Orlando, FL (August 26, 2001) - Parks Bonifay and Emily Copeland continued their impressive 2001 pro wakeboarding seasons by taking home the Men's and Women's Mountain Dew WWA Wakeboard National Championship, the second leg of the Vans Triple Crown of Wakeboarding at the Orlando Watersports Complex.
For Bonifay and Copeland the National Title comes on the heels of the 2001 Pro Wakeboard Tour title each rider won earlier this season.
The Men's Final was very close with a good mixture of young riders going against seasoned veterans. In Bonifay's case, he bridged the gap
between the two sets of riders, while still relatively young at 19, Bonifay is in his fifth year of professional wakeboarding.
"This is a great win for me," said Bonifay. "I've never done very well in a Triple Crown Event. Taking home the Nationals really caps off a great 2001 season."
The Men's Final really came down to a race between two riders, Bonifay and Chris Law who finished second. Law, a rookie, has had an excellent season, finishing in the top 10 of the Pro Tour Standings for 2001. But, while consistent, Law has not tasted the podium in 2001 until the National Championship.
In the Ford Ranger Wakeboarding Pro, Law had his best event of the season, finishing fourth. In the Men's Final on Sunday, Law made sure that he would land on the podium, stomping his run, mastering both his wake tricks as well as the obstacles. With the finish, Law leaves little doubt about Rookie of the Year honors for 2001.
"To say that I'm excited is an understatement," said Law. "This is the best I have ever performed, in the biggest event I've ever been in."
For the Women's Pro Title, it came to two riders as well, Copeland and Dallas Friday. This was pretty much the same story as the 2001 Pro Tour
Friday went into the National final as the last rider off the dock after winning her qualifying heat Saturday. She had the advantage of watching
Copeland and knew what she needed to do to win. Unfortunately for Friday, she fell late in her run, and Copeland stood up, giving her the win.
"I'm very proud to stand up here next to Dallas and Leslie (Kent)," said Copeland. "I felt that the final could go any way. Dallas and I both rode
well. I'm fortunate and happy to walk away with the victory."
In addition to the pro divisions, the Boys and Junior Men's divisions also crowned National Champions on the day.
In the Junior Men's division, the division that produces many future pro riders, Robin Friday took home the National Championship. Friday, the older brother of Dallas Friday, proved he has the tools to step it up. Don't be surprised to see Friday ripping it up on the Pro Tour and Vans Triple Crown Pro Circuit in 2002.
In the Boys division, JD Webb won the National Championship. Webb has long been believed to be one of the top competitors in the Boys division, but this is his best finish of the year.
SUNDAY'S FINAL RESULTS
Pro Men Finals
1 Parks Bonifay (USA) 68.78
2 Chris Law (FL) 66.11
3 Zane Schwenk (USA) 63.22
Joel Cahill (FL) 60.11
Randall Harris (CA) 58.11
Erik Ruck (USA) 54.44
Darin Shapiro (USA) 53.33
Trevor Hansen (FL) 35.33
Pro Women Finals
1 Emily Copeland (USA) 61.70
2 Dallas Friday (USA) 58.67
3 Leslie Kent (USA) 53.56
Tara Hamilton (USA) 53.44
Buster Lutgert (FL) 51.56
Laura Lohrmann (USA) 47.67
Melissa Marquardt (USA) 43.78
Lauren Harf (USA) 38.33
Pro Men Semifinals
(4 each heat advance to Finals)