About Lee Elliott

Co-Founder of Ambush Board Co./BuyWake.com, family man, landlocked surfer, warm climate snowboarder, and lover of wakeboarding and good food.

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Here are my most recent posts

Ambush/BuyWake Founder Posthumously Inducted into Wakeboarding Hall of Fame

The Wakeboarding Hall of Fame is one of the most hallowed places in the world of wakeboarding.  Being inducted means that the story of wakeboarding cannot be told without you.  It is a testament to one’s contribution to the sport and the ultimate recognition that you have reached the pinnacle of wakeboarding.  Whether your are an industry pioneer or one of the greatest riders of all time, Wakeboarding Hall of Fame inductions aren’t handed out, they are earned through decades of dedication to wakeboarding and its culture.

The 2018 Wakeboarding Hall of Fame class is, in my humble opinion, the greatest class in the young history of the Hall.  This class truly represents the golden days of wakeboarding when it went from fringe activity to a highly revered board sport.  If previous WHOF classes were paying homage to the sport’s founding fathers, this class was honoring the riders and industry titans that blew the lid off of wakeboarding and took it to the next level and beyond. Read More >

Wake for Warriors – Strength Through Sharing and Shredding

Wake for Warriors is a non-profit organization founded in 2010 by Marine Corps veteran Dave Deep. After serving four deployments abroad, Dave experienced first hand what our brave men and women in uniform were dealing with and decided he was going to do something to help them. Dave is passionate about wakeboarding and wakesurfing and wanted to channel his love of watersports into a positive, healing experience for his fellow service members.

Wake for Warriors - BuyWake.com
We Came as Warriors, We Left as Friends

“Wake for Warriors is all about helping to alleviate those physical and emotional wounds that effect military members and their families,” reflects Deep. “Through wakeboarding and wakesurfing, we help service men and women make connections with other veterans and help heal through a weekend on the water.”

What a weekend it was. The weather was perfect, the company was captivating, and the riding was inspirational.

“I can’t believe how much these vets rip,” said Lee Elliott of BuyWake.com. “Watching them ride has been truly rewarding. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be out here and support Wake for Warriors and to see them shred.”

Each day featured two 4-hour wake sessions, three home cooked meals, and a night cap with live entertainment. The BuyWake.com crew even brought the Warriors to the see the Pro Wake Tour.

“The most important thing to me is creating an environment where we can all get together and build relationships,” adds Wake for Warriors founder David Deep. “If we can make those connections and carry those relationships beyond the 3-day event, I have accomplished my goal.”

Wake for Warriors is supported by a select group of sponsors including Nautique Boats and Hyperlite. In addition, WFW is funded largely by individual donations and personal contributions from Dave himself. To see a complete list of Wake for Warriors sponsors, click here. To make a donation, click here.

Checkout the Photos!

 

Does Pro Wakeboarding Have a Podium Problem?

Sports dynasties are nothing new. The New York Yankees ruled baseball from for over 4 decades. In the 44 seasons from 1921 to 1964, the Yankees appeared in 29 World Series and won 20 of them. The Boston Celtics won 8 consecutive NBA Championships from 1959-1966 and added 3 more championships in 1957, 1968, and 1969 respectively. The Montreal Canadiens owned the NHL from the 1950s through the 1970s. And, the NFL had the Steelers of the 1970’s, the 49ers of the 1980s, and the Patriots of the new millennium. Oh, and how could you forget Kelly Slater surfing his way to an unprecedented 11 world titles from 1994-2011 (even with a faux retirement thrown in the middle).  How does this relate to wakeboarding?

Given all that dominance in each of the major sports, something somewhat unprecedented is happening in Pro Wakeboarding. Just like the last few NBA Finals, the podium spots at all the major pro contests are almost a forgone conclusion. Check out the podium for the last 7 wake contests. Notice a pattern?

2018 Pro Tour Stop #1 2018 Wake Open 2018 Moomba Masters 2017 Pro Tour Stop #4 2017 Pro Tour Stop #3 2017 Pro Tour Stop #2 2017 Pro Tour Stop #1
1st Place: Harley Clifford 1st Place: Cory Teunissen 1st Place: Harley Clifford 1st Place: Harley Clifford 1st Place: Nic Rapa 1st Place: Mike Dowdy 1st Place: Harley Clifford
2nd Place: Nic Rapa 2nd Place: Mike Dowdy 2nd Place: Cory Teunissen 2nd Place: Nic Rapa 2nd Place: Harley Clifford 2nd Place: Nic Rapa 2nd Place: Mike Dowdy
3rd Place: Mike Dowdy 3rd Place: Nic Rapa 3rd Place: Mike Dowdy 3rd Place: Mike Dowdy 3rd Place: Mike Dowdy 3rd Place: Harley Clifford 3rd Place: Cory Teunissen
Harley Clifford, Mike Dowdy, Nic Rapa Always Win
Harley Clifford, Mike Dowdy, Nic Rapa Always Win

Are Harley, Dowdy, Rapa, and crew that much better than the rest of the pro ranks? The short answer is, well, yes. The above podium patrol all have runs with multiple double flips, all regularly spin 1080s, and Harley Clifford is the sole owner of a perfect score when he accomplished that feat at the 2015 Nautique Masters. The real question is, is this good for pro wakeboarding?

Pro wakeboarding is in a really fascinating spot right now. There are so many elements and ideas as to what constitutes a good pro. To some, it’s Harley Clifford throwing double flips behind a $150,000 boat. To others it’s Quinn Silvernale winching a DIY spot. And yet, to some it’s the multiple water sport mastery of Noah Flegel and Daniel Grant. Still somehow, we all know solid tricks, clean style, and warp speed progression when we see it.

Quinn Silvernale The Coalition
Quinn Silvernale from The Coalition

To all of us die-hard wake fans, the riders at the top of the podium are more a topic of social media banter than an expose on the state of wakeboarding. We put just as much stock into pro contests as we do a new video part or photo in Alliance. We dig the pro contest scene, but we understand that its just one component of an incredibly innovative and multi-faceted sport. In my humble opinion, pro wakeboarding is in a much better place today, even with the same few riders winning everything, as it was just a few years ago. Wakeboarding has gained nuance and subtlety. Wakeboarding has earned street cred and reverence. And, wakeboarding can appeal to so many more fans now that it has these new elements. Looking back to a previous era when all you could do to prove your mettle was huck robotic and premeditated contest runs in front of tetchy judges, that vibe seems almost counter to what wakeboard has become.

Alex Graydon shot by Jeff Mathis
Wakeboarding Has Never Been More Innovative and Diverse | Photo: Jeff Mathis

Wakeboarding doesn’t need a new podium at each event. Its been proven that fans love the elite, established set of wake stars. Wakeophiles don’t want to cheer on a final with no one they’ve ever heard of. They hunger for the wake celebrities that throw down and give them something to root for. They crave the hero and the villain. They want riders to look forward to, riders to love and hate, and a reason to be emotionally invested.

Fans Love Mike Dowdy

So, now it’s on the next generation to dethrone these podium kings. Who is going to emerge as the next great contest rider? Harley, Dowdy, and the rest of pro contest scene are definitely holding court. But, if there is one thing in this world that is certain, it’s that nothing lasts forever.