The top pro wakeboarders on the planet are set to battle it out on the waters of Sparks Marina in the greater Reno area of Sparks, Nev. on August 14-16 for the fifth and final stop of the 2009 MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour. Athletes will compete through a series of elimination rounds throughout the three-day event, judged on rail tricks and big-air maneuvers, as they’re towed on the water behind the official PWT towboat, the MasterCraft X-Star.
Athletes competing at the final tour stop are not only vying for a cash purse but also for vital points toward the tour standings. The highest total points-earner at the end of the five-event season will claim the coveted Pro Tour title.
In the Pro Men’s division, 15-year-old rookie phenom Harley Clifford enters the final Pro Tour stop as the top-seeded rider in the contest. Should Clifford top the contest podium at Sparks Marina, the Aussie young gun will become only the second rider ever to win the Pro Tour title in his rookie year, behind wakeboarding legend Parks Bonifay. The Australian native will also become only the second international athlete ever to win the U.S. Pro Tour title, behind fellow Aussie Josh Sanders.
Although Harley Clifford is the front-runner in the contest, the rookie faces a tough field of competitors, who are also in contention for the Pro Tour title. Aaron Rathy, Phillip Soven and Andrew Adkison all have a shot at the overall title and will look to leave Clifford in their wake to win it.
Sparks Marina will also serve as the fourth stop in the Queen of Wake series for the Pro Women’s division. The newly crowned U.S. national champion Dallas Friday paces the field of female rippers, but she faces an unfavorable history of competing in Reno. Defending Queen of Wake titlist Nicola Butler and former wakeboard world champ Amber Wing look to take advantage of Friday’s losing streak in Reno and dethrone the points-leader from the top spot, as both riders trail close behind her.
In the Jr. Pro Men’s division, Bob Soven looks to follow in his older brother’s footsteps by claiming his fifth consecutive win to sweep the Pro Tour season. Older brother Phillip Soven accomplished this feat in the Pro Men’s division last year. If Bob Soven wins at Sparks Marina, he will become the first rider ever to sweep the Pro Tour in the Jr. Pro Men’s division.
Overall awards for the season and for fifth tour stop will be given out at the annual Pro Tour Awards ceremony held on Sunday, August 16 from 8-10 p.m. in the Celebrity Showroom of John Ascuaga’s Nugget.
The MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour is organized by World Sports & Marketing of Orlando, Fla. The Pro Tour has the support of the following sponsors: MasterCraft, Rockstar Energy Drink, Mona Vie, the U.S. Air Force, Indmar, Billabong, Hyperlite, CWB, Ronix, Liquid Force, Gator Boards, Oakley, Ride the Wake, FUEL TV and Allisports.com.