Clifford, Marquardt, Tezuka Win Acworth Pro Tour Stop

May 22, 2011

Acworth, Ga. – Fans packed the shores of Lake Allatoona at Dallas Landing Park today to catch the final rounds of action at the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour stop in Acworth, Ga. The sport’s top pros spent the day battling it out behind the MasterCraft X-Star for wins in the Jr. Pro Men, Pro Women and Pro Men’s divisions.

The Pro Men’s division kicked off the Pro Tour’s last day in Acworth, narrowing the field of 20 riders down to six for the final round of action.

Rookie Steel Lafferty and Seattle’s Nick Jones both made their Pro Men finals debut today against several wakeboarding heavyweights, including former Pro Tour titlist Harley Clifford and reigning champ Phillip Soven.


Both newcomers put up a respectable showing, with Lafferty and Jones finishing in third and fourth place, respectively.

Top seed Phillip Soven appeared to have an edge on the competition in the finals, but ultimately fell short to winner Harley Clifford, who pulled off the upset to take first place in Acworth.

“I’m so stoked to start the season with a win,” said Clifford. “Phil is always tough to go up against, but I rode really well today and came out on top.”


Today’s win marks Clifford’s second consecutive victory in Acworth.

Also walking away a winner in Acworth today is current wakeboard world champion Dean Smith. The 26-year-old Australian won the Rockstar Energy Drink Big-Air Kick Contest, a $1,000 cash prize, after landing a massive Hootchie Backside 360.

In the Pro Women’s division, all eyes were on top seed Amber Wing and former Pro Tour titlist Nicola Butler to see who would come out on top in the finals. But neither favorite would take the win in the six-woman final, as California’s Melissa Marquardt pulled off the upset to claim her first Pro Tour stop victory.


“I’m a little shocked, I didn’t expect to win,” said Marquardt. “But now that I have, I’m stoked about it.”

Marquardt, 27, of Canyon Lake, Calif. landed a massive Back Roll to Blind and a Toeside 540 in her final run to post the winning score of 71.67. Wing and Butler rounded out the top three, respectively.

In the Jr. Pro Men’s division, history was made today, as Shota Tezuka became the first Japanese rider ever to win a Pro Tour event. Tezuka, 17, from Gotenba, Japan, blew the competition out of the water in the four-man final, posting a score of 97.00, a 13-point difference from his next closest competitor. Jacob Valdez and Aussie Dylan Prideaux rounded out the Jr. Pro Men’s podium, respectively.


“It feels awesome, I’m very excited,” Tezuka commented on his win today. “I rode really well, had fun and won.”

In addition to winning the Jr. Pro Men’s finals today, Tezuka turned heads in Acworth, beating out Rusty Malinoski and special guest Parks Bonifay in the Overton’s Double Up Contest. Tezuka took home the $1,000 cash prize for landing a massive Heelside Frontside 900 off the double up.

With the first stop of the season all wrapped up, the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink will now head to Fort Worth, Tex., on June 2-4. Additional 2011 Pro Tour venues include Colorado Springs, Colo., Monroe, Wash., and Knoxville, Tenn.

May 21 Results:

Pro Men

Final Round – Heat #1

1 Harley Clifford AUS 85.00

2 Phillip Soven USA 80.00

3 Steel Lafferty USA 60.00

4 Nick Jones USA 57.50

5 Bob Soven USA 55.00

6 Adam Errington USA 45.00

Pro Women

Final Round – Heat #1

1 Melissa Marquardt USA 71.67

2 Amber Wing AUS 66.67

3 Nicola Butler GBR 58.33

4 Emily Durham USA 53.33

5 Anna Hajek USA 46.67

6 Raimi Merritt USA 36.67

Jr. Pro Men

Final Round – Heat #1

1 Shota Tezuka JPN 97.00

2 Jacob Valdez USA 84.00

3 Dylan Prideaux AUS 83.50

4 Joshua Twelker USA 75.50

Pro Men

Semifinal Round – Heat #1

1 Harley Clifford AUS 76.67

2 Adam Errington USA 65.00

3 Bob Soven USA 60.17

4 Rusty Malinoski CAN 54.00

5 Corey Bradley USA 48.33

Pro Men

Semifinal Round – Heat #2

1 Phillip Soven USA 73.33

2 Nick Jones USA 60.00

3 Steel Lafferty USA 53.33

4 Kyle Rattray CAN 45.00

5 Trevor Hansen USA 40.00

Jr. Pro Men

Semifinal Round – Heat #1

1 Shota Tezuka JPN 97.25

2 Joshua Twelker USA 85.75

3 Freddie Wayne USA 72.75

4 Gunnar Shuler USA 65.75

5 Michael Dowdy USA 65.00

Jr. Pro Men

Semifinal Round – Heat #2

1 Dylan Prideaux AUS 96.25

2 Jacob Valdez USA 89.75

3 Kyle Evans USA 76.50

4 Mark Kroon NED 69.50

5 Gordon Harrison USA 68.00

Pro Men

Quarterfinal Round – Heat #1

1 Bob Soven USA 74.17

2 Nick Jones USA 73.33

3 Andrew Adkison USA 60.00

4 Kirby Liesmann USA 53.33

Pro Men

Quarterfinal Round – Heat #2

1 Steel Lafferty USA 65.00

2 Adam Errington USA 60.00

3 Dean Smith AUS 53.33

4 Olivier Derome CAN 50.00

Pro Men

Quarterfinal Round – Heat #3

1 Trevor Hansen USA 70.00

2 Rusty Malinoski CAN 56.67

3 AJ Racinelli USA 45.00

4 Shaun Murray USA 38.33

Pro Men

Quarterfinal Round – Heat #4

1 Harley Clifford AUS 80.00

2 Kyle Rattray CAN 70.00

3 Jimmy LaRiche USA 58.33

4 Danny Burnstein USA 50.00

Pro Men

Quarterfinal Round – Heat #5

1 Phillip Soven USA 71.67

2**** Corey Bradley USA 63.33

3 Austin Hair USA 55.00

4 Phillip Aslinger USA 45.00


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