Aqua Shop in Plano, Texas hosted its annual FLOW Tour competition this past weekend on their indoor FlowRider® surfing attraction. All weekend there was a lot of action on and off the wave!
Photo Gallery Above – Scroll down for recap, results and more!
“It was by far the best competition we have ever had,” declares Aqua Shop co-owner, Kelly Walker. “We plan on making it better every year – more competitors, more giveaways, more promotions in the shop!” he added.
FlowRider has 200+ locations worldwide. This one just happens to be indoors, adjacent to the food court in a mall smack dab in the middle of the Lone Star state of Texas!
Since Aqua Shop is located at the entrance of a shopping mall, this venue provides a unique experience and atmosphere for a competition.
Turning the store into a competition arena opens the doors to new spectators and allows the whole family to go shopping while the riders surf the day away – like a day at the beach, but with A/C and your favorite retail stores. It’s always a safe and controlled environment too – no chance for shark sightings here!
Like all FLOW Tour events, this past weekend’s event featured divisions for all ages, both bodyboard and flowboard. We highly encourages riders of all skill levels to participate from Novice to Pro.
The 12 & Under Youth Division featured over a dozen young competitors. The potential we all saw this weekend is very telling that some of these young guns are destined to strengthen the future of the sport of flowboarding. Up and coming flow stars, Riley Yount & Miles Henry, double dipped and earned two gold/silver medals (Youth Bodyboard and Youth Flowboard) and tons of prizes to show off at school this week!
The FlowRider brand proudly introduced the competitive side of this attraction in the early 2000s. The sport is constantly growing and the state of Texas is proud to have one of the larger and more talented bases in the country. Texan flowboarders showed up from all across the state (a HUGE state, by the way) to compete for points, prizes, cash money and of course bragging rights.
“It generated a lot of foot traffic into our store, generated a bump in revenue and a fun crowd!” states Brandon Polley, Aqua Shop Store and Wave Manager.
Polley, pulled a double shift as he played role of manager on duty and FLOW Tour competitor looking to defend his home wave.
“Smooth, stress free and ahead of schedule,” Brandon replied when we asked him how it was multitasking between riding in the competition and running the shop at the same time. “Could not have asked for better turnout,” Brandon explained.
Payton Purdy showcased a strong riding style and bag of tricks to claim 1st Place in the Men’s Bodyboard (18+), earning himself the top spot and bragging rights for the wave – until next year at least.
“I’ve learned a lot this season,” says Yanni Mesfoutis, Local Aqua Shop. “The experience has really made me a better ride all around,” Mesfoutis adds. Yanni stuck to the game plan and found himself in the finals of the Pro Bodyboard Division.
Another Texas-bred rider, Miller Brown, had a strong performance. Taking home the bronze medal in Pro Bodyboard with technical big tricks like, Big Spin to prone put the pressure on top-seeded riders, Sean Beckwith (#2 in the World Rankings) and Nick Nguyen (5x World Bodyboard Champion), who finished 1st and 2nd, respectively in Pro Bodyboard.
Pro Flowboard featured a head-to-head matchup between Nick Nguyen and local Aqua Shop Pro, Brian Thomas. Thomas’s mindset was to defend his home wave no matter who he faced and he did just that to earn himself his first FLOW Tour gold medal and a stack of cash for his kid’s college fund.
Thomas’s son, Caiden, was also a part of the competition. Not only was he the youngest competitor (7 years old) of the day, he also represented the Adaptive FLOW Division.
“The talent in the Junior divisions this season is insane,” explains judge and event coordinator, Adam Muller, after realizing that the division was the most stacked and competitive division in the field of 50+ riders. “Most of the Juniors are also pushing their skills to the limit against the Pros. We are excited for this next wave of riders to graduate up,” Muller goes on to say.
Aaron Almendarez rose to the occasion and came out victorious in the Junior Bodyboard division. Tres Henry, Nate Brimeacombe and Travis Crow rounded out the Top 4.
Local Junior flowboarder, Jonathan Evans, was stoked to take home a new flowboard, courtesy off FlowRiderShop.com!
After a 2-year hiatus from competition, known Masters rider & professional entertainer, Jonathan Root (a.k.a. RootBerry), made a special appearance as a guest judge and competitor. RootBerry says “It felt great to get back out there, I feel like really loosened me up” when we asked how it felt to stand top of the podium again, winning his first event back on Tour.
It sure is a pleasure to watch “Root” on the wave, but for the real entertainment, check out the RootBerry YouTube channel for endless laughs. You can even find him juggling while riding the FlowRider wave attractions.
Johnny Tran, local favorite to win the Masters Bodyboard division, got the job done with elevated and advanced maneuvers.
All event finalists took home flowboarders.com swag packs filled with goodies from local and Official Tour Sponsors.
Stay tuned to Flowboarders.com and stay social by tagging @flowboarders for all things flowboarding. Next Stop, FLOW Tour heads for Snohomish Aquatic Center in Washington as they are schedule to host their annual FlowRider Pro/Am contest July 29th.
See ya on the wave!
Results here: Aqua Shop FLOW RESULTS 17