Rookie Clifford Wins Fort Worth Tour Stop

Fans packed the shores of Texas MasterCraft Sunday, May 31, for the final rounds of the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour stop in Fort Worth, Texas. Riders in the Pro Men, Women and Jr. Pro Men divisions, threw down their best runs of the contest to try to win the first Tour stop of the 2009 season.

The one reoccurring theme throughout this weekend's contest in the Pro Men's division was the upsets created by rookie riders, and today was no different. Harley Clifford of Thornlands, Australia, shocked everyone in Fort Worth when the 15-year-old rookie was called to the top of the Pro Men's podium. Clifford, posting a 94.75 in his final run, beat out Olivier Derome, Aaron Rathy and two-time wakeboard world champion, Andrew Adkison for the top spot.

"I'm just stoked… there are no other words," says Clifford. "Making it to the Finals was huge for me, but winning my first U.S. Pro Tour stop is just unreal."

As unreal as it may seem to Clifford, the rookie rider now sits at the top of the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour standings list, making him the top-seeded rider in the next contest.

Incidentally, another rookie rider, England's Nick Davies, claimed the ROCKSTAR Best Trick Award with his massive Toe-9 off of the U.S. Air Force kicker. The Award is a $1,000 cash prize.

Continuing her success from 2008, England's Nicola Butler took first-place today in the Pro Women's division Finals. Butler, 17, who captured the win in Fort Worth last year, faced off in a stacked six-woman Final. Former wakeboard world champ Amber Wing and four-time X Games gold medalist Dallas Friday rounded out the women's podium, respectively.

The top amateur riders in the Jr. Pro Men's division hit the water today for their four-man Final. The heat was tight between most of the riders, but Bob Soven of Longwood, Florida stood out from the rest to take the first Tour stop win of the season with nearly a 15-point differential from his next closest competitor. Phillip Alsinger, Mitch Langfield and Steel Lafferty rounded the Final, respectively.

The MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour will make its next stop of the season in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, on June 19-21.

Check out our editorial video of the two pro men's podium-toppers here.