Block party elevates awareness of sport, UNT wakeboarding team
There were tricks and wipeouts as professional wakeboarders took to the rails on a Denton street Saturday afternoon.
A couple of the wakeboarders even landed outside of the pool, splashing attendees.
Saturday’s Wakepoolooza started with a jam session to get the wakeboarders warmed up before the competition started.
Two pools connected by a rail and cable system were set up between the University of North Texas Language Building and the bars and restaurants on a stretch of Avenue A that connects with Fry Street.
An estimated 700 attendees watched as the professional wakeboarders performed aerial rotations and inverts.
Justin Teich was one of the first wakeboarders to begin warming up.
He’s been in the sport since high school. He moved from Arizona to Florida and now he rides professionally. He also works with Step Up Productions, which set up the temporary facility in Denton.
While he participates in cable wakeboarding professionally, he likes boat wakeboarding for fun.
“The boat [wakeboarding] is just water,” he said. “It’s wake to wake.”
A wakeboarder can get hurt while riding behind a boat, but injuries tend to be worse if the wakeboarder hits a rail, Teich said. That’s why they wear helmets.
Cable wakeboarding also tends to be popular because people don’t have to have a boat to try it. They can pay $20 to go to a wake park, Teich said.
The goal of Wakepoolooza was to bring attention to the sport as well as the UNT wakeboarding team, which has about 15 members.
UNT freshman Aric Brabec, who recently took over as president of the recreational team, was out at the team’s booth Saturday trying to recruit more students to participate.
The team has some members with no experience and others who are more advanced, he said.
“We take people out and teach them,” Brabec said.
To put on the event, the UNT team partnered with the Fry Street Tavern and Matt Edmondson, with Synergy Reps, an action sports manufacturer sales and promotion agency.
Edmondson said he’s been wanting to have an event like this in Denton for a couple years.
“It’s more than I expected,” he said.
He said the businesses along the block were supportive of the event.
Natasha Hume, co-owner of the Fry Street Tavern and APC Events, said the event was good for business. She said there were more people in the bar during the day than usual.
Organizers hope to make it an annual event.
RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.