Shredding Down Under: Oakley Global Wakeboard Stars Harley Clifford, Nicola Butler and Amber Wing Drop Into Australia
There’s no denying it. Oakley has one of the, if not the sickest Wakeboard teams on the Planet.
The epic seasons pumped out by our Global Wakeboard Stars as of late – lined with awards and recognitions from their peers and fans alike – tell the story in itself: Our riders are smokin’.
And three of them are one awesome representation of the bunch. From Harley Clifford – arguably the best young Wakeboarder on Earth – to Amber Wing and Nicola Butler, who are undisputedly the most formidable, yet beautiful, female rippers anywhere, this is one killer team in every sense.
To warm up for the coming pro tour season, the trio spent some time in Harley and Amber’s home turf in Australia to ride, compete, chill and pick up some extre honors. Hear what Oakley Wakeboard Team Manager Jack Blodgett had to say and shoot about it all (below words, images and video by Jack):
Without hesitation, just one week after the devastating cyclone Uni struck the coast of Queensland in Australia, three members of the elite Oakley wake team met up for some Aussie summer shredding.
Australian natives Amber Wing and Harley Clifford invited their teammate Nicola Butler to make the twenty hour journey, to their home turf to get a first hand experience of their endless summer wakeboarding adventure.
Starting off the trip in Sydney, Nicola dropped right into the scene, competing at the Penrith Cable event put on by Liquid Force. The event brought together riders from all over Australia to ride at one of the most prestigious cable parks in the country. The riding level was on point as athletes competed for the title. Highlight from the event was Aussie rider Ethan Agius landing the first ever double half cab roll behind the cable.
Oakley team rider Harley Clifford took the victory in the Pro Men’s division. At only 17, Clifford has been dominating the wakeboard scene for the past few years.
Following the rail event, Clifford and fellow teammate Amber Wing joined the Aussie wake community in the 6th annual Australian Riders Choice Awards. Both Wing and Clifford took the top honors of the Male and Female rider of the year. Their 2010 season wrapped up with Rider of the Year awards from both American and Australian riders choice awards, defining them as the top athletes in the sport.
Following a late night of celebrating, the next stop was a quick flight to the Gold Coast to do some free riding. The location was the Tweed River, just off the coast. This protected river is normally ideal for riding although the presence of rain and wind delayed the riding for the first couple of days. Chasing the sunshine, the Oakley team headed north to Harley’s house in Logandale.
Just months ago Harley received his drivers license, hauling his brand new Mastercraft X star to the Logan River. With bull sharks on high alert in the water, the riders were ready as the weather was clear and the water was smooth. Harley and his local friends spent the next day’s together free riding, capturing footage and preparing for the upcoming season in the states.
On top of free riding together, the Oakley team traveled to attend two local Australian events near the Gold Coast. The first was a smaller event behind the boat in which Harley competed in and took the victory once again. The second was held at Logan Cable Park for Have a Heart Charity. The event was part of the Oakley team’s 2011 Square O Sessions Tour, a series of grassroots events at local cable parks allowing younger generation athletes to spend time with the world’s best athletes on the water. The event was a great success, raising money for a great cause and giving kids an exciting day on the water with numerous activities.
Beyond the riding and contests, the team was able to spend some time checking out the Australian culture and scenery. It was Butler’s first time in the country and she was given a top-notch tour with fun filled activities. One of the highlights was heading to the Australian Zoo, home of Steve Erwin and his family where Nicola and Harley had some one on one time with the local kangaroo’s and crocodiles.
It was a great trip for the team – lots of fun times, countless meat pies and some great riding along the way. Thanks to everyone who helped make our trip possible, especially the Clifford family for the letting us stay at their place and use their equipment. The Oakley team is looking for an even bigger and better trip with the rest of the team in 2012, stay tuned.