Ft. Worth, TX – In one of his first events as a professional, Texan Gabe Lucas surpassed 50 other pro wakeboarders to make it to the finals of the season-opening event on the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour in Orlando, Florida on May 1. Now Lucas tries to keep the momentum going in his home state in the second stop of the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour at Marine Creek in Ft. Worth May 21-22.
Lucas made it to the finals and finished in eight place losing to Australian Daniel Watkins in the first round of the head-to-head single elimination finals.
“I’ve been waiting to make it to the finals my whole life,” said Lucas. “I knew I was capable, I just needed the right opportunity.”
Lucas doesn’t exactly fit the mold of a typical wakeboarder. At 23, he’s a little old to be a rookie. But Lucas did sidetrack his wakeboarding career for his first love, baseball. Before making the move to Seguin, Texas where he is now attending Texas State University, the Houston native spent three years at the University of Houston on a baseball scholarship.
“I got into wakeboarding, tubing and water sports when I was in eighth grade. There weren’t a lot of places to ride in Houston so we had to drive for a while to Lake Conroe,” said Lucas.
But when I got out of high school and into college I kind of put all that aside to work on my baseball career. I really didn’t do anything but play baseball while I was at the University of Houston. I was focused on becoming a pro. But after three years I couldn’t stand not being on a wakeboard. That’s when I left to move out west where I could be closer to the water and wakeboard all the time.”
To say Lucas came out of nowhere to reach the Pro Wakeboard Tour finals in one of his first competitions is an understatement. Lucas wasn’t even ranked in 2004. He had to climb over 50 other wakeboarders, many of whom have been long-time professionals, to make it to the Pro Tour finals in Orlando.
Lucas barely competed in 2004. He showed up at the season opening event and tried to qualify, but a knee injury held him back and later sidelined him for the season. After taking the year off, and opting for knee surgery in the winter, Lucas was ready to go as the 2005 season approached.
In Ft. Worth, Lucas will have to prove his success wasn’t a fluke. It will be an uphill battle, to break into the ranks of the world’s top wakeboarders. Lucas is eight years older and has five years less experience as a pro compared to the rider who won the first event of the year in Orlando, Phillip Soven.
Still, Lucas is undaunted: “If I can stay healthy, you will really be able to see what I can do.”
After Ft. Worth the Pro Wakeboard Tour will continue throughout North America with three additional stops including Reno, Nevada, June 3-5; Kelowna, British Columbia Canada, July 8-10 and the final event in Portland, Oregon July 30-31.
The MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour is a five-event circuit organized by World Sports & Marketing of Orlando, Florida. Powered by Indmar Marine Engines, the Pro Tour has the support of the following: SeaDoo watercraft, Verizon Wireless, Nissan North America, Perfect Pass, Hyperlite, Infinity Marine Audio, Toyo Tires, KMC Wheels, Liquid Force, Gator Boards, CWB, J - Star, O'Brien, Double-up, Billabong, Oakley, Reef, Body Glove, UGP, Epiphone Guitars, , buywake.com, Love Sac, Capix Helmets, Indo Boards, Execute, Mikker.com, Wakeworld.com, Wakeboarder.com, Monster Towers, Say I Won't, Ten-80 and One Percent Design.