Shiga, Japan (September 18, 2017) – A dramatic day of action concluded the 2017 WWA Wakeboard World Series (WBWS) and Malibu Evolution Pro Series at day three of the Malibu Lake Biwa Pro presented by Rockstar Energy. The residual winds of Typhoon Talim, which passed by parts of Japan’s coast late last week resulted in challenging conditions throughout the day. With the highest stakes of the 2017 season on the line, riders were forced to treat each run as if it were the very moment that could decide their season’s fate.
A priority of rider safety due to the distant storm’s effect on the course brought the entire series down to semifinal performances. After exhausting all options and available waiting periods; as fate would have it the already storybook nature of the semi’s would indeed become the final round of the 2017 season. Heats were stacked in a way that created the most dynamic of scenarios with WBWS points leader Harley Clifford (AUS) and Mike Dowdy (USA) together with heavy hitter Raph Derome (CDN) in heat four. Professionalism and the spirit of a true warrior of wake shined as Clifford secured his 2017 title with intelligent riding and amazing determination. Raph Derome (CDN) proved to be the dark horse, coming through once again, to place just ahead of Dowdy through the chop. Mike Dowdy (USA) displayed tactical composure from the dock to the water taking third in the heat and the overall 2017 WWA WBWS. Nic Rapa (USA) took the win in heat three, earning him second overall for the WWA WBWS season.
“I honestly can’t believe I’m standing up here. Watching from the sidelines last year due to injury I knew that I had to come back better than I left and I’m just so happy it all went my way. Thank you to all the boys who pushed me all season long, the WWA for putting on these awesome events and to all my sponsors!” said 2017 WWA Wakeboard World Series Champion Harley Clifford.
On the Malibu Evolution Pro Series standings, Nic Rapa’s consistency all season long led him to the overall win followed by Noah Flegal (USA) in second and Harley Clifford in third. The 2017 Malibu Evolution Pro Series was comprised of three WWA WBWS stops in 2017 with the Malibu Factory Smoky Mountain Pro, the Malibu Vienna Pro and the Malibu Lake Biwa Pro. Towed exclusively behind the world-class Malibu M235, the Malibu Evolution Pro Series takes wake to new, beautiful locations each year with a growing international fan base.
“It’s really been an unreal year and I can’t thank everyone enough. Thank you to my sponsors, the WWA and all of the fans that come out to support us and the sport of wakeboarding. This has been the most insane year with the level of riding higher than it’s ever been and I’m so stoked to be a part of it and take home the Evolution Pro Series win,” said 2017 Malibu Evolution Pro Series Champion Nic Rapa.
The Pro Women’s 2017 WWA Wakeboard World Series season was absolutely on fire. As the bar was continuously raised in every round, we saw these world-class athletes dig deep in an incredibly close race for the overall title. In the end, consistency reaped the rewards as we brought the most progressive season in history to a close.
Taylor McCullough (USA) won her first WWA Wakeboard World Series title, making it through to every final round of the 2017 season. Leading the WBWS standings all season long, Jamie Lopina (USA) finished second overall followed by Meagan Ethell (USA) in third who charged back from injury with insane riding and big finishes.
“It’s an honor to be standing up here with these girls who killed it all year long and it’s a dream come true to win my first ever Wakeboard World Series title. Thank you to my sponsors, the WWA and everyone who had a part in putting on these amazing events!” said 2017 WWA Wakeboard World Series Overall Champion Taylor McCullough.
Nicola Butler (USA) continued her undefeated reign on the Malibu Evolution Pro Series this season, taking home her second consecutive overall win. Butler has not lost an Evolution Pro event in the last two seasons with a go for broke approach that found her on top of the podium with amazing riding that just keeps getting better and better. Meagan Ethell (USA) took the overall podium in second followed my Malibu team rider Tarah Mikacich (USA) in third.
“I’m so honored to be here taking my second Evolution Pro Series win and to have the chance to compete with these awesome ladies all season long. Something about me and these Malibu Evolution Pro Series events just works and I can’t wait for next year!” said 2017 Malibu Evolution Pro Series Champion Nicola Butler.
The 2017 WWA Wakeboard World Series hosted the most intense competition in our sport’s history with eight worldwide stops that set a new standard in wake once thought to be impossible. A close title race all season long brought each event down to intense final rounds, giving fans a front row seat to the most rapid progression in watersports. Double flips, wake-to-wake 1080’s and mobe 720’s once considered impossible have now become a necessity for any athlete hoping to make it on a Pro WWA Wakeboard World Series podium.
“The WWA is honored to have the most talented athletes in the world representing our sport and to work with our amazing partners in continuing to grow wake around the globe. Each year we take the next step in delivering the highest level of competition and 2017 has been beyond anything we had ever dreamed,” said WWA President Shannon Starling. “There has never been a more exciting time in wake and our passionate team is looking forward to 2018 as we continue to inspire new people to begin the journey to discover where wake can take us.”