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From Matt Sexton:

When it comes to kiteboarding events the United States isn’t exactly regarded as a renowned location with world class competitions. In recent years events like the Triple-S have grabbed the attention of top international riders and spectators, but as a whole the U.S. competition scene remains largely under the radar.

In 2010 a crew from Hood River, Oregon, dubbed the Slider Project decided to change the game and host the first annual Ro Sham Throw Down. Inspired by slope style events from other sport and the diverse forms of riding that are present in the Triple-S, the Ro Sham Throw Down is a slope style event geared towards providing a proving ground for the most well-rounded riders in the game.

Unlike traditional PKRA and freestyle events, the Ro Sham tests riders on their combined ability to preform powered load & pop freestyle while also being able to perform tricks off features, obstacles, and kickers. The criteria for judging is based more on style, technicality, and diversity rather than just being able thrive in one aspect of the sport. The problem with hosting a proper slope style event is the ability to create proper features that the riders can safely slide and jib. Thanks to Joby Cook and Forrest Rae, the two in charge of the Slider Project, Hood River now boasts one of the most legit rail parks for kiteboarding in the world.

While the 2010 Ro Sham Throw Down put the event on the map, this year brought in an international presence and proved to the industry that the Ro Sham is here to stay. With several new features brought to the table such as the Liquid Force Dancefloor, the Best Handrail, The Slingshot Kicker, and the extended Airush BoomBox the guys from the Slider Project pieced together a really sick park. Riders flooded the town from all over the world including New Zealand, Australia, England, Florida, Cape Hatteras, and South America.

Despite the multiple curve balls thrown, the organizers managed to pull things off extremely well. Hood River is known for many things but two of the most stand out traits would have to be its wind and its awesome sandbar. 2011 hasn’t had much of either. With the most water and snow runoff in 30 years the sandbar hadn’t even shown itself and the wind has been extremely erratic due to shifting currents and a late arrival of summer in the gorge.

With riders and organizers working around the clock for almost a week leading up to the event all features were in the water and ready to go on the first morning of the event. Also, thanks to some great administrative networking the organizers worked with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and the Port of Hood River to lower the water level providing the riders with flat water and a good event location despite the sandbar having been underwater for the entire season.

The way the Ro Sham works is there is a select crew of invited riders who have been pushing wakestyle riding for a long time and are well versed in both freestyle and hitting features. There is also a large qualifier round which allows any locals or international riders to show up and prove their way into the event. This years qualifying riders were Joe Ruscito (Fla), John Perry (Hood River), Rich Sabo (Hatteras), Aaron Abel (Fla), Sean Reyngoudt (Fla), Jake Kelsick (Antigua), and Brandon Kerr (Hood River).

Then the qualifiers riders moved on to 8-man 30 minute heats with the top two advancing to the finals. After four grueling heats and wind conditions varying from 15 – 35 mph the following 8 riders were selected for the finals: Alex Fox (Florida), Jake Kelsick (Antigua), Brandon Schied (Hatteras), Andre Phillip (Antigua), Aaron Hadlow (England), Sam Light (England), Jesse Richman (Hawaii), and Billy Parker (Florida).

The Womens Final was equally impressive with everyone charging all the features and landing a number of flat water tricks despite the gusty winds. Stand out girls in the finals included Bruna Kajiya, Tiffany Schrader, Lulu Vroman, Clair Lutz, and Sensi Graves.

Mens Results:

  1. Billy Parker
  2. Aaron Hadlow
  3. Andre Phillip
  4. Brandon Schied

Womens Results

  1. Bruna Kajiya
  2. Tiffany Schrader
  3. Lulu Vroman