The names of Butch and Julie Pringle are like royalty here in the Australian jet ski scene. For the past 10 years they have taken over the Cronulla beaches with the smell of two-stroke exhaust and a gathering of watersports fanatics from across the globe. An event that started off as a BBQ on the beach with a few mates has turned into one of the biggest freeride events in the world. In and of itself, it is a triumph just to get the permits, let alone organize 100-plus riders to get out on the water in some kind of orderly manner.
The event is not a competition as such, but a chance to ride with some of the best riders in the world at one of the prettiest locations in Australia. However, they do throw in a few competitions, issuing awards for the biggest air, sickest trick, first to flip and even JetPilot’s “Battle of the Best.” For the 10th annual – and final – Rip N’ Ride, the weekend started out with the usual army of helpers that put a massive amount of time and effort into helping make it all possible.
Of course, it’s not just people that make it all possible, but the sponsors who are the life blood of the freeride event community. With companies like Yamaha, Australian Jetski Parts and JetPilot, none of this could happen. Yamaha has been the major sponsor of the event for some time now, giving one lucky rider a brand new SuperJet to take home just for entering. Over $20,000 in prizes were on on the table thanks to some generous people.
As noted, this year was the was the final time the Rip N’ Ride family would come together. Butch and Julie have decided that a decade is long enough. The planning, organizing and bringing it to fruition takes its toll. Not to say the event has lapsed in enthusiasm, with over 110 riders turning up to hit the waves and catch up with some old mates. The three-day format works a charm, with plenty of ride time.
This year’s RNR got a new location right in the middle of town. “The Wall” – as the locals call it – is a great spot for spectators to check out the action and the move made life a lot easier for the organizers and riders. A mixed bag of swell rolled in over the three days with up to 5 feet of swell and a day of clean conditions between a few storms.
I don’t know if you have ever been to a freeride event, but the talent of the riders is just getting insane. Everything from Super rolls to Ruler Flips and plenty of re-entry variations. It was great to see Bruno Jacobs return to Cronulla this year, along with Mark Gomez and Tom Scaccianoce, who made their way from the States. Also all the riders from New Zealand and all over Australia.
Being the final official RNR it was great to see local boy, Grant Busby win the Yamaha SuperJet. He has be involved it the jet ski fraternity for years and a great supporter of the sport. It could not have gone to a better bloke. So if anyone would like to take over RNR and take it to a new location or steer it in a new direction, make sure you get in touch with Butch and get ready for a “ripper of a ride.”