Clifford Wins Knoxville, Soven Takes Season Title

Harley Clifford won the final stop on the 2010 Pro Wakeboard Tour in Knoxville, Tennessee, but it wasn't enough to overtake Phillip Soven, who won his third Pro Wakeboard Tour season title in four years.

Soven and Clifford entered the Knoxville Tour stop as the front runners for the Pro Tour title. The two were separated by just 15 points in the standings. Both riders finished off the season with impressive runs, but Clifford took top honors in Knoxville, after landing a heelside frontside 900 off the double-up. Soven and Olivier Derome rounded out the contest podium, respectively.

Clifford’s first-place finish narrowed the points gap in the overall standings, but Soven finished the season five points clear of the young Australian.

“I wish I could have ended the season with a win, but I’m still pretty pumped to get the title back,” Soven says. “I want to be remembered as one of the greatest riders ever, and I think winning three titles in four years will help me with that.”

Soven, Clifford and Rusty Malinoski finished the season as the top three riders in the Pro Men’s division on the 2010 MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour.

The Pro Women’s division saw a huge upset today during its final round of action. Top-seed Nicola Butler had three uncharacteristic falls in her run, opening the door for the five other female finalists to win in Knoxville.

Aussie Amber Wing took full advantage of her opportunity on the water today, taking first place in the contest — her first win of the 2010 season.

“I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to in my run, but overall I thought I rode pretty well,” Wing says. “This is my first win on Tour this year, so tonight I need to go out and celebrate.”

Emily Copeland Durham and Raimi Merritt rounded out the contest podium, respectively.

Wing’s win in Knoxville earned her place overall in the Queen of Wake standings. Despite a poor showing in Knoxville, Nicola Butler still leads the series. Merritt current sits in third. The Queen of Wake will wrap up its 2010 season in Orlando, Florida, next week at the 2010 Wakeboard National Championships.

Despite a hairline fracture in his right forearm, 18-year-old Steel Lafferty rallied to a first-place finish in the Jr. Pro Men’s division finals — his first-ever on the Pro Wakeboard Tour. Aussie Ryleigh Pfitzner and Nick Galotifore rounded out the top three, respectively.

“My arm was killing me, but I overall I was really happy with the way I rode today," Lafferty says. “I hurt my arm riding in Orlando right before I came out to Knoxville, so I was a little to frustrated heading into the contest, but it all worked out.”

Lafferty’s win today places him third overall in the Jr. Pro Tour standings. Florida native Daniel Powers took second place overall, with Nick Galotifore claiming his first Jr. Pro Tour title.

“It’s unbelievable,” Galotifore says. “Not everyone gets to win it, so I’m really stoked about it. Next year I turn pro, so it’s awesome to enter my rookie season with a Jr. Pro Tour title under my belt.”

All the winners in Knoxville, as well as the overall titlists, received trophies at the Pro Wakeboard Tour’s award ceremony and after-party, hosted by Indmar Marine Engines and MasterCraft Boats at the Bijou Theater.

To catch all the action from the 2010 Knoxville Pro Wakeboard Tour stop on television, tune in to FUEL TV on Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. EST.

Knoxville Pro Wakeboard Tour Stop Final Results:

Pro Men

1. Harley Clifford 83.33

2. Phillip Soven 75.00

3. Olivier Derome 60.00

4. Austin Hair 50.00

5. Rusty Malinoski 41.67

6. Danny Harf 35.00

Pro Women

1. Amber Wing 71.67

2. Emily Copeland Durham 68.50

3. Raimi Merritt 65.00

4. Shawna Hoffman 53.33

5. Anna Hajek 45.00

6. Nicola Butler 33.33

Jr. Pro Men

1. Steel Lafferty 96.25

2. Ryleigh Pfitzner 84.25

3. Nick Galotifore 82.75

4. Daniel Powers 76.75