On Saturday, Aug 21, 2021 at Lake Lanier Olympic Park the last PWT Tour stop of the year was held including the Moxie-Pro women’s series Live boat event. The venue, originally built for the rowing races at the Atlanta Olympic Games, provided a perfect setting for spectators and a challenging backwash for the pros.
In the Pro Men’s quarterfinal heats, rollers and contest jitters got to some riders. Kai Ditsch fell on the last trick of his second pass, Finn Bullock missed the handle on his last trick but edged Kai out from the semis along with his twin brother Ulf who fell early. Finn advanced behind stand-out Sam Brown who rode solid and stood both passes.
Unfortunately Bobby Knapp, the local kid from Lake Lanier had a heartbreaking fall in front of his cheering home crowd. Italy’s Massi Piffaretti advanced next to Guenther Oka, Cory Teunissen, Tyler Highman and Jake Pelot from Orlando who rode huge and clean.
Legend Bob Soven came out of retirement but fell early and did not advance, neither did the rookie on the tour Thomas Herman who fell on the double and missed the handle on a 720. Japan’s Shota Tezuka, the first rider to land a heel side 1080 in a contest, was nursing a recent knee injury and rode conservatively. He stood both passes and advanced to the next round behind defending tour champ Nic Rapa who stuck everything consistently.
In the pro men’s semifinal, sixteen-year-old Finn Bullock, who also trains with the olympic snowboarding team, fell at the end of first pass and didn’t make the cut neither did Shota Tezuka who fell early in both passes.
In the Pro women’s semifinals a few faces where MIA from the line up including Fan Favorite and US Masters Champion Mary Morgan Howell, 6xWorld Champion Dallas Friday along with Japan’s top Moxie-Pro boat qualified finalist Hinata Yoshihara. That did not make it any easier for the pro women who competed since the level and the depth of riding today is amazingly high.
Today there’s no room for error, Bec Gange known for being the first woman to land a whirlybird 540, fell early in her second pass and did not advance to the finals. Neither did the youngest qualifier of the Series, 12-year-old Kitt Smith. Kitt had a brave participation along experienced pros like Tarah Mikacich who stood up both passes and won the heat.
Jamie Lopina landed roll to blind advancing next to Meagan Ethell who landed 540′s and a whirlybird, Eugenia de Armas landed a 540 and a Tootsie Roll and Orlando’s Taylor McCullough made it through in third place.
The stakes were high at the In the Pro men’s final. When the scores came in Guenther Oka came out on top but was a few points shy from the Tour Overall.
- 1st USA Guenther Oka 86 points
- 2nd AUSTRALIA Nic Rapa 83.33
- 3rd AUSTRALIA Sam Brown 64.33
- 4th ITALY Massi Piffaretti 53.33
- 5th AUSTRALIA Cory Teunissen 41.66
- 6th USA Jake Pelot 23.33
Guenther Oka’s golden 2021 season includes 2 wins at the PWT, the US Masters title and a third place at the groundbreaking Red Bull Wake Capital in Hamburg. The incredibly talented rider has two more big contests on the line, the World Wakeboard Championships and the World Wake Park Championships going down in September. Stay tuned while he continues to progress with new tricks like the X-MOBE7 and doubles.
Nic Rapa inspired and challenged a stacked field of elite competitors with his consistency and focus. He defended his title and made history by winning the PWT Overall Championship for the third year in a row. A feat that has only been accomplished by the eminent Darin Shapiro.
Top contender Sam Brown went for it in the final and nearly landed a Chicken Salad Moby Dick 540 but caught an edge and fell. Although he missed the trick, he earned a spot in the podium winning third place in stop #4 and third overall for the 2021 season behind Oka and Rapa.
Honorary mention to Indiana’s Thomas Herman who won the coveted Rookie Of The Year award.
In the much anticipated Pro Women’s Final, the big surprise was Meagan Ethell who fell early and ended up in sixth place. Hollie Waldrop earned a respectable 5th.
Tarah Mikacich missed the handle on an off-axis 540 and barely missed the podium just a point behind Taylor McCullough.
It was incredibly refreshing and inspiring to watch the Pro Women compete at the PWT. Plans for next year are underway!
In the Junior Pro Men’s final, Tyler Highman placed 3rd with 58.33 points, followed by Cody Hunnicutt with 64 points and winner Parker Swope with 71.66. Missing in action was points leader Jamie Huser who unfortunately could not attend, we wish him a speedy recovery.
Pro Wakesurfing Final Heat Scores:
- 1st – Taylor Swanson: 91.00
- 2nd – Sean Silveira: 81.66
- 3rd – Nick Parros: 73.33