Strong Current Forces Riders to Adapt at Nautique WWA Nationals

Strong Current Challenges Wakeboarders to Adapt at Nautique WWA Nationals

Minneapolis, Minn. – The top wakeboarders in the United States took to the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis today to continue vying for national titles at the 2011 Nautique WWA Wakeboard National Championships, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink. While all of today's five skill-level divisions competed on the same body of water, the Jr. Pro Men's category was forced to alter their traditional competition format, due to the strong current of the mighty Mississippi.

“It was really different and really challenging,” said Jr. Pro Men’s division rider Daniel Powers. “We had to do all wake tricks, which was difficult because the water was so choppy.”

Jr. Pro Men riders, like Powers, normally have to incorporate rail-based tricks on floating pieces of apparatus, in addition to their wake-based tricks, during their competition run. But the strength of the River’s current forced tournament officials to remove the apparatus from the water, as equipment safety anchors could not be secured.

“We tried multiple times to set the anchors, but they refused to remain in place,” said Chief Judge Chris Bischoff. “If the anchors aren’t secure then the equipment isn’t safe, and we’re not willing to put our competitors at risk like that. They’ll just have to adapt to an all wake format.”

The 12 riders in the Jr. Pro Men’s division were split into three heats of four during today’s semifinal round, with only the top two riders from each heat advancing onto Sunday’s finals.

Powers, who is featured in the August issue of Sports Illustrated and was projected to be one of the division’s finalists, saw an early exit from the competition today, due to several uncharacteristic falls.

“It was really rollie out there; pretty much everyone was falling,” said Powers. “It is what it is, but I wish I did better.”

Among the division’s six finalists are Jacob Valdez, Freddie Wayne, Mike Dowdy, Kyle Evans, Gordon Harrison and Shota Tezuka. The six-man final for the division’s national title is scheduled for Sunday, July 31 at 9:30 a.m.

The Nautique WWA Nationals will continue with several other divisions tomorrow, July 30, beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m.

The 2011 Nautique WWA Wakeboard National Championships, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink is free to the public during all five days of competition. For those who cannot attend the event in person, just “like” the King of Wake’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/prowakeboardtour) to watch all the live streaming footage.

The 2011 Nautique WWA Nationals will also air on the VERSUS television network at 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Friday, July 29 – Day 3 of 5 Results:

Jr. Boys Beginner Division

Final Round – Heat #1

1    Kevin Duffy    88.33

2    Andrew Scheafer    76.67

3    Thomas Herman    60.00

4    Ryan O’Toole    58.33

Jr. Boys Division

Final Round – Heat #1

1    Tyler Worrall    63.33

2    Kade Kasey    48.33

3    Carter Mathter    41.67

Jr. Pro Men Division

Semifinal Round – Heat #1

1    Jacob Valdez    80.00

2    Kyle Evans    71.67

3    Joshua Twelker    61.67

4    Robbie Houlihan    43.33

Jr. Pro Men Division

Semifinal Round – Heat #2

1    Mike Dowdy    78.33

2    Gordon Harrison    65.00

3    Pierce Homsey    56.67

4    Kyler Green    45.00

Jr. Pro Men Division

Semifinal Round – Heat #3

1    Shota Tezuka    71.67

2    Freddie Wayne    63.33

3    Tony Iacconi    61.67

4    Daniel Powers    53.33

Boys Beginner Division

Semifinal Round – Heat #1

1    Bryson Hancock    70.00

2    Mitch Allen    60.00

3    Michael Buss    46.67

4    Andy Birch    40.00

5    Zach McCauley    33.33

6    Chris Birch    23.33

Jr. Women Division

Semifinal Round – Heat #1

1    Gianna Dinatale    66.67

2    Katelyn Fenner    56.67

3    Delanie Parker    46.67

4    Julie Bray    30.00

Jr. Women Division

Semifinal Round – Heat #2

1    Tori Koch    81.67

2    Rachel Orgill    71.67

3    Mallorie Henry    60.00

4    Hannah Green    46.67

5    Rosy Bray    28.33