Indianapolis, Indiana (August 22, 2004) - Going into the Pro Men's Finals at the Vans WWA Wakeboard Nationals, one thing was certain, there was going to be a new champion in 2004. Second-year pro Tino Santori, the 2003 Rookie of the Year on the Pro Wakeboard Tour won his first Pro National Championship on Sunday. For Santori, this is his third big win in the pro ranks, but not his first-ever National title. Santori won the Junior Men's National Championship in 2002.
The way was paved for Santori when defending champion Danny Harf failed to make the finals after his semifinal heat at the Precedent Office Park in Indianapolis. Other past National Champions including Parks Bonifay, Shawn Watson and Darin Shapiro, who account for the past five Pro Men's National Titles, also failed to move past the Pro Men's Semifinals into the Finals.
The battle for Santori was up hill after a fall early in his final run. Jeff Weatherall and Keith Lidberg who finished second and third respectively had already stomped big runs before Santori, so he knew he had to go big to win. After the fall, he regained his composure with two 720s and a 900 in his run.
The Pro Women's final was a different story with favorite Dallas Friday defending her National title. Friday had to hold off a hard charge from Tara Hamilton who went out early in the heat and threw down a big run to put the pressure on. Hamilton finished second and Melissa Marquardt who had an excellent day on the sliders finished third.
In Pro Men's Wakeskate Steve Schoehals is the new National Champion. The win is Schoenhals first as a pro. Defending National Champion Brian Grubb made it to the finals, but finished third behind Schoenhals. Brandon Thomas finished second on the day. Thomas was third in the Nationals in 2003.
Two other National Championships were awarded on the final day of the Vans WWA Wakeboard National Championships at the Precedent Office Park. In the Boys division, Reed Hansen took home the victory. In the Junior Boys division it was Jacob Valdez who earned the top spot.
In all nearly 300 riders competed on the weekend, making the 2004 Vans WWA Wakeboard National Championships one of the largest events in wakeboarding history.
The Vans Triple Crown(tm) Series is made possible through the support of Ford Trucks, Right Guard, Mountain Dew, NBC Sports and Fox Sports Net. The Vans Triple Crown Series features the world's top athletes participating in premier venues throughout North America for the top prize purse in each of six action sports: Skateboarding, Wakeboarding, BMX, Freestyle Motocross, Surfing and Snowboarding.
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Vans WWA Wakeboard National Championship
At the Precedent Office Park Indianapolis, IN