Wakeboarding: Top riders in Singapore for Embily Open in February

Singapore-based Polish wakeboarder Kacper Lepicki will compete in the Embily Open at East Coast Park on Feb 4 and 5. Mantis Pro Media

Wakeboarding enthusiasts will be able to catch some of the world’s top athletes in action when the Embily Open 2023 is held at the East Coast Park on Feb 4 and 5.

Boasting a prize pool of US$26,000 (S$34,200), the international competition at the Singapore Wake Park will welcome top professionals such as 29-year-old German and 12-time world champion Julia Rick and 23-year-old American John Dreiling, the 2021 Rider of the Year.

Singapore-based Polish wakeboarder Kacper Lepicki, who won the World Wake Association Wake Park Worlds 2022 Junior Pro traditional category in London, will also be competing.

Three categories will be contested for the men and women: pro, open and amateur.

In a move away from the usual competition format, riders who pass the qualification rounds will be placed in a pyramid with either eight or 16 riders (depending on the category).

Two riders will go head to head, competing to get higher points across two runs, with the winner getting to move up the pyramid. Eventually, the final two riders will face off for the title.

Martin Onco, who is part of Wake House, the organising committee for the Embily Open, said Singapore was chosen as the venue to “convince the world-class riders to come here, see the venue, see the country and spread the word inside the community to increase the wakeboarding and wakeskating tourism in Singapore”.

Onco, who is also the vice-president of the Wakeboard Association Singapore (WBA), also hopes that the event will “encourage and motivate” local athletes to represent Singapore on the world stage.

Previously, Wake House had organised the Singapore Wakeboard & Wakeskate Nationals - in collaboration with the WBA - in September 2022 at the Singapore Wake Park.

The organisers are in talks with Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines to hold competitions like the Embily Open in 2023.

The Singapore event is sponsored by Embily.com, a cryptocurrency card and platform.

“The idea is to build a series that will connect to the end of summer in Europe,” said Onco, explaining that most European riders spend their winters in South-east Asia, particularly Thailand.

Singapore Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (SWWF) vice-president Geoffrey Kee added: “It (the event) certainly gives visibility to the sport and encourages our young athletes to strive for something better when they can see such top-class athletes competing.”

Former national wakeboarder Sasha Christian is happy to see a high-level competition in Singapore.

She said: “The cable scene in Singapore has been growing the last couple of years... It’s really a good time to have such an event right in Singapore.”

More details are available at https://wake.house or Instagram page @wake.house.project.

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