Undefeated and under 20-years old: this is how to describe the number-one-ranked male and female rider of the 2008 MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour, which is set to hit the Twin Cities area at Island Lake County Park, June 7-8, 2008.
Phillip Soven, 19, of Longwood, Fla. and Nicola Butler, 16, Cape Town, South Africa both enter the Twin Cities contest, the third of five tour stops, as the top-ranked athletes in the Tour’s Indmar Performance Standings.
Phillip Soven, undefeated in the 2008 season, leads the Pro Men’s Division with a score of 200-points. Winning the Tour’s first-two contests of the season, Soven becomes the first pro male wakeboarder in five years to start the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour season off with two wins, Shawn Watson accomplished the feat in 2003.
Nicola Butler, also undefeated in the 2008 season, paces the Pro Women’s Division with a score of 200-points. Claiming the top spot in both of the Tour’s first-two stops, Butler becomes the first female rider also in five years to start the Tour with two wins, ESPN Espy winner Dallas Friday accomplished the feat in 2003.
Both Soven and Butler, two of the youngest riders on the Pro Tour, are looking to make history at the Twin Cities contest. If either pro ripper rides away with a victory in Minnesota, they would become the first rider in the Tour’s 17-year history to win the first-three contests of the season.
The MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour is a season-long points chase toward the tour title and the Indmar Performance Award, a $10,000 cash bonus to the top points earner in the Pro Men’s Division and a $5,000 prize for the Pro Women’s Division winner.
The contest combines aspects of snowboarding, water skiing and skateboarding. Riders strap themselves onto a wakeboard, which looks like a broader version of a snowboard. The riders are then pulled behind a boat as in water skiing, up and down the course at a speed of approximately 25 mph. Like a street course for skateboarding, the course is filled with ramps and rails. In addition to rail tricks, riders perform aerial stunts, soaring 20-plus feet in the air off the wake that the boat creates. These moves are scored by a panel of judges, with the highest possible score being 100 points.
The event is a two-day carnival of water-sports action. But not all of the action takes place on the water. On land, fans will experience tons of great food and music; athlete autograph signings; chances to win free gear; and shopping at the most cutting-edge stores for water-sports equipment including boats, wakeboards, wakeskates, sunglasses and the latest in wakeboarding and surfing fashions. The event will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Tickets can be purchased at Island Lake County Park on June 7-8 for $10 (general admission), $5 (ages 6-12) or free (ages 5 and under). To purchase tickets in advance, visit prowakeboardtour.com. General-admission tickets are buy one get one free online only until June 6, 12 p.m. EST.