The Valdez brothers demonstrate their style in the Back Bay. Both Jacob, above, and his brother Eddie, below, qualified to compete in the Vans Triple Crown world championship at the end of this month.
Youngster is a national wakeboarding champion Canyon Lake wakeboarder, Jacob Valdez, 10, made his family and community proud last month after winning first place in the junior boys division of the Vans Triple Crown National Championship, held in Indianapolis on August 21 and 22. He will compete in the final competition of the Vans Triple Crown this month. Known as the Vans WWA Worlds, the event will take place September 30 to October 3 in Orlando.
His brother, Eddie, 14, took third in his heat and also qualified to compete in the Worlds, as did Melissa Marquardt, who took third in the pro womens division. In all nearly 300 riders competed, making the 2004 Vans WWA Wakeboard National Championships one of the largest events in wakeboarding history. The first leg of the Vans Triple Crown took place in Portland on June 19 and 20 but amateurs were not invited to that event.
The brothers have competed at one event or another on almost every weekend of the season, with daily training taking place in Canyon Lake, according their mom, Robyn Valdez. On August 28, Jacob won the Arizona state wakeboarding title after competing in a series of six Arizona Wakeboarding Association (AWA) tournaments with boys older than he is.
The exposure has brought fame, if not fortune, to the boys and their family through national exposure in wakeboard magazines and advertising. According to Robyn, Jacob will appear in the 2005 Hyperlite brochure to be distributed worldwide, and could possibly represent United States wakeboarding in Spain. They are living like little rock stars they are so well known, says Robyn.
But though the family feels blessed by Jacobs success, they are, at the same time, saddened for the family of Brett Downey, 11, who was also a national figure in extreme sports. Brett died in a motocross accident in San Bernardino while the Valdez family was in Indianapolis. Kathy and I always joked back and forth that our boys should try each others sport, says Robyn. Brett was to motocross what Jacob is to wakeboarding. My heart goes out to that family.