Soven Sweeps the Season, Heartbreaker in the Pro Women’s Division
Reno, Nev. - Fans packed the shores of Sparks Marina today to catch the final runs of the world’s top riders, as the 2008 MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour season came to a close. Among the world's best, were Phillip Soven and Nicola Butler, who both were looking to end the season unbeaten in their respective division, a feat never before accomplished in the Tour's 17-year history.
In the Pro Men's Division finals, two-time wakeboard world champion Andrew Adkison, former rookie of the year Aaron Rathy and world record-holder JD Webb were all looking to leave Phillip Soven in their wake and ruin his perfect season.
But the current Tour champ didn't let the other three finalists get in his way, as Soven took the top spot in today's contest, posting a near perfect score of 96.50; nearly a 12-point differential from his next closest competitor. Soven now stands as the only rider ever to go undefeated on the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour. Webb, Rathy and Adkison rounded out the finals, respectively.
With Today's win, Soven sits at the top of the Indmar Performance Standings with a perfect score of 500 points, claiming his second consecutive Tour title and the Indmar Performance Award, a $10,000 bonus. JD Webb and Rusty Malinoski took second and third-place overall, respectively.
One of the biggest upsets in the Tour's 17-year history took place today, as two-time wakeboard world champion Emily Copeland Durham, 24, of Denver, Colo. took down the previously undefeated Nicola Butler, 16, a native of Cape Town, South Africa, who was on the verge of making action sports history, as the first rider ever to go unbeaten on the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour.
The upset was a true heartbreaker, as Copeland Durham beat out Butler for the top spot in today's contest by a .25 differential to end Butler's run at a perfect season. Today's win marks Copeland Durham's first victory of the 2008 season and her third Tour stop title in Reno.
Although Butler didn't win in Reno today, her second-place finish did however, earn her enough points in the Indmar Performance Standings to capture her first ever overall Tour title and the 2008 Indmar Performance Award, a $5,000 bonus. Current wakeboard world champion Amber Wing and Copeland Durham finished in second and third-place overall, respectively.
Butler will also go down in history as the second-youngest female rider, at 16, to win the overall Tour title. Ironically, Emily Copeland Durham, along with Tara Hamilton hold the record as the youngest Tour titlists, at 15.
Nicola Butler not only took home the Tour title in Reno today, but she also claimed the MONA VIE Best Trick Award. The award is a $250 bonus for the female rider landing the most impressive trick of the contest, a boardside 270 off of the Rockstar Energy Drink Rooftop rail.
Aaron Rathy may not have won in Reno today, but the 2006 Rookie of the Year managed to ride away with some extra cash thanks to Rockstar Energy Drink. Rathy was named the winner of the Rockstar Energy Drink Best Trick Award, a $1,000 cash bonus for landing the most impressive trick of the contest, a mute 360 off the double-up.
Four of wakeboarding's future superstars took to the water today in the Jr. Men's Division finals, where Jimmy LaRiche (USA), Harley Clifford (AUS), Ryan King (USA) and Jarrod Askew (AUS) all vied for the top spot in the contest and looked to claim some last-minute points toward the Tour title.
After a heated battle on the water, Jimmy LaRiche emerged as the winner of the final Tour stop of 2008, followed by Clifford, King and Askew, respectively. Today’s win earned LaRiche enough points to claim the overall title in the Jr. Men's Division, his first, and the Indmar Performance Award, a $1,000 bonus. Clifford and Robert Soven took second and third-place overall, respectively.
Reno marks LaRiche's fourth win on Tour this season.
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 25 million U.S. homes. To subscribe to FUEL TV, call 877-4-FUEL-TV. For program times and other information, visit www.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.
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