Ryan Chartrand

Live music, free prizes, big raffles, loads of food, and a huge two-day competitive wakeboarding tournament will take over Lopez Lake this weekend for GraduWAKEtion hosted by the Central Coast Association of Wakeboarders.

CCAW is hosting the ultimate throwdown for wakeboarders on the Central Coast with competition between independent riders and students from schools all over the country, including UC Santa Barbara, Arizona State, Sacramento State and Western Washington.

“The collegiate wakeboard circuit has been steadily growing around the country in the last couple years,” said accounting and finance junior Jared Couch, CCAW president and co-tournament director.

“The schools chosen were based upon the collegiate wake teams that they already have established.”

Four categories will give all different kinds of boarders, a chance to show off their stuff in the preliminaries and shoot for the collective total of more than $1,000 in cash prizes. The battle will start at 8 a.m. Saturday with a collegiate men and women’s division, and open men and women’s divisions for anyone who wants to compete.

“In the actual competition, we will have about 65 riders,” Couch said. “This includes all four classes. As for the spectators in attendance, we are expecting in the hundreds.”

The competition will last until 6 p.m. and everyone will be out on the wake early for the semifinals at 8 a.m. The championships will follow with an awards ceremony at 1 p.m. and Siko will then take the stage at 1:30 pm. for a free concert.

The two men’s divisions will give away a $400 first-place prize, $250 second-place prize and a $150 third-place prize. The two women’s divisions will give away $200 for first, $150 for second and $100 for third.

While the wakeboarders are out on the water, the shore will be filled with food, free stuff and live music by Siko. Local vendors and barbecues will be selling food all weekend while giveaways will include wakeboards, ropes, clothes and Fusion Tower speakers.

“We will have vendors from clothing, to boating accessories, BBQ, board shops, to health drinks etc.,” Couch said. “We are so excited to have so much community as well as industry support. This will no doubt be the biggest wake event the Central Coast has ever seen.”

The two title sponsors Mobley’s Boardshop and VS Marine of Atascadero will be headlining the competition with donations and promotions. Mobley’s will be representing the skate, snow, surf and wake industries while VS Marine is providing Tig‚ boats to pull the boarders.

Professional wakeboarders will also be out on the water showing off for the public. Those out at the event will include Santa Cruz Local Mike Schwenne, Derek Cook, Aaron Aubrey, Jaret Brantly, Daniel Doud and Jimmy Wolf.

The entire event was put together by CCAW, a Central Coast grassroots wakeboarding organization aimed towards getting new riders used to the lake lifestyle and supporting veterans to get out on the water and the chance to help the sport grow.

“The coolest part of this event is that we (CCAW) have the opportunity to join together college students as well as the community from all of California, as well as out of state,” Couch said. “This weekend is giving us the ability to promote a sport that encourages actively engaging in quality time with family and friends. We want to show that wakeboarding is a positive activity growing rapidly on the Central Coast.”

Last year was the first year that the event took over Lopez Lake with 50 competing riders and more than 150 spectators.

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