Just south of Sydney in New South Wales Australia, the annual Cronulla Rip ‘N Ride was just held. Two days of big waves, beaches and babes – not to mention 100-plus freeriders from all over Australia and the world. International riders such as Brandon and Randy Lawlor, representing Free Form Factory. Unfortunately, the boys’ skis didn’t make it from the last round of the IFWA tour in Oregon, USA. Thankfully, that wasn’t a problem as there were plenty of people putting their hand up to lend a ski. It was great to catch up with Brandon and his fiancée, Michelle again on their second trip to RNR. And it was great to see his brother Randy and wife Stephanie make the trip out to check out all the hype. There also was a heap of boys from New Zealand, and Stephen Foot from the UK and let’s not to forget all those that traveled interstate to attend this year’s RNR.
The “Rip ‘N Ride” was brought to life by OZFreeride.com (the only freeride jet ski forum in Australia) and the Cronulla Freeride Crew in 2008 with the goal of promoting the sport to rookies entailing a fun filled day with prizes, without the added pressure of a freeride competition. The event has been building year after year, from the inaugural Rip ‘N Ride, when an expected 25 riders welcomed 42, majority being males aged between 18 and 35. In 2009, it attracted 60 international and local riders. In 2010 and 2011 a repeat of 67 riders. In 2012, it was a total of 70; and finally to today having to cap the entries at 100, with dozens still on the waiting list.
Since the introduction of the Rip ‘N Ride, the New South Wales Freeride Association (NSWFA) has been formed as a freeride jet skiing body. Following that came the “Victorian Freeride Association “(VICFA) and Queensland Freeride Watercraft Association (QFWA) with the intention and success of hosting their own Rip ‘N Ride style events. Gunther “Butch” Pfrengle and his awesome wife, Julie are the brains and a lot of the brawn behind the event and without those two and their love of the sport none of this could happen. So on behalf of everyone that love this event, thank you!
Speaking of people to thank, Yamaha Motors Australia really stepped up again this year with another awesome SuperJet as a Grand Prize prize, along with heaps of other gear – not to mention all of their help on the beach with safety skis, a Wolverine 4×4 buggy and plenty of hard yakka from Yamaha’s Mark Harman and Iain MacLeod. JetPilot came to the party as a major sponsor again with heaps of great prizes and even signed a new rider, Zane Taylor (the cousin of the infamous Brock Taylor). According to Zane, he taught Brock everything he knows so keep an eye out for Zane in the near future.
With about 40 other sponsors getting on board to help out, there was $30,000 in prizes up for grabs. With most of those prizes given out by luck of the draw, with everyone’s name in a hat. Also awards were give out for Sickest trick, 180 cup, “First to Sink,” and “Biggest Air” just to name a few.
The weather this weekend wasn’t the best over the weekend with strong winds and the occasional shower, but that didn’t stop anyone from having a great time. The surf was a bit hit-and-miss with lumpy conditions and swell from 2-to-6 foot even bigger on the occasional set. This kept everyone out there hunting for the best waves. Some of the riders were really putting on a great show with massive air and some awesome combination tricks. Some of the height the boys were getting was amazing. You don’t miss much with all the cheering from the beach.
Luke Emmanuel came out of retirement for a ride on a mate’s ski doing massive 180’s and showing the style that he is know for. Maybe its time to get another ski, Luke. Not to be outdone, Freestyle Pete was ripping the ocean apart launching huge airs and his signature look-backs on his FP Raptor. Blaster Jay seemed to be pretty happy with his Krash Reaper. He went for a double flip but didn’t quite get the second one around. Good effort buddy. But Brock Taylor was putting on a great show after his second place at the Blowion Surf Slam. With super high Can flips and his one-and-only Ruler flips. One was even higher than the filming helicopter. That guy has no fear.
It was good to see plenty of girls out riding, with about five on the water. The Cherry-popper event saw Maddison Youngblutt, Kat Restifo and Samantha Beasant going for their first backflips. Due to the messy conditions they couldn’t quite get there. A massive effort for the girls and their coaches. Not getting around was not for lack of trying for Samantha, with three or four attempts. When she returned to the beach she was greeted by her boyfriend, Shane Holder on one knee with ring in hand. Samantha was in disbelief and tears of joy. Congratulations, you two.
The presentation was held at Northies Hotel in Cronulla, a great place for a party. With a full room and beverages flowing freely, things got pretty wild especially when a new Yamaha SuperJet was about to be given away. There were tables of prizes that had to be given away first, prizes consisting of poles to props and shirts to a stator, everything was wiped up fast. Down to the last two riders, who would win? You could only imagine the feeling of knowing you could be heading home that night with a $10,000 SuperJet. And the winner was Luke Mifsud.
So if you want to come and check out the best freeride event in the world, and possibly take home a new ski, make sure you make it to Rip ‘N Ride 9!