WWA Wakeboard National Championships and Wakesurf National Championships 2023

Over 61 National Champions crowned: Rapa, Kell, Hansen and Flegal win pro divisions.

There is nothing like competing for a National title whether you are a pro looking to cement your career in the record books or an amateur wanting to stack up against those in your category. The ability to put those skills to the test on the waters of Robin Lake at Callaway Gardens, the same venue as the prestigious Master Waterski and Wakeboard tournament, is the cherry on top. The WWA Wakeboard National Championships as well as the Nautique USA National Wakesurf Championship each presented by GM Marine produced the largest athlete participant pool in recent history with over 61 divisions crowning a National Champion over the weekend.

Nic Rapa on the podium
Nic Rapa (center) defended his title from 2023. Rapa is flanked by Cory Teunnissen (left) who took second and Sam Brown (right) who earned the number three spot. Courtesy Nic Rapa

“There was a definite buzz this year. New faces and full fields in traditionally underrepresented fields,” observed Corrie Wilson, Executive Director at the WWA (World Wake Association). “This was the first year we separated Surf and Skim divisions for wakesurfing and the inaugural National Championship for foiling.” 

Nic Rapa returned to form to take the win for the Pro Men Wakeboard division. When he is healthy and landing his runs that are consistent and filled with double flips, heavy springs and mobe 5s spinning each direction, he is difficult to beat. Cory Teunessin‘s first event back after injury served him well to land a podium spot but the trick of the weekend goes to Sam Brown with the first ever mute double mobe off the double in a traditional boat contest. He has landed it for double-up specific events, but never as a part of a scored run. 

Zahra Kell on the podium
Zahra Kell (center) took top honors, Meagan Ethell (left) earned Second Place and Eugenia De Armas (right) from Argentina locked in Third Place. Courtesy Zahra Kell

Zahra Kell returned to competitive wakeboarding after taking a hiatus, only to stomp technical tricks like a (first for her in a contest) heelside backside 540 and a Dum-Dum. Meagan Ethell is always a favorite but with an early fall, she had to show her experience and keep it together to finish strong for a 2nd place spot.

Noah Flegel added 3 more eagles (the traditional Nationals trophy) to his collection with a win in the Pro Surf discipline as well as both the Strapped and Strap-less divisions of Pro Foil. A true entertainer on any water toy, Flegel landed airs, spins and flips (Strapped Foil) while making it all look like it is supposed to. 

Reed Hansen took home his 11th National title in Pro Wakeskate, holding off Brian Grubb. This is Hansen’s first Nationals win as a new dad and he mentioned that he now has a “flock of eagles in my guestroom”. He now has one eagle to protect each one of his World Championship trophies. 

The partnership with Wake-for-Warriors is one that the WWA and Nautique Boats are proud of as they all help to get wounded veterans to Pine Mountain, GA to compete in the adaptive divisions. Nate Hamilton, Tyler Densford, Connor Gatlin, and Matt Hanon took the wins in the various surf and wake divisions, inspiring onlookers and fellow competitors. 

The WWA World Series final stop will be the Nautique WWA World Championships presented by GM Marine in Portugal at the end of the month.