AWA Supports Arizona Wakeboarders
By Chris Cameron
The Arizona Wakeboard Association (AWA) is a non-profit corporation that promotes the sport of wakeboarding within the state of Arizona. The AWA came into existence in 1999 when it became evident to its co-founders Tom Bugg and Russ Olsen that other organizations holding wakeboarding competitions were not geared towards wakeboarders.
The AWA was formed and is run by riders for riders to provide a safe and structured environment for every participant in the education, training, and competition of the wakeboarding sport and activity.
The AWA has grown from its early days into an organization that boasts over 100 members with an average of 60 riders competing per competition. The AWA caters to members of all ages from 6 to 60, although most competitors are in their 20s.
The skill set of the riders varies greatly from novice to outlaw. Novice riders typically do one wake trick and are working on taking their tricks wake to wake.
Outlaw riders boast more than five inverts (flips) and are typically spinning more than 360 degrees. Four specialty divisions are also offered. These include women (women of all ages), masters (age 35 and over), groms (age 11 and under) and wakeskate.
In addition to holding six wakeboarding events per year, the AWA hosts one wakesurfing contest per year, an end-of-the-year banquet and at least one learn-to-wakeboard clinic. For the past two years, the organization has teamed with Liquid Force to promote the sport to women of all ages by hosting the Maven Sessions.
This clinic series has been especially successful in Arizona. Every year, 40 spots have been filled by women of all ages and skill levels who want to learn from Liquid Force’s team of professional women wakeboarders.
Check out their Web site at www.theawa.com, for information on participating in any AWA event. Don’t let the idea of a competition scare you; the AWA is a great way to meet other people who share the same passion. Getting involved is as easy as riding in a contest or clinic or volunteering to help at the events.
The majority of the events are held at Lake Pleasant’s Two Cow Cove. Two Cow is normally a no-wake zone, but that all changes during contests, and the AWA is fortunate to call it home.
From time to time, the organization holds events at one of the private lakes across the Valley, such as Spring Mountain Ski Ranch or San Tan Lakeside Community. It is these times that riders and spectators are treated to the best views and epic water.
Organizing and running the AWA events are not small tasks. Although Christine Cameron and Mike Haley took over the day-to-day operation of the AWA from Tom Bugg three years ago, without the sponsors and volunteers, the AWA would not be a success.
With that said, next time you are thinking about purchasing a vest, rope, board, or even a boat, check out one of the local shops that gives back to the sport: Arizona Watersports, Century Marine, the Boardshack, Desert Surf Company. Mastercraft Boats of Arizona, Paradise Watersports, and Ski Pro.