Red Bull Wake Open expected to draw thousands excited to see big air and fancy tricks

First time Red Bull hosted new event in Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. - This weekend is all about the big air, crazy tricks, and probably some unfortunate splashes in the Hillsborough River in Tampa.

For the first time, Red Bull brought its new wake boarding contest to town, called the Wake Open. More than 30 of the world's top riders are competing in the event.

It's a homecoming of sorts for wake boarder, JD Webb of Auburndale.

"To have this event come to pretty much our home town, all of our friends and family can come watch us and all the people from Tampa," he said. "So it's definitely exciting that Red Bull brought it here.

Webb competes around the world and calls this one of the best he's seen.

While the city is looking for some big air, it's more focused on what it hopes are some big crowds.

"The economic impact that's derived from hosting this event is going to be something special," said Jason Aughey with the Tampa Bay Sports Commission -- a non-profit that recruits events into town.

He says they worked hard to bring this one here, especially due to the city's successful history with Red Bull.

The company's other signature event, Flutag, brought more than 100-thousand people to downtown Tampa.

The Florida Department of Revenue reports bars and restaurants in Hillsborough had sales spike more than a million dollars in both months that event was in town.

"In terms of direct spending, we're looking again over a million dollars with this event," Aughey said.

It's the kind of spending that Suzanne Galarmeau is doing.

"It's what brought us here for the weekend," she said.

She and her friends found the perfect perch at Jackson's Bistro and Bar that overlooks the action.

The restaurant doesn't quite know what to expect. They admit Red Bull's last event caught them off guard.

"We were surprised a few years ago when they first came," said Kelley Flynn, Director of Marking and Sales at Jackson's. "We didn't anticipate as many people that did show up, so we're expecting somewhere in the vicinity of 15-thousand people."


4-6pm Big Air Qualifying
5-7pm Big Air Semis
7-7:30pm Big Air Final Round

9am-Noon Wake Park Qualifying
1-2pm Wake Park Semis
2-2:30pm Wake Park Finals
2:45pm Awards Presentation


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