Clifford, Butler and Hansen Win at Air Nautique WWA Wakeboard Nationals
Sparks, Nev. – Fans lined the shores of Sparks Marina today to catch the final rounds of action at the Air Nautique WWA Wakeboard National Championships, presented by ROCKSTAR. Throughout the day riders in six different divisions hit the water to compete for national titles and invitations to represent the United States at the Wakeboard World Championships later this year.
The Pro Men’s division highlighted the event, with its five-man final. Defending titlist, Adam Errington, failed to advance past the semifinal round today, leaving the national title up for grabs for Danny Harf, Rusty Malinoski, Harley Clifford, Phillip Soven and Bryan Hutton.
All five pros threw down impressive runs, but top seed Harley Clifford made the biggest impact on the water to take home his first-ever Nationals win. Former national champions Phillip Soven and Danny Harf rounded out the Pro Men’s division podium, respectively.
“It feels awesome to win Nationals, it’s my first one and I’m stoked,” said Clifford. “Winning today helps me out a lot in the King of Wake and I can’t wait for the next contest.”
With today’s win Clifford now leads the King of Wake series with 460 points. Phillip Soven trails in second place with 425 points, while Rusty Malinoski rounds out the top three with 321 points. The Air Nautique WWA Nationals was the fifth stop in the eight-event King of Wake series.
In the Pro Women’s division, all eyes were on Emily Copeland Durham, as she made her first finals appearance in nearly two years. Copeland Durham had a fair finish in the six-woman final, taking fourth place, but it was former Queen of Wake Nicola Butler who took top honors at the Air Nautique WWA Nationals. Butler’s first-place finish today marks her first Nationals win. Two-time Nationals winner Amber Wing finished in second place, with Raimi Merritt taking third.
“I was feeling pretty sore all weekend, but I pushed through it and made it to finals,” said Butler. “It was worth the pain to ride today and come out with a win.”
Butler now leads the Queen of Wake series with 290 points. Merritt moves up to second place with 245 points and Wing rounds out the top three with 240 points. The Air Nautique WWA Nationals was the third stop in the five-event Queen of Wake series.
Pro wakeskater Reed Hansen successfully defended his national title today, taking down two former national champions in the process. Hansen’s first-place finish in the Pro Wakeksate division finals today marks his third national title in four years. Grant Roberts and Stuart Shinn rounded out the podium, respectively.
“I love winning titles like this and having to defend them,” said Hansen. “It was a tough final for sure, but I’m stoked that I won and now it’s time to celebrate.”
The Jr. Pro Men's division hit the water today for their six-man final with Steel Lafferty taking first place with a score of 96.50, a near 12-point differential from the next closest competitor. Julian Cohen and Daniel Powers rounded out the Jr. Pro Men division podium, respectively. Today's win marks Lafferty's first national title in the Jr. Pro Men division.
The Boys and Jr. Women divisions also wrapped up their riding today with Noah Flegel and Tori Koch claiming their respective division's national title.
Also in the Boys division, Paulie Koch took home the PCM Amateur Best Trick Award for his massive KGB. The Award is a $250 cash prize.
Now that the Air Nautique WWA Wakeboard National Championships, presented by ROCKSTAR has ended, the top tier riders from each of the 21 divisions will be invited to represent the United States at the WWA Wakeboard World Champions later this year in Orlando, Fla.
For more information on the Air Nautique WWA Wakeboard National Championships, presented by ROCKSTAR, visit www.allisports.com.
The Air Nautique WWA Wakeboard National Championships, presented by ROCKSTAR is organized by World Sports & Marketing of Orlando, Fla., and has the support of the following sponsors: Correct Craft, Rockstar Energy Drink, Overton’s, Peavey, MonaVie, FOX, Hyperlite, CWB, Ronix, Liquid Force, Byerly, PCM Marine Engines, WakeBoarding magazine, FUEL TV and Allisports.com.