The final stop of the Supra Boats Pro Wake Tour took place in the headline sponsor’s backyard in Lenoir City, TN and saw Tyler Higham win the overall PWT title.
All eyes were on Higham, and Jamie Hauser. Prior to the season kickoff in May very few would have expected the final event to feature PWT Rookie Jamie Hauser and free-ride specialist Tyler Higham to be the two going for the overall title. Higham is no stranger to making the finals in boat contests and has graced the podium plenty of times, but his first pro win had yet to materialize prior to the ’23 season.
Hauser was even more of a surprise contender. “I think you’d have to look back to Darin Shapiro or Parks Bonifay in their first year on tour to find the last time that a rookie was in contention for the overall title,” observed announcer Danny Amir, better known as Dano the Mano, who has likely watched more wakeboard contest runs than anyone else on the planet.
While Higham and Hauser were pre-season longshots for the overall PWT title, it was certainly not due to their inability to compete or their lack of top tier tricks. The last 5 years have been dominated by Nic Rapa and Cory Teunissen for the top spots with the two trading wins back and forth. They each suffered injuries that kept them from competing in all 4 events and without strong placings in every PWT stop, one can kiss their chances of the overall title goodbye. Both Rapa and Teunissen are no strangers to putting in the work necessary to win and stay at the top, but also proved that they can come back from injuries with a strong mindset.
“Seeing how Nic couldn’t even jump the wake in the first stop of the year to watch him come back and win by the end was really impressive,” shared Amir. “Shota Tezuka making the finals and placing 3rd in the event and 3rd overall was really cool, he has been doing this for a long time and can still throw down.”
Read Next: Pro Spotlight – Tyler Higham
An overall title can change the course of a rider’s career. It is something that can be leveraged to prove one’s consistency in a competitive environment. This year’s winner however proved a lot more. Higham is not just the guy that can land contest tricks over and over in any condition, he is what all riders hope to be; the rider who does not sacrifice style for consistency but has built a bag of tricks so deep that he can hang with the most technical riders in the world.