WEST CHESTER, Ohio (Aug. 12, 2017)—The Supra Boats Pro Wakeboard Tour wrapped its 25th anniversary season in West Chester, Ohio, on Saturday. This was the first time the industry’s largest and longest-running competition circuit visited Voice of America MetroPark, and a combination of great weather, huge crowds and massive action highlighted the season’s grand finale.
Even before Saturday’s competition started, this was the most competitive bid for the championship in recent memory. A mere 10 points separated living-legend Harley Clifford (AUS) and defending champ Mike Dowdy (USA), who were tied for first, from 2016 Rookie of the Year Nic Rapa (AUS) leading into the event.
Out of those three, whoever won in West Chester would take it all, and at the end of the day, it came down to the very last run in the best-of-two finals round.
When it looked like Rapa had it in the bag two times over, world champion Clifford hit the water for the final time in his comeback year, after taking time off in 2016 to recover from an injury. Clifford, who is often referred to as “the phenom” in the announcer’s booth, then pulled off a truly phenomenal run, culminating in a history-making third double back flip (a move that was rarely seen in competition before this year) for the win.
“I had to land the best run I’ve ever done to beat Nic,” Clifford said after accepting trophies for first place in the event and the overall tour. “The feeling of landing that last trick, a double toe-side backroll which sealed the deal for me, is next-level – it’s unbelievable.”
Unprecedentedly competitive finals rounds was a theme during the 2017 Supra Boats Pro Wakeboard Tour, and Clifford doesn’t see that trend ending anytime soon.
“Wakeboarding is so competitive now that every win is going to have to be like that. Everyone is throwing double flips and 1080s and 900s, and I’m just excited to see what the future holds.”
For both Saturday’s competition and the tour overall, Rapa and Dowdy follow in second and third place, respectively.
In the third annual Supra Boats Pro Wakesurf Tour, Florida-native Noah Flegel capped an incredible season as the overall champion for the second year in a row. As the only competitor in the tour to ride in both the wakesurfing and wakeboarding divisions, Flegel also qualified for his first wakeboard finals heat of the season.
“It feels incredible,” Flegel said of his big day. “I couldn’t be more stoked to come back next year and hopefully take both titles.”
Parker Payne (USA) and Sean Silveira (USA) took home prizes for second and third place, respectively, for both the event and the wakesurf tour overall.
In his inaugural year on the Supra Boats Pro Wakeboard Tour, 19-year-old Jake Pelot earned the Rookie of the Year award for his impressive work against the more seasoned pros throughout the series.
“It was super unexpected, but I’m pumped,” Pelot said. “I’ll definitely come back next year and hopefully do a little better.”
The Supra Boats SA550 was the official tow boat for the tour again in 2017. Purpose-built to create clean, consistent and controlled wakes, it is designed to push athletes to new levels while preserving strict handling and a balanced ride for those onboard.
Supra Pro Tour #4: West Chester, OH
Men’s Professional Quarter Finals
Men’s Professional Semi Finals