Thailand’s Daniel Grant just scraped into the final before securing a superb third straight victory in the Red Bull Wake of Steel in Linz on Saturday. In front of an enthralled crowd, the wakeboarders’s sublime second run in the final over a specially converted cargo ship in the harbour stole the show.
With a fantastic crowd and the sun shining it was the perfect setting for 18 of the world´s best wakeboarders to battle it out for the win. Riders from 14 countries took part before that was whittled down to 10 from two groups for the semi-finals. The five riders for the super final were then determined in a series of direct clashes with Grant, James Windsor (AUS), Julian Cohen (USA), Ben LeClair (CAN) and Szebasztian Szolath (HUN) advancing through.
Although Grant sneaked into the super final in fifth place, the young Thai rider showed how he has won the prestigious event twice already. He was able to steal the lead away from Ben LeClair of Canada with a Moby Dick 540 on the kicker and some unbelievably tidy tricks on the rails in his second run. Windsor, who put in consistently good performances throughout the day, tried a last throw of the dice in his very final run, but wasn’t able to move up the leaderboard and finished third under the watchful eye of wakeboard legend Parks Bonifay.
“The win feels surreal,” Grant said. “I actually came here without any expectations, and I have surprised myself with the result. I’m virtually lost for words. In comparison to all the other obstacle events, Red Bull Wake of Steel is definitely the most extraordinary, and it’s the biggest challenge, but things just go well for me here in Austria.“
Results: 1. Daniel Grant (THA) 91.00 points; 2. Ben LeClair (CAN) 87.00 points; 3. James Windsor (AUS) 76.30 points; 4. Julian Cohen (USA) 64.00 points; 5. Szebsztian Szolath (HUN) 60.70 Points