Heading into the Nautique Masters contest this past weekend there were three main questions:
1. Could Harley Clifford return to form following a sub-par performance at the previous Supra Boats Pro Wakeboard Tour stop in Acworth a week earlier?
2. Could Meagan Ethell win her fourth Masters title in a row and fifth overall?
3. Could Coco Mendez knock off both of the legends he was competing against in wakeskating to take the win?
After an epic weekend of competing, those questions were all answered. Yes, yes, and almost. Here’s a look at how it all went down.
Harley spent the week leading up to masters under what he dubbed “Operation Get Good Again.” Obviously frustrated with his performance a week earlier at the PWT, Harley got back to business and focused on getting back to what he knew he was: the best wakeboarder on the planet. That’s not to say the task was easy. Fellow Australians Nic Rapa and Tony Iacconi continued their competitive onslaught, putting down insane runs that were clean and hammer-filled top to bottom. Harley had to bring out his best to secure the win, and like he’s famous for, he was able to do just that.
1st: Harley Clifford – 97.67
2nd: Nic Rapa – 95.33
3rd: Tony Iacconi – 87.67
4th: Mike Dowdy – 77.67
While the women’s side featured plenty of newer faces in the likes of Chloe Mills, Zahra Kell, and Erika Lang, it was going to be a chore for any of them to overtake two legends and the reigning queen in Dallas Friday, Nicola Butler, and Meagan Ethell. With a strong semifinal performance, Lang was able to head into the finals against the heavy hitters. Friday, in her second contest back after having her second baby, had to uncharacteristic falls and left the door open. Lang put down a solid run, but also had a fall. Butler put it on the line and left it up to the defending champ to beat it. By mixing tech tricks with smooth, stylish grabs, Ethell put down just enough to edge out Butler and hang on to her crown.
1st: Meagan Ethell – 93.67
2nd: Nicola Butler – 89.33
3rd: Erika Lang – 80.67
4th: Dallas Friday – 36.67
Brian Grubb and Reed Hansen have dominated boat wakeskating contests for over a decade, but that hasn’t stopped young Coco Mendez from trying to take them down. Famous for his consistency, Grubb suffered two falls and wasn’t able to put in the run he wanted, which left the door open for Mendez. The south-Floridian also had two falls and didn’t land everything he wanted, but on his wild card trick just before the start dock and in front of the crowd, he stomped an insanely clean hard flip. As far as we know that’s the first wake-to-wake hard flip ever landed in a contest. The pressure was on Hansen, and he was feeling it early as he also had a couple falls. Basically he needed to stick the rest of his run in order to have a stronger run than Mendez’s, and in typical fashion, he did just that.
1st: Reed Hansen – 85.00
2nd: Coco Mendez – 80.00
3rd: Brian Grubb – 75.67