Graded: X Games Real Wake 2015

The wake world collectively held its breath back in May when the accouncement was made that wakeboarding was coming back to the X Games for the first time since 2005. Things would be a little bit differently this time as 8 rider/videographer teams would be tasked to create their own 90 second edit, and then would be pitted against one another a la X Games Real Snow and Real Backcountry. Would we retain the stereotype of being the spiky-haired, spoiled-brat, white-sunglass-wearing douchebags of the action sports world? Well, the videos are out so you can decide for yourself. (click the photos to view each rider’s edit)

Daniel Grant


I’ll be honest. I picked on Daniel Grant after I saw his part in The Debut. It came across a little bit half-assed. Not the case here though. Big air, good style and creative combinations of features. Wait. Did he just kickflip that? And was that a frontside flip?! What the hell do you think this is, The Wakeskate Tour (RIP)?

Grade: B+

Aaron Rathy


Good intro, song seems to fit, and bonus points for showing your encounters with the fuzz. What we see here is classic Rathy. Raw grit, determination and something to satisfy everyone from cable rats to boat jocks with style in spades. Our only wish? Less lifestyle, more bangers.

Grade: A-

Shota Tezuka


WTF? Something must have gotten lost in translation here, because I can’t tell whether Shota consulted with Travis Rice’s film crew, or Psy when he came up with the idea for this. Nothing against his skills, but unfortunately this is too much filler, not enough killer.

Grade: D

Raph Derome


Hey, Red Bull. Are you listening? What the hell were you on when you decided it was a good idea to let this guy slip through your sticky-fingered grasp? I’m trying not to sound like a fanboy here, but this is the definition of “Real Wake” in the year 2015. Raph does it all, checking off the cable, boat and winching categories like no one else.

Grade: A+

Harley Clifford


Sit down Harley, we need to have a talk. I’m not sure what Navy SEAL shipment you hijacked to get these smoke bombs, but I’m sure your mot… wait… dammit… it’s so hard to be mad at you when you’re so beautiful. Don’t try to tell me you took more than two or three days to film this though. Your contest-pass tricks may be good enough to make a video part of, but the least you could’ve done is change your boardshorts.

Grade: D-

Mike Dowdy


Alright, we may have forgiven you already for those ignorant comments you made in Prime, but that doesn’t mean you can come out with a part that 95% of the wake world will never be able to relate to. Didn’t we talk about this with snowboarding already? They realized awhile ago that nobody wants to watch someone do tricks that they could never imagine themselves doing. Don’t worry wakeboarding, I’m sure you’ll catch on eventually.

Grade: C+

Rusty Malinoski


This idea probably sounded flawless in theory. Rusty + double ups + nighttime + drones + big lights = winning formula. However, what we’re left with is another edit with a little bit too much filler. The Bonecrusher is his usual impressive self, but there’s just not enough action to back up the execution.

Grade: C-

Chris Abadie


Stop right there. If you’re one of those mouth breathers that’s ever commented on a video with the statement, “It’s not wakeboarding if there’s no wake,” then kindly move along and cast your vote for Harley, Dowdy, or Rusty. What you see in the thumbnail here is what you’re going to get from Abadie. I can only imagine the blood, sweat and tears that went into setting up all those spots, instead of walking out to the dock to drop your $150k boat in the water.

Grade: B-


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