The King of Wake — the world’s elite pro wakeboarding series — makes its fifth stop of the 2010 season on July 14-18 in the greater Reno area of Sparks, Nevada, with the Air Nautique WWA Wakeboard National Championships, presented by ROCKSTAR. With four of the eight stops already in the books for the 2010 season, only 27 of the 62 riders remain in contention for the King of Wake crown. After Nationals, only 10 of those 27 pros will still be alive in the points chase.
The Air Nautique WWA Wakeboard National Championships, presented by ROCKSTAR, serves as the final contest in the series before the Chase for the Crown. The Chase tightens the points race in the series by adjusting the totals of the top 10 riders in the standings, following the fifth stop of the season.
Only the 10 riders involved in the Chase will have the three remaining stops in the series to top each other in the standings for the King of Wake crown.
“The Chase is kind of like our version of the playoffs,” said defending King of Wake Aaron Rathy, who currently ranks 20th in the standings. “Nationals is going to be a high-stakes contest, with a lot of added pressure to step up our riding. Nobody wants to end their season early.”
Currently, 16-year-old Aussie phenom Harley Clifford leads the King of Wake standings with 360 points. Two-time King of Wake crown-bearer Phillip Soven trails closely behind Clifford with 335 points, while former wakeboard world champion Rusty Malinoski rounds out the top three with 246 points.
While the top three point leaders are very likely to remain in the Chase even if they don’t compete at the Air Nautique WWA Nationals, for everyone else this event will be their last chance to save their season.
For the Pro Women’s division, the Air Nautique WWA Nationals serves as the third stop in the five-event Queen of Wake series. While the Queen of Wake does not use the Chase format, the Air Nautique WWA Nationals does mark the midway point in the season, when the top riders begin to break away from the rest of the competition.
Former Queen of Wake Nicola Butler sits at the top of the standings with 190 points, while 2008 Rookie of the Year Raimi Merritt trails closely behind with 165 points. Current Queen of Wake and defending U.S. national champion Dallas Friday rounds out the top three in the standings, tied with Merritt at 165 points.
Unfortunately, Friday suffered a season-ending injury to her right knee during the second stop of the series and will be unable to continue to defend her crown. With Friday out for the season, the door has been opened for newcomers to step up to contend for the Queen of Wake title.