It was a day of suspense for the athletes and crowd at the third annual Action Sports Games in Mandurah for the first stop of the 2014 International Waterski and Wakeboard World Cup.
The Men’s Waterski Final was filled with huge jumps, with three world champion athletes exceeding 65m for the first time in Mandurah.
All eyes were on the World Record Holder Freddy “The Nightmare” Krueger with the crowd’s anticipation building when it was down to his last jump to secure his World Championship reign.
Krueger knew there were high expectations and after a jump of 65.9m for his third attempt, Germany’s Bojan Schipner was pushed to second place with his jump of 65.3m.
“It builds the pressure, but people expecting you to win means you’re doing your job,” he said.
“It’s about concentrating on the things you need to be successful.”
Similarly in the Women’s Waterski Jump Final, spectators were held in suspense until the very last jump.
After a rocky start, Jacinta Caroll came through in her third attempt with a winning jump of 51.1m to defend her Mandurah World Cup title.
“I crumbled a bit under the pressure but thankfully I was able to get my nerves in tack,” she said.
“It was so close, I could see the 50m buoy when I was coming down so I kept pressing, hoping to get that little bit further.”
The 20 year-old from Geelong was excited to defend her World Cup title and kick off 2014 at the top.
“I perform best when I’m having fun, which is what I did on the third one and it paid off.”
World Record Holder Natalia Berdnikava (BLR) just fell short of Carroll’s result, jumping 50.2m, a long way off her 58.6m personal best.
The day’s excitement continued through to the Women’s Wakeboard Semi-final, with World Champion Raimi Merritt fought back from her ankle surgery to take the Mandurah title from last year’s winner Bec Gange (AUS) in her first competition since rehab.
Gange took an early fall and tried to come back strong with a number of jumps before falling again on a wild-card trick to finish with a low score of 39.7.
“I’m a little disappointed as I rode really well last year, I felt the boat was going a bit fast, but you just need to rise above it,” she said.
“It was still fun though and I’m always happy to be here.”
All eyes were then on Merritt and her ankle as she took to the water as the last Finals rider to beat Caroline Djupsjo’s score of 60.1.
Merritt threw in the handle early, unsatisfied with the boat speed, but came back strong to give am impressive and solid final run and earn the winning score of 62.3.
The Men’s Wakeboard Finals are due to kick off soon for what will be a nail-biting contest between reigning World Champion Harley Clifford and fellow Australian and 17 year-old Tony Iacconi.
Wakeboard finalists David O’Caoimh (IRL), Shota Tezuka (JPN), Daniel Powers (USA) and Cory Teunissen will also be battling it out for a spot on the podium.
The Action Sports Games is taking place on conjunction with the Channel 7 Crabfest for a family-fun, action-packed weekend in Mandurah.
Tourism Western Australia and the Department of Regional Development of Lands are proud to support the Action Sports Games Mandurah through the Royalties for Regions – Regional Events Program, which is administered by Eventscorp.