Save some of those Fourth of July fireworks “oohs” and “aahs” for Friday and Saturday. That’s when the wildest wakeboarders in the world light up the air over Tampa Bay.
The second Red Bull Wake Open zooms into Garrison Channel in front of the Tampa Bay Convention Center this week featuring 36 athletes from nine different countries — including local daredevils J.D. Webb and Shane Bonifay.
For those who prefer watching extreme sports in high definition, the Wake Open will be televised live on NBC at 4 p.m. Saturday as part of the Red Bull Signature Series with former Auburndale High School student and wakeboard star Parks Bonifay handling the color commentary.
“When I started wakeboarding I couldn’t possibly imagine that the sport would be where it is today,” said Parks, who is Shane’s older brother. “This is what makes the Red Bull Wake Open event so amazing. It’s kind of like the Super Bowl of wakeboarding. The Red Bull Wake Open shows every aspect of wakeboarding at the most progressive (levels) we have ever seen to date. The event has the world’s best riders on the most amazing setups.”
Organizers were so thrilled with the success of last year’s inaugural turnout the 2013 Wake Open was scheduled 10 days earlier to create an even bigger extreme-sports splash.