USA Wakeboard Riders Take Top Titles at HSBC World Cup Stop In Singapore
The last Stop of the IWSF 2005 Waterski & Wakeboard World Cup series finished with perfect weather, hot sunshine, outstanding performances plus 17,000 cheering spectators at Bedok Reservoir in the city of Singapore. This was 5,000 spectators greater than last year. The total cash prize available was also a series record at US$ 90,800.
Within the prize fund, HSBC and the Singapore Sports Council offered US$10,800 to the first Wakeboard Rider who successfully performed a 1080 maneuver. This complex triple rotation involves six handle passes in the air. It has never been successfully performed in competition. Londoner Dan Nott and Orlandoís Phillip Soven got within inches of achieving the impossible in this very exciting competition innovation. The colourful Waterski Show of the Stars of Florida also added to the great occasion. They performed a spectacular four-tier 12-person pyramid for all to enjoy.
The ten top Women Riders in the World present included IWSF World Wakeboard Champion, Andrea Fountain (NZL), Singapore World Cup Stop defending champion and World Games Champion Chen LiLi (China), and for the first time, Emily Copeland (USA), the four time Gravity Games Champion. All battled their way successfully through the Preliminaries to reach the Finals. Not so fortunate were Sunni Ann Ball (CAN) who took the World Cup Stop title in Moscow some weeks ago, and Louise Moore (GBR), a consistent high scorer throughout this 2005 IWSF World Cup series.
New Zealander Andrea Fountain was first off the dock in the Finals. Her score of 53.90 proved impossible to beat till the last two Riders got to the water. Second last off was Gretchen Hammarberger from Canyon Lake in California. The best performance of her career gave her a score of 57.58 to take the lead. Emily Copeland Durham, although just 21 years of age and who has won almost every major title of note except an IWSF World Cup title, was now ready for the final challenge. Just recently married, Copeland got a standing ovation for her winning performance score of 64.45, to make 2005 a year to remember. Mr. Alex Chan, Chairman of the Singapore Sports Council, presented her winnerís trophy and US$ 5,000 prize.
The Finals route for the 24 Men was a bit more complex. They had to get from the Preliminaries to the Semi Finals and then into an 8 Man Head-to-Head Final, plus some Last Chance Qualifiers along the way. Again, the line-up was one of the best of the year. Included were the Gravity Games and Masters Champion Phillip Soven (USA), Jeff Weatherall (NZL) the IWSF World Champion, Daniel Watkins (AUS) the 2004 IWSF World Cup Champion, and Morgan Krause (RSA) the three time Junior Men IWSF World Champion.
In the Menís Preliminaries, the signs were clear. Dan Nott (GBR), Jeff Weatherall (NZL), Daniel Watkins (AUS) and Phillip Soven (USA) all dominated their Heats. As the 8 Man Head-to-Head arrived, each of these four did it again in the first Round. The real drama now began. First off was Weatherall versus Watkins. World Champion Weatherall rode to perfection with a score of 80.22. In an effort to catch up, Watkins demolished his eight-week-old Wakeboard! With a permitted three minutes for repairs, he was back in action with just 28 seconds to spare. Moments later, his bindings loosened on the water and that was the end of his challenge. This allowed Weatherall to go through to the Final. Now it was time for Dan Nott (GBR) versus the 16-year-old sensation Phillip Soven (USA). As expected, Soven did it yet again and gained his Finals place with style.
At this stage, all 17,000 spectators were on their feet. As one of the biggest sporting events in Singapore this year, TV cameras and Press Photographers jostled for good positions. The 350hp 5.8 Ltr MasterCraft Xstar boat was now ready for the challenge. What followed was a spectacular display of talent. While the IWSF World Champion Jeff Weatherall (NZL) pulled out all the stops, on this occasion, nobody could match the skills of Phillip Soven. The winner of the 2004 HSBC World Cup Singapore Stop title had repeated this performance in 2005. As Mr. Paul Lawrence, CEO of HSBC Bank presented the winnerís prize of US$10,000 to him, it was clear that Soven was very moved by the huge applause from the record crowds which followed.
This was a perfect ending to a very successful 2005 season for the IWSF Waterski & Wakeboard World Cup series. The support given to the Singapore Stop title sponsor HSBC by the Singapore Sports Council, PUB, National Parks and the Singapore Waterski & Wakeboard Federation, proved yet again that Cities with suitable downtown water facilities and marketing skills, can produce spectacular events for the public to enjoy. On this occasion, 17,000 Singaporeans fully agreed.
Now that the IWSF 2005 Waterski & Wakeboard World Cup has concluded, the details of the overall season winners for Wakeboard will be announced in the coming days. The action packed IWSF World Cup Calendar for 2006 will also be released shortly.
PRO WOMEN WINNERS
1 Emily Copeland Durham (USA)
2 Gretchen Hammarberg (USA)
3 Andrea Fountain (NZL)
4 Denise De Haan (NED)
PRO MEN WINNERS
1 Phillip Soven (USA)
2 Jeff Weatherall (NZL)
3 Dan Nott (GBR)
4 Daniel Watkins (AUS)