Harf Near Perfect in Portland

Portland, Oregon - Going into the final day of the 2005 Mastercraft Pro Tour Season, 16 Pro Men wakeboarders and eight pro wakeskaters had their sights set on a Pro Tour victory in Portland, Oregon. Among those hopefuls were four wakeboarders focusing on a 2005 Pro Tour Title. The high stakes atmosphere brought out the best in each division and the day ended with two brand new Pro Tour Champions.

For Salem, Oregon, native Philip Combs the end of the day was much better than the beginning. Combs began the day watching from the shore as he didn't qualify for the MasterCraft Junior X Series final. But Combs, the series leader coming into the event ended up having enough points to win the series anyway, making him the first Oregon native ever to win a wakeboard tour season title.

Among the wakeskaters it was Phillip Basino winning the day after prevailing in his head-to-head meeting with SeaDoo watercraft Pro Wakeskate Series leader Brandon Thomas. He linked his moves together and worked the rails on the way to the victory, the third of his young career. While not the winner of the finals, Brandon Thomas still found reason to celebrate in capturing his first SeaDoo Pro Wake Skate Tour title. His consistent, progressive riding throughout the season had him clinching the title earlier in the contest and has him included among the truly elite in the sport.

Portland native Collin Wright finished the day in sixth place in the SeaDoo watercraft Pro Wakeskate Series season standings.

There was much more drama among the Pro Men as three Australians - Daniel Watkins, Josh Sanders and Brett Eisenhauer - joined Phillip Soven in the pursuit of the overall Pro Tour Title. Still others, like Danny Harf, Tino Santori and Parks Bonifay were immune to the Tour Title tensions and rode with aplomb and abandon.

In the final round it was Josh Sanders taking on Danny Harf in an epic battle which will be remembered as one of the best showdowns ever. Harf rode first and sealed the win with a run with several 720 variations and a 900 on the double up. Josh Sanders, who had clinched the Pro Tour Title with his presence in the final, rode more relaxed than he had all weekend, having a solid run to wrap up his tremendous season.

"I still can't believe it," said Josh after he was crowned the season champ during the awards ceremony. " I woke up this morning hoping to be here, but I knew it was going to be a tough road. I'm proud not just for myself, but my two best friends in the world were up here with me," referring to Daniel Watkins and Brett Eisenhauer, who finished second and third overall. "We all started riding pro together eight years ago and it was awesome to share the stage like that with them. It really is just incredible."

Sanders is the first international rider to win the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour. It was also the first time three international riders held the top three positions at season's end of the Pro Wakeboard Tour.

The MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour is a five-event circuit organized by World Sports & Marketing of Orlando, Florida. Powered by Indmar Marine Engines, the Pro Tour has the support of the following: SeaDoo watercraft, Verizon Wireless, Perfect Pass, Hyperlite, Infinity Marine Audio, Toyo Tires, KMC Wheels, Liquid Force, Gator Boards, CWB, J - Star, O'Brien, Double-up, Billabong, Oakley, Reef, Body Glove, UGP, Epiphone Guitars, , buywake.com, Love Sac, Capix Helmets, Indo Boards, Execute, Mikker.com, Wakeworld.com, Wakeboarder.com, Monster Towers, Say I Won't, Ten-80 and One Percent Design.

WakeBoarding, published by World Publications, is the official magazine of the Pro Wakeboard Tour. Wake Boarding is the definitive source on all things wakeboarding, with expert coverage of professional instruction, gear, boats and the latest news.

SUNDAY, 31 July 2005