Lake Elsinore, CA (September 30, 2001) Ė The Vans WWA Wakeboard World Championship, the final event of the 2001 competitive wakeboarding season, provided yet another opportunity for Darin Shapiro, Parks Bonifay, Emily Copeland and Dallas Friday to prove they are indeed the best riders in the world.
On the day, Shapiro and Copeland walked away with professional World Championships in the Menís and Womenís divisions respectively behind the Correct Craft 2001 Air Nautique wakeboard boat.
Copeland earned the double honor of Women's Vans Triple Crown Champion by virtue of her National Title and World Title. For her efforts, Copeland earned an $8,000 season bonus in addition to the $8,000 prize money for the World Championship.
"I really canít believe all this is happening to me," said Copeland, the 2001 Womenís Pro Wakeboard Tour Champion. "At the beginning of the season I never would have guessed I would be standing on top of the winnerís podium. I'm going to Disney Land."
Bonifay, the 2001 Menís Pro Wakeboard Tour, finished second to Shapiro on the day, giving him the Menís Vans Triple Crown Championship and a $15,000 bonus. Bonifay also took the honor of World Cup Champion, an honor for the top overall finishes across top professional wakeboard events throughout the 2001 season. Friday took home top honors in the Womenís World Cup.
For the four athletes who took home the majority of the hardware in Sundayís World Championship, this final event capped off a very good year. All four athletes took turns sweeping almost all of the major events.
Shapiroís World Championship will go along nicely with his 2001 Gravity Games Championship and second place finish on both the World Cup Standings and Pro Wakeboard Tour Standings.
"I just want to thank everybody for this win today," said Shapiro. "This has been the best season for wakeboarding, and a great way to cap it off for me."
Fridayís second place finish mirrors her finish on the Pro Tour, and comes in addition to championships at the Gravity Games, X Games and Ford Ranger Wakeboarding Pro.
The competition again came down to the very last riders in both the men's and womenís ranks.
Both Copeland and Bonifay went out early in the women's and men's finals respectively and put up big scores, then sat back and waited to see what would happen.
In the Women's Final, Friday was the last rider off the dock. Typically, Friday pulled out all the stops in her run. Unfortunately, an untimely fall on the second pass of her final run threw her off her game and gave the championship to Copeland who rode clean.
In the Men's Final, Shapiro did not give Bonifay as much of a chance. Both he and Bonifay stood up their runs, and it came down to a few more tricks to give Shapiro the edge.
Both Bonifay and Shapiro showed their mastery of the entire course, both in wake tricks and apparatus. Earlier in the season, Bonifay seemed to have the edge on the apparatus. But, now Shapiro seems to be equal to the task, showing he is comfortable on both the Slaughter Box and Ford Ranger Cage, nailing 360s off the PVC on both.