There are certain companies that do events right every time. So I knew I was in for a great weekend when Oakley asked me to come out to Mile High Wakeboarding near Denver, Colorado to join the Sets In Motion stars for the premiere of the new film. Sets In Motion is actually a series of wakeboard and wakeskate webisodes featuring the world’s top female riders, which will culminate with the release of a full film that will be available online free to the public on August, 19.
Sets In Motion is the brainchild of Oakley team rider Amber Wing and Oakley marketing guru Matty Swanson. The idea was to get the best of the best female riders to put their finest riding down on video so that the world can see what they’re capable of.
“Women’s wakeboarding has progressed so much over the past few years, but there really isn’t a platform for us to showcase it," said Amber. "We only have a few contests a year and hardly any video-based projects. I wanted to create something for us with no focus on an individual girl or sponsor – I want to work with every athlete and all of the supporting sponsors. I wanted to have something that helps to motivate the girls and, in turn, progresses the sport by bringing new tricks to the stage to excite our fans even more."
“I think Sets In Motion shows the progression of women's wakeboarding,” said Abby Delgoffe, one of the film’s stars. “Double flips, 7’s, 9’s and now Bec’s whirly 5. The women are showing that they can keep up with the boys! I truly think SIM elegantly showcases the hard work the ladies put in to push and succeed in their sport!
Sets In Motion took the girls around the world and features riding from a wide variety of locations. “My favorite shoot with all the girls was in the UK,” said the film’s opening rider, Angelika Schriber. “We traveled the UK in an RV riding and shooting together. We all pushed each other to try new things.”
After talking about the film with most of the riders, it seems Angelika’s section was the one that really took the group by surprise. “Angie Schriber's riding probably got me the most excited,” remarked Hayley Smith. “We all have seen her ride and we know how amazing she is, but seeing all of her big tricks right there one after another really got me cheering and clapping. It made me feel like I could go out right then and there and land a 900 too. She made it look that easy.”
One of the group’s younger riders, Bec Gange, also turned some heads. “Bec has improved her riding tremendously,” commented Nicola Butler. “I remember seeing her a couple years ago working on front rolls and now she's throwing Dum Dums and landing mobe 5's.”
On the water Amber is definitely the leader of this group. She’s the first one on the dock to ride and the first one on the dock to teach somebody else how to ride. Most of the crazy stories from life on the road end with Amber putting on her “mom boots” to keep the girls from getting too out of control. It’s interesting to watch these dedicated professionals turn into a pack of kids when the day’s work is done. As the veteran and one of the top competitive riders in the world, Amber commands quite a bit of respect from the other riders and her Sets In Motion section shows why.
Spending the weekend with these riders was definitely a mixed bag of hardcore professionalism and downright let-your-hair-down fun. The one thing all these women have in common is that they go full-throttle whether they’re getting pulled across the water or hanging out together having a good time.
It’s tough to tell who gets the “class clown” title, but I think it’s safe to say that it comes down to either Hayley Smith or Bec Gange. “The most boisterous person, other than myself, would go to Bec,” declared Hayley. “It's almost like she, too, has small person syndrome, yet is stuck in a tall person’s body. I think I am a little more offensive. She just gets extremely excited and doesn't have volume control. Her and I have shared some very funny and loud moments together.”
The premiere of Sets In Motion was just a small part of the weekend. Steve Jones at Mile High Wakeboarding opened up his cable lake to the public for free pulls and instruction from the Sets In Motion girls. Not only did I get my first taste of a two-tower cable system and my first “air” trick, but the girls taught quite a few newbies how to wakeboard for the first time.
Amber even got out on the water with Sheree Perez, a local rider who is paralyzed, but has a Ronix Hayley Smith pro model rigged up to allow her to wakeboard in a sitting position. Amber spent quite a bit of time helping Sheree figure out how to master the turn at the end of the two-tower cable pull. Amber even strapped herself into the rig so that she could get a feel for how it handles. Suffice it to say they didn’t stop until Sheree made a successful turn.
After spending a weekend with the Sets In Motion riders, it’s become clear why these ladies are so influential in our sport both on and off the water. Thanks so much to Oakley and Jack Blodgett for having us out for a great two days with a good chunk of the best female riders in the world. The film is amazing, so you don’t want to miss it when it’s released on August 19. Look for it on the Oakley Women channel on YouTube.com.