Orlando, FL – Keith Lidberg, a relative unknown in the world of competitive wakeboarding, made a name for himself on Sunday at the Orlando WaterSports Complex, winning the Pro Men’s division of the Air Nautique Pan American Wakeboard Championships.
The Pro Women’s division was a different story with Orlando native Dallas Friday, considered the best women’s rider in the world adding a Pan American Championship to her resume.
Air Nautiques, sponsors a number of riders: Danny Harf, Phillip Soven, Shaun Murray, many of these riders are thought to be the best in the sport of wakeboarding, now Lidberg hopes to put his name next to those great riders.
“I really love riding behind the Air Nautique,” said Lidberg. “And I feel really comfortable riding here at Orlando WaterSports Complex. It’s like my second home.”
The Pro Men’s Finals featured four riders, Lidberg, Rusty Malinoski, Josh Sanders and Brett Eisenhauer. The four man final represents one of the toughest cuts in the sport where 16 riders go into the Pro Men’s Semifinals, but only four move into the final. Of the four riders in the final, only Malinoski had tasted victory in the United States.
Lidberg was the first rider in the heat, after his run the rest of the finalists tried to catch him. Sanders, an Australian, came the closest, finishing in second. The placing for Sanders will keep him in the lead of the KING OF WAKE standings as the world’s NO. 1 ranked rider. Fellow Australian Eisenhauer finished third and Canadian Malinoski rounded out the top four.
After Friday in the Pro Women’s Final it was Tara Hamilton taking second place. Maeghan Major finished in third and Emily Copeland Durham rounded out the top four.
In the Pro Wakeskate Division Central Florida riders swept the competition. Phillip Basino of Orlando won the Pan American Championship and was joined by fellow Orlando wakeskater George Daniels who finished in second and Reed Hansen of Groveland finished third.
Early in the day, four of the top amateur divisions in wakeboarding handed out Pan American titles.
In the Junior Men’s division Nick Jones of Kirkland, Washington won the Pan American Championship. Danny Thollander of Orlando finished second and Kyle Alberts of Plattsmouth, Nebraska finished third.
In the Junior Women’s division Shawna Hoffman of Butte Valley, California won the Pan American Championship. Megan Blaschka of Verona, Wisconsin finished second and Wiss Brinkman of Ocklawaha, Florida finished third.
In the Boys division Robert Soven of Longwood, Florida won the Pan American Championship. Steel Lafferty of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida finished second and Ben Kaiser of Orlando finished third.
In the Junior Boys division Gus Shuler of Janesville, Wisconsin won the Pan American Championship. Ben Ferguson of Bend, Oregon finished second and Cody Coffey of Medinah, Illinois finished third.
The Air Nautique Pan American Wakeboard Championships is a world-renowned event. The event is organized by World Sports & Marketing of Orlando, Florida and Sanctioned by USA Wakeboard. Competitors will be pulled by the Correct Craft Super Air Nautique wakeboard boat. The event has the support of the following: Verizon Wireless, Perfect Pass, Hyperlite, Fox Riders Co., Vans, U.S. Air Force, Infinity Marine Audio, Liquid Force, Gator Boards, CWB, J - Star, O'Brien, Double-up, Oakley, Toyo Tires, KMC Wheels, Love Sac, Execute, Mikker.com, Wakeworld.com, Wakeboarder.com, Say I Won't, O-Boys Real Smoked Bar-B-Q and One Percent Design.
Wake Boarding, published by World Publications, is the official magazine of the Air Nautique Pan American Wakeboard Championships. Wake Boarding is the definitive source on all things wakeboarding, with expert coverage of professional instruction, gear, boats and the latest news.