January 30, 2017

Warm weather, blue skies, sunshine and perfect waves provided an unbeatable combo for this year's Pro Watercross-sanctioned Daytona Freeride, held Jan. 12-15. 

The brainchild of organizer Nick Foederer and sanctioned by Pro Watercross, the 2017 Hydro-Turf/Hot Products Daytona Freeride brought together some of the industry's top riders as well as some surf newbies to show of some awe-inspiring wave carving - not to mention some amazing high-flying flips. 

From the last-minute Big Air competition on Friday and Saturday's MotoOption Surf n' Style and backflip "Cherry Popper" competition to Sunday's challenging morning surf, the Freeride provided some high-tech machines, high-talent riders and some serious fun. 

Hard fought battles marked each contest, with top winners barely beating out their closest competition - but Saturday night's rider's party and award ceremony handed out bragging rights and coveted hardware for the year.

In the Cherry Buster competition - presented by GearHead - Nick Covert nailed down the first backflip and took the top spot. David Gaskins claimed the most flips as well as the biggest flips, and Brian Sawyer also completed his first-ever flip. This year was the first year that each of the competitors in the Cherry Buster completed a flip. 

Tom Scaccianoce snagged the Big Air title, just beating out Jake Bright. In the battle for the Surf n' Style trophy, Brandon Lawlor snagged third, Mark Gomez grabbed a solid second, and Sean Starr of California walked away with the 2017 title and trophy.