OBX Flowgang ready to defend their home turf this Saturday

By on August 23, 2018

Randy Owens on the Flowrider. (Candace Owens)

A new gang is making waves on the Outer Banks, and area law enforcement isn’t even aware of their presence.

The group is the OBX Flowgang, but you won’t find its members in a police line up. Instead, they are lining up at H2OBX’s Flowrider machine.

And they are in earnest preparation for this Saturday’s Flow Tour Pro-Am competition on their home turf at the Powells Point waterpark.

A Flowrider is a surf simulator introduced over 25 years ago in water parks and on cruise ships. Now there are over 200 Flowriders in service across the country and around the globe.

Flowriding has been broken into two skill sets: Stand Up and Boogie.

“It’s a combination of surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, and wakeboarding, but I think it’s most like wakeboarding,” said Randy Owens.

Owens, who prefers the boogie style, could be considered the Flowgang’s Godfather. The 35-year-old electrician, and married father of two, recently bagged second place at a competition in Wildwood, N.J.

He didn’t travel alone, as three junior Flowgang members, Griffin Staats, Jackson Meyers and Eli Mercer, made the trip too.

“They didn’t make the finals, but they held their own,” Owens said.

Mercer, 16, who plans to compete in Saturday’s stand-up division, noted New Jersey’s competition caliber.

“There was a lot, and they were really good,” Mercer said. “But one of the guys did teach me a kick flip.”

It’s not uncommon to see Flowriding enthusiasts give each other a helping hand, something Damian Dondero, general manager of H2OBX has noticed.

“It’s awesome, the OBX Flowgang is here every day tearing it up with some pretty amazing tricks,” Dondero said. “They are all here supporting and pushing each other to make themselves better.”

Pat Barr, like Owens, will be competing in the Masters Division Boogie Category.

Before he found Flow Rider, the 42-year-old contractor was primarily a long boarder, but now you’ll see him on the Flowrider whenever his work schedule will permit.

Barr and Owens have a few similarities, each having a son and daughter. Both believe they are more adept at the Boogie Style, and both want to see each other do well.

“Nobody is against each other,” Barr said. “We give each other pointers.”

Mercer has an appreciation for the Flowgang OG’s.

“Don’t take this the wrong way,” Mercer said.”But for their age, those guys are really good.”

Owens believes Barr is the Masters division favorite. “He has a couple tricks I don’t have,” Owens said.

Jackson Meyers shows a move. (Rebecca Meyers)

Barr’s top trick is the Apocalypse while Owens go-to move is the Hub Cap. Other colorfully named tricks Boogie category judges will look for are the Rodeo Flip, Overload, and the DK Roll, while Stand-Up standards include the Shuvit, Kick Flip, Fast Plant and Laser Flip.

Owens will also work as a judge on Saturday, though not in his own events.

“There are multiple variations or combinations of these moves that make more complex moves and score bigger in competition,” Owens said.

“Judges also look for hand/butt checks that make the move score less, we gotta keep it clean and fluid,” Owens said.

Each competitor will get three scored runs from a three-judge panel, with the top two scores counted.

In many competitions, the preliminary rounds will be comprised of four-person heats. The best seeded rider will usually be the last to ride, and the top finisher will advance.

The OBX Flowgang has pointed toward a potential solid showing on Saturday, but that’s not their main goal. The mission of the group is to lift up each member, and help everyone enjoy the Flowrider experience at H2OBX.

“We have about 30 regulars,” Owens said. “But whether you’re here every day, or it’s it’s your first time in line, if you’re in line, you’re part of the OBX Flowgang.”

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