Loudon, TN (July 9, 2017) – The Tennesee River hosted a battle for the ages yesterday at the Malibu Factory Smoky Mountain Pro presented by Rockstar Energy. With Friday’s quarterfinal rounds on fire behind the Malibu M235, there was an intensity on the dock this afternoon that made certain we were about to see something special. Fans filled in on the water and lined the shores of Malibu’s Loudon, TN facility as the riders hit the water to deliver the pinnacle of wakeboard competition to a hometown crowd.
The first stop of the Malibu Evolution Pro Series and fourth stop of the WWA Wakeboard World Series, the pressure was on the world’s elite professional men and women. An afternoon storm put a halt on the action before opening up to calm water and a shift in the rankings that put things closer than ever.
In the Pro Women’s division, an unfortunate injury took WBWS leader Giorgia Gregorio (ITA) out of the competition leaving a podium spot wide open for the taking after her dominant performance yesterday. Hitting the podium in third, Meagan Ethell (USA) threw down a solid run that included a H/S 540 and a stylish melon off axis 360 to score 64.67 points. The second place spot went to Larisa Morales (MEX) who looked like she was having the time of her life behind the Malibu M235 with a clean T/S 540 and solid grabs earning her a score of 70.00. Taking home the win, Nicola Butler (USA) stomped two stand up passes that included a super clean roll to blind to score 71.67.
“I’m happy to take the win today! Everyone is riding strong right now and I guess there is something about these Evolution Pro Series events that work with me. I felt great today and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at the next event!” said Nicola Butler.
We saw another major shake-up in the Pro Men’s division. A strange series of events saw a crazy final round that ended up putting the rankings closer that ever with a 30 point spread amongst the top four riders on the Wakeboard World Series. When Malibu team athlete Raph Derome (CDN) shows up he does so in style. Raph took the third spot with his signature flare on every trick throwing some insane mobe 540’s and 900’s along with a grabbed spin clinic that scored him 83.00. Noah Flegal (USA) saw an opportunity ripe for the taking and came out charging, hitting a moby dick 720 and grabbed cab 900 to take second with a score of 88.33. Nic Rapa took his second consecutive WBWS win today and revealed a technical mastery that had been kept under wraps until today’s final. Rapa earned a 96.00 score with two stand up passes highlighted by two double flips and a mute mobe 540 for the win. Nic Rapa (AUS) is now your WWA Wakeboard World Series leader.
“I’m happy with how this weekend turned out! A few tough conditions and a storm didn’t set us back and I’m pumped to have had the best ride of my career and take the win!” said Nic Rapa.