Teunissen, Kell, and Flegel Crowned World Champs in Portugal

2023 Nautique WWA Wakeboard World Championships presented by GM Marine take place in Ferreira do Zezere.

The Nautique WWA Wakeboard World Championships presented by GM Marine jumped across the pond to the scenic destination of Ferreira do Zezere, Portugal with one of the most coveted titles of the competitive season on the line. Taking the global event to a location outside the US gives the event the international flair that comes with any World Championship event, but getting the majority of the riders that typically spend their time in the US or Australia can be challenging.

Winners at 2023 Worlds
Zahra Kell (AUS) won the World title, Wakeboard World Series overall title and Nautique Wake Series overall title. Kell is flanked by Meagan Ethell (USA) and Mary Morgan Howell (USA), who garnered second and third places respectively. Courtesy World Wake Association

The last major boat event of the year for all divisions typically wraps up with the Worlds, boasting 23 separate divisions across 3 different disciplines. Wakeboarding, wakeskating and the latest craze of foiling pulled competitors from all over the world to compete in amateur and pro divisions. 

Nautique athlete and perennial favorite to win any event when he is healthy, Cory Teunissen pinned down another huge win in a career full of competitive accomplishments, however this one was a little different. Teunissen battled a shoulder injury for what seemed like an eternity, then upon recovery suffered an ankle injury that put a massive hiccup in an otherwise successful yet difficult return-to-form. 

Winners of the foil division
Noah Flegel won first in both the Strapped and Strapless foil divisions. Sharing the podium are Brian Grubb (left) and Alex Hayes (right). Courtesy Noah Flegel

Reflecting on the win Teunissen shared, “My family and a bunch of good friends were there so I had a huge amount of support. And to come out with the win everything kinda just hit at once. This one sits a little closer to my heart, that’s for sure.”

Zahra Kell continued her triumphant return to wakeboarding competition by securing her third event win of the season as well as the overall Nautique Wake Series and the WWA World Series. Taking time away from a sport that is constantly progressing has proven to be difficult for top athletes but Kell’s 3 year hiatus seems to have only strengthened her ability to reach the top spot on the podium. Her ability to lay down technical handle-pass inverts when it counts has been her M.O. this year and finishing off her winning run with a perfectly landed tantrum to blind was very apropos.

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Cory Teunissen after winning the title
Cory Teunissen, who earned the World Title, and the 2023 Nautique Wake Series overall title. Courtesy World Wake Association

Mr. Everything Noah Flegel took another two World Champion titles by winning both the Strapped and Strapless foil divisions. There is not another multi-discipline who can compete at the highest levels in the world like he can. Wakeboard, wakesurfer, or foil, it all looks completely natural and fluid while also pushing the limits of what can be done. Whatever the next sideways-standing trend is, one can count on Flegel picking it up at inhuman speed.

It seems fitting that the two new Pro division World Champions are from Australia where Nautique and the WWA announced next year’s World Championships will be held. Many of the Australian legendary athletes have lobbied to have the event return to their home country. For the first time in 20 years, their efforts will pay off in the Gold Coast, a well known hotbed of wakeboarding and water sports activity.