It’s not too often that a wakeboard event takes place at an all inclusive resort, so when the bulletin was released for the 2015 Wakeboard World Championships at Mayan Watersports complex I was all in. Don’t worry, having a good time wasn’t the only thing on my mind, the IWWF Worlds are the only qualifier for the World Cup circut, the Paradiso Iberostar was just the added bonus:)
In my experience, if your one to venture into worlds less traveled all inclusives can be a bit boring. In this case however, being host to a World championships event with over 250 riders, all-inclusives are the key for getting to know people from all over the map. Having out my focus on wake park the past few years, I really didn’t know what to expect. It was an IWWF event, which usually means that Countries will send large groups of riders in all divisions in order to place high in the overall rankings. Unfortunately for the Canadians we didn’t really have any financial support we needed, so our small crew was made up of five keeners floating their own way down – Ashley Leugner, Robbie McMillin, Christian Primrose, Mackayla Petrie, and our cheering section Heather Petrie and Sierra Webster.
The trip started out in high class fashion, with Robbie McMillin calling me two hours before we are supposed to get on the flight asking me if I had a spare boardbag. Eek. I was already halfway there so I was of no help to him. The zipper had exploded on his bag, so he rocked up with it jerry-rigged together with a copious amount of zipties. Surprisingly enough the airline didn’t heckle him despite the fact he looked like such a suspect and we were traveling to Mexico of all possible places. Classic. After a fairly mellow flight full of bachelor parties we arrived at the Cancun international airport, greeted of course by a cantina-style airport bar featuring the mexican drink of choice – margarita!
I highly suggest staying at the Paradiso Ibersotar if you ever make your way to the Mayan Riviera, this resort is off the chart. Peacocks, lizards and these strange raccoon-squirrel animals were roaming around freely. There was a pool bar, beach bar, lazy river, lots of great al la carte restaurants and tons of places to just hang out and chill. We grabbed ourselves a couple of cocktails and hit the lobby bar to catch up with some old friends. We ended up heading to bed pretty early so we could be fresh for practice in the morning.
Mayan Wakepark Facility is going to be one of the best wake park facilities in North America. Key words are ‘going to be’. It is a boat lake protected by the wind, a cable park, with hotels & restaurants, all located within minutes to a plethora of all inclusive resorts. However, when we arrived the place was still significantly under construction. I mean 5-6 cranes still digging out the boat lake while the organizing team was running practice. Robbie, Mackayla and I were lucky enough to get our sets in first thing Monday morning, and I had the ride of my life! Georgous baby blue waters and warm temps on a glass lake, all things you can’t beat. Robbie of course, forgot to bring his shorts to practice. Let’s just say that he should probably have a full ride sponsorship from MyPackage for next season.
The contest was pretty spread out over the week, and we had a TON of riders in each division which is always a fun challenge. I drew the short straw with a pretty tough first heat, so I ended up with a one way ticket to LCQ’s. As did Mackayla, Robbie and Christian. LCQ’s went a whole lot better for our crew with a three way sweep by myself, Robbie and Christian. Mackalya had a tough heat and didn’t make it through, which is a testament to how amazing the up and coming Jr Women riders are! Ashley, Robbie and Christian all rode really well in their heats and made it through to the semi-finals. Massive props to the field of both the pro men and women, it was definitely next level riding. I on the other hand fell twice in quarters, which was a huge bummer. Too bad practice runs can’t count right? Ah well you win some you loose some!
I just want to give a bit shout out to our new found Canadian friends Royce and Paula. Heather had met them at the pool bar early in the week and the ended up becoming our professional cheering squad for the entire event. They came out to watch all of us ride, even when it was first thing in the morning. Cheers to you guys!!
The rest of the week we made the most of our time in the Mayan Riveria. Despite all the potential tourist traps the area is definitely worth a visit. The Mayan culture is fascinating. We visited two ruins, Tulum and Coba. The largest pyramid at Coba is called Nohoch Mul, which means “large hill”. It is 42m high and is the tallest ancient Mayan structure in the Yucatan, taller even than the pyramid at Chichen Itza. We also managed to cross off Rio Secreto, part of the vast underground river system of the Mayan Riviera. It is a full day tour where we all ventured underground to see the calcium build-ups called stalactites and stalagmites. They are thousands of years old, and it takes around one hundred years for these deposits to grown only a centimeter. It is so dark that no life grows in the caves so the bottom of the river is calcium build up.
One of the last days we ventured into Cancun to do some snorkeling. We saw tons of tropical fish as well as the ‘underwater museum’. This was originally a reef rehabilitation program set up by a Canadian marine biologist who attempted to create these underwater statues to see if wildlife would take to adapting. Unfortunately the project wasn’t as successful as he had hoped but it is definitely creepy to look down and see the statues of people! The day ended up with a sunset cruise and local meal on the beach on island mujeres. The famous island just off the coast of Cancun.
One of the last nights we ended up in Playa Del Carmen, but you can just look at the photos to see how that evening turned out for yourselves:)
Overall the trip was yet again another amazing experience for our Canadian crew. We spent lots of time meeting some great people, hanging by the pool and soaking in the last bit of sun before the long winter ahead. I can’t wait for the next team trip!