Phoenix, Ariz. - Fans lined the shores of Firebird Lake today to catch all the high-flying, rail-sliding, water-sports action of professional wakeboarding, as the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour made its debut in Phoenix at Firebird Raceway. Nearly 75 of the world's top male and female wakeboarders hit the water today for the opening-rounds of the two-day-long contest; dazzling fans and judges alike with rail tricks and aerial stunts, while maneuvering on the water a speed of approximately 25 mph.
Highlighting today's festivities was the Pro Men's Division qualifying round, where 40 of the world's top rippers battled on the water in 10 heats of four with only the top-two riders from each heat advancing onto tomorrow's quarterfinals.
Among the 20 riders advancing past the today's qualifiers was Phillip Soven, 19, of Longwood, Fla., who is chasing his fourth consecutive Tour stop win of the season. Soven led his heat today with a score 96.50 and will look make his way to tomorrow's finals. Should Soven win in Phoenix tomorrow, he will set a new record for most consecutive Tour stop wins in a single season.
The world's top female rippers hit the water today for the Pro Women's Division semifinals, where 13 of the most talented women wakeboarders in the world vied for one of the six spots in tomorrow's finals.
All eyes today were on female wakeboarding phenom Nicola Butler, 16, out of Cape Town, South Africa, as the second-year pro rider looked to advance past the semifinals and bring herself one step closer to her fourth consecutive Tour stop win of the season. Butler led her heat today and will join the five other finalists tomorrow. Should Butler win the Phoenix tour stop, she will break her own record for the most consecutive Tour stop wins in a single season.
Wakeboarding's future superstars, ages 14-18, battled it out on the water today in the Jr. Men's Division quarterfinals, where 20 of the world's top amateur rippers competed in five heats of four with only the top-two riders from each heat advancing onto tomorrow's semifinals.
Among the 10 riders advancing past the opening-round, Jimmy LaRiche, 18, of Boca Raton, Fla. stood out from the competition today, as the Florida native posted a perfect score of 100 points to lead his heat and move onto the semifinals. LaRiche will face off against the nine other semifinalists tomorrow in hope of making it into the finals, where LaRiche will look to capture his third Tour win of the season.
The MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour wraps up its stop in Phoenix tomorrow, Sunday, June 29 with finals for all three divisions. Riders will hit the water beginning at 9 a.m.
To catch all the wakeboarding action from home, tune in to Fuel TV. For exact air dates, visit ProWakeboardTour.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.
MasterCraft is the exclusive tow boat for the Pro Wakeboard Tour, as it has been since the tour's wakeboarding events began in 1992. Indmar Marine engines will provide the power for MasterCraft's X Series line of competition tow boats.
Rockstar is the world's most powerful energy drink. Developed to increase 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.
WakeBoarding, published by Bonnier Corp., is the official magazine of the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour. WakeBoarding is the definitive source on all things wakeboarding, with expert coverage of professional instruction, gear, boats and the latest news.
The MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour has the support of the following sponsors: MasterCraft, Rockstar Energy Drink, Mona Vie, the U.S. Air Force, Indmar, Billabong, Hyperlite, CWB, Gator Boards, Ronix, Oakley, Reef, Cire, wakeworld.com and theliquidcircus.com.