in almost every wind direction that Cape Hatteras can handle. When the wind shut down we had fun surf, a few good skate sessions, and some great beach chill time through out the week. I'm already stoked to get rolling for the planning for next years Triple-S Invitational!"- Jason Slezak
Next year's Triple-S Invitational is scheduled for June 2-8, 2007, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for your invites!