Adam Fields and Fields Johnson of AF Wake brought gold home to Lake Gaston from the World Wake Association World Championships in Carmen Del Playa last week.
Fields, who won his second world title after a string of second-place finishes, will be competing in the 2019 International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation World Wakeboard Championships in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates from Nov. 19-23.
Fields also holds a position on the World Wakeboard Council as an athlete representative, made the USA team through pre-qualifying events and will represent team USA and AF Wake in the IWWF competitions, a separate wakeboarding organizations from the WWA.
“I expect to see a lot of the same faces, just more of them,” said Fields. “I also expect stiffer competition.”
The WWA World Championships is the second major event that Johnson competed in, winning a national event a few weeks ago.
“I didn’t feel like an underdog going into it,” said Johnson. “People might have heard my name before, but had no idea who I am. I had a little recognition and may be gaining more traction now.”
Fields said that, “Johnson made such a strong statement at nationals, that people were ready to see him do his thing again, and he went out and did not let them down.”
The pair thought it was going to be close, but Johnson beat out the other competitors in his division by almost seven points. Fields also won his division by seven points.
“We train at this for months, and it has been an ongoing journey for years,” said Fields.
Johnson and Fields train in their sport most mornings and whenever the conditions are right and they can get on the water.
Fields helps Johnson plan his runs, and Johnson practices those runs over and over again.
Fields practices individual tricks and can pick through his arsenal in a competition to better “destroy” his opponents.
The WWA World Championships were held at the Mayan Watersports Complex, which offers a series of lakes designed for boat or cable wakeboarding that provide ideal conditions allowing professionals to perform at the top of their skill level.
The conditions for the AF Wake team were almost ideal. Fields’ last heat was completed in the dark, due to boat issues earlier in the day.
“It turns out (Fields) can do an S-Bend in the dark,” said Johnson.
According to Fields, an S-Bend is essentially flying through the air like Superman while doing a 360-degree spin. After his nighttime run that he completed the trick, some of the judges and competitors were ready to hand him the win.
“It’s a high risk maneuver, and you have to go massive when you do it,” said Fields. “It was dark, and I couldn’t see the wake. I knew that if I could get in the air, I was going for it. I really wanted to win.”
The team at AF Wake hasn’t picked up any new sponsors yet, but are hoping their world wins will bring some attention to their brand and the events they host at Lake Gaston.
“It costs a lot of money to get a wakeboarding event on national television,” said Fields. “Sponsors like Verizon and ExxonMobil could help.”
AF Wake is sponsored by global companies like Centurion Boats and Liquid Force, as well as local to Lake Gaston companies like Doozie Boat Lifts and Overby Marine Sales and Services, Inc.
The AF Wake team also hopes the global win will increase the AF Wakeboarding school’s recognition both locally and internationally.
“We are a world-renowned school, and there are people on Lake Gaston that have never heard of us,” said Fields. “We have been at this for a long time. We have students that come from as far away as South Korea, France, and Columbia.”
The AF Wake team has coached riders from their first lesson all the way to national and world competitions.
For more information drop by the shop at 1881 Eaton Ferry Rd., Littleton, N.C. or visit them at afwake.com.