Portland, Ore. - Going into today's Pro Men's Division quarterfinals at the 2008 Tige Pro-Am Wakeboard Championships, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink, current wakeboard world champion Phillip Soven was ranked the No. One-seeded rider in his division and considered by many as the favorite to win the Portland contest.
So it came as a shock to everyone, when the reigning King of Wake was knocked out of the contest in just the quarterfinal round; a defeat that Soven has not suffered in over two years.
What was more interesting than Soven's early exit from the Pro-Am, was the rider who took the top spot in Soven's heat, first-time Pro Men's Division rider Jimmy LaRiche.
LaRiche, 18, has dominated the Jr. Men's Division for many years, including the 2008 season, but wanted to try his luck in the Pro Men's Division at the Tige Pro-Am Wakeboard Championships, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink. His decision paid off, as the rookie rider will move onto tomorrow's semifinals.
"I went into today with an optimistic attitude and just looking to have fun, but didn't really know what to expect, especially with Phil in my heat," said LaRiche. "Phil just kills it every time, so I was so stunned to see he didn't make it into the next round."
LaRiche will now join 11 other riders in tomorrow's Pro Men's Division semifinals.
The top female riders in the world hit the water today for the Pro Women's Division semifinals. Nine female rippers competed in three heats of three with only the top two riders from each heat advancing onto tomorrow's finals. Among six riders moving onto the finals, were heat leaders Amber Wing, Emily Copeland Durham and the undefeated Nicola Butler. Butler looks to set a new wakeboard record tomorrow by becoming the first female rider to win five consecutive contests.
Reed Hansen appears to be well on his way towards repeating at the Pro-Am in the Pro Wakeskate Division, as the Florida native led his heat in today's semifinals and will advance onto tomorrow's finals. Should Hansen take the top spot tomorrow, he will become the first wakeskater to win back-to-back Pro-Am titles.
Highlighting the amateur divisions today was the Jr. Men's Division semifinals, where 10 of top Jr. riders competed in two heats of five for one of the six spots in tomorrow's finals. Alex Scagliotti, Daniel Powers, and Thomas Olson took the top-three spots in heat one, while Julian Cohen, Ben Albright, and Gunnar Shuler claimed the top three spots in heat two. All six riders will vie for their first Pro-Am title in tomorrow's finals.
The Women's Wakeskate Division kicked off today's festivities with their final round of competition. Elizabeth Talansky not only took first-place the division, but posted a perfect score of 100 points to claim the top spot.
In the Amateur Wakeskate Division, Tanner Champion, Ben Prizer and Aaron Huntley took the top-three spots respectively in today's semifinals. All the three shredders will take to the water tomorrow for the finals.
Amateur Boys and Amateur Women's wakeboarding also hit the water today for their semifinals. Cooper Swink, Daniel Pate, Kyle Evans and Cody Prizer will move onto tomorrow's finals after advancing past today's semifinals. Danni Petraitis, Anna Hajek, and Taylor McCullough respectively took the top-three spots in the semifinals today and will move onto tomorrow's finals.
11 riders took to the water today for the Open Men's Division semifinals. Only the top two rider from the two heats advanced onto tomorrow's finals, sending more than half the competition home packing.
The event will conclude tomorrow, June 22 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
The Tige Pro-Am Wakeboard Championships, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink is a three day carnival of water sports action. But not all of the action takes place on the water. On land, fans will experience tons of great food and music; athlete autograph signings; chances to win free giveaways; and shopping at the most cutting-edge stores for water sports equipment including boats, wakeboards, wakeskates, sunglasses and the latest in wakeboarding and surfing fashions.
Tickets can be purchased at Blue Lake Park for $10 (general admission), $5 (ages 6-12) or free (ages 5 and under).
Tige is the official tow boat for the Tige Pro-Am Wakeboard Championships, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink.
Pleasure Craft Marine engines is the official marine engine of the event. Since 1976, PCM has been the constant innovator of features and benefits designed specifically to improve water sports power.
Rockstar is the world's most powerful energy drink. Developed to improve the recovery time of those who lead active and exhausting lifestyles, Rockstar Energy Drink is available in 10 flavors -- Original, Sugar Free, Juiced, Zero Carb, Guava, Pomegranate, Punched, Roasted Mocha, Roasted Vanilla Light and Roasted Latte -- at convenience stores and retail grocery outlets across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia and the United Kingdom.
To catch all the wakeboarding action from home, tune in to Fuel TV. For exact air dates, visit www.kingofwake.com.
Fuel TV is a 24/7 action sports lifestyle network for wakeboarding, skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, BMX and freestyle motocross. A unit of Fox Cable Networks, Fuel TV was launched July 1, 2003, and is seen in 24 million U.S. homes. To subscribe to Fuel TV, call 877-4-FUEL-TV. For program times and other information, visit fuel.tv.
WakeBoarding, published by Bonnier Corp., is the official magazine of the Tige Pro-Am Wakeboard Championships, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink. WakeBoarding is the definitive source on all things wakeboarding, with expert coverage of professional instruction, gear, boats and the latest news.
The Tige Pro-Am Wakeboard Championships is organized by World Sports & Marketing of Orlando, Fla. The Pro-Am has the support of the following: Tige Boats, Rockstar Energy Drink, PCM, Mona Vie, Nike 6.0, Oakley HDO, U.S. Air Force, Hyperlite Wakeboards, Ronix Wakeboards, CWB Wakeboards, Gator Boards, Cire, wakeworld.com and theliquidcircus.com.