The International Waterski & Wakeboard World Cup was dominated by a wave of young, fresh talent and athletes trying to nail their first attempts in the water at the Finals of the Action Sports Games Mandurah.
Erika Lang, Jacinta Carroll, Freddy Krueger, Harley Clifford and Bec Gange tasted gold at the 36th Waterskii and Wakeboard World Cup stop in Mandurah today.
The Finals of the ASG heated up thanks to perfect weather conditions and a bustling crowd as the world’s best Waterskiiers and Wakeboards battled it out.
The top four seeded Women Waterskiiers met in the Shortboard (Tricks) Final first thing in the morning, a rareity that paved the way for a day of tough competition and high standards.
The best conditions Mandurah has seen so far greeted the world’s top athletes with 17-year-old Erika Lang (USA) taking out the gold medal in the Ladies’ Tricks Final with a score of 85.40.
As the youngest athlete, Lang proved talent and skills are more important than experience, showing off to the crowd with a number of Toehold Slidesides and Ski Lines to wrap up the Women’s Tricks Finals in great style.
“I’m really happy with how many tricks I managed to get in, its really exciting to be here competing with the top people in the world,” said Lang.
“One of the girls competing holds the World Record at the moment so it’s a real honour to be competing against her when I’m so young, I’m hoping I’ll come out on top sometime soon.”
Second placed Iris Cambray (FRA) was the first skier on the water today, setting the bar high with a close score of 84.40. Current World Record holder Clemetine Lucine (FRA) showed off with an exceptional display of skill that saw her complete a big Toe Run, an excellent Hand Pass and stay standing during two difficulties. Despite being a Five-Time World Champion, Lucine placed third today with a final score of 81.40, a position she was really happy with after only three weeks of training.
“I’m really happy, I don’t think I could’ve done better today, I did everything I could to stand up and I did,” said Lucine.
“If I wanted to win I would’ve had to go much faster and take many more risks which meant I would not have been able to pull off all those tricks in time, so I’m really happy with my performance today.”
The Men’s Tricks Final got off to a great start with current World Record holder Aliaksei Zharnasek (BLR) trying to come back from his disappointing performance at yesterday’s Semi-Final. Zharnasek started his run with a quality Open Pass that led into a number of spectacular Toe Tricks before finishing with two full stand-up passes. A final score of 100.10 wasn’t enough for Zharnasek to come out on top, instead finishing second behind Jimmy Siemers (USA).
“I’m pretty happy but of course I was shooting for the gold medal, but I think I did my best today and the conditions were nice and I liked how I skied,” said Zharnasek.
“Trick skiing is such a precise sport because you have 20 seconds to perform each trick so even if you’re half a second late on your trick you could be out of time for it, really affecting your score, which I think is what happened for me today.”
Men’s Tricks Winner Jimmy Siemers was surprised he took out gold, but was deserving of his 101.40 score after finishing his run with two solid stand up poses and a good S40 at the end.
“I wasn’t sure if I did any good, I just tried to come back from my fall, so I was a little surprised with my score,” said Siemers.
Chasing a personal best of 106.00 was young Australian Joshua Briant who placed third with a score of 96.50. Last out on the water for the Men’s Tricks Finals was Alexandre Poteau (FRA) who was set to perform after he gained the top seed from yesterday’s Semi-Finals, but thanks to a rough start, Poteau didn’t make it onto the podium.
The Women’s Jump Final then came to a remarkable close with final jumper Australian Jacinta Carroll winning after her first and only jump of 46.3m. Carroll found the perfect low, powerful position going into the base of the ramp to take off with enough speed to grab the gold medal.
“I knew the conditions on the first jump were the best as everyone before me was jumping better on their first one, so I had to put myself out in a position where I knew I had speed and it paid off,” said Carroll.
The university student has been gaining great stead in the Jumping world lately, but Mandurah was her first win in her home country, a success she very much enjoyed.
“I’m one of the youngest in the field and everyone is so competitive these days so I’m wrapped that I was able to pull it off,” said Carroll.
“We don’t have many competitions in Australia so to be able to share your win with people from your own country is just great.”
Carroll took out the title confidently with second placed Marion Mathieu (FRA) scoring 43.7m. Mathieu also started out strong, holding the lead from her first jump’s score before Carroll overtook, with Lauren Morgan (USA) coming in third place after jumping 43.5m.
Competition favourite and Thirteen-Time World Champion Freddy Krueger held his reign as World Number One with a huge 62.2m jump on his first and only attempt, well ahead of second placed Canadian Ryan Dodd (59.7m). Going out wide and building up consistent speed all the way to the ramp proved why he is a crowd pleasure.
“We knew coming in that the conditions were better this year so I figured it was going to take a 60m jump to win,” said Krueger.
“That was a great jump, I had great timing at the bottom, I got all my lift and that wind swung around so I could get up with it.
“I’ll remember that one for a long time.”
Dodd, who held the lead until Krueger’s jump, passed on his third attempt after hitting a small bump in the water, a decision that may have stopped Krueger needing to do more than one jump.
“I hit a wave and got tossed so I made a decision not to take the jump,” said Dodd.
“I know that jump could have been huge but you never know what could happen if you take that 50/50 chance.”
The quality weather conditions continued throughout the day, creating perfect water settings for the Wakeboarding Finals to begin. The crowd grew and high hopes were set for favourites Raimi Merritt (USA), Bec Gange (AUS), Harley Clifford (AUS) and Shota Tezuka (JPN).
New to the Championship scene, Bec Gange dominated the Women’s Wakeboarding Final with an impressive score of 61.90, winning her first World Cup and stealing gold from Seven-Time World Champion Raimi Merrit. Gange was surprised by her success, especially when going up against Merrit.
“It feels pretty incredible, Raimi is a tough rider, she’s won the last seven World Cups and every time she comes out she dominates because she’s such a strong ride, so to beat that is pretty incredible,” said Gange.
“I didn’t think I could do it, I just held on and tried to stay as strong as I could then hoped for the best.”
The crowd enjoyed another exciting Final with the Men’s Wakeboarding, which saw close friends and housemates Harley Clifford and Shota Tezuka battling it out for top spot.
The pressure was on for Clifford to perform as Tezuka set the bar high with a score of 84.00. While he started off with a mellow pace, it wasn’t long before Tezuka got the crowd roaring with controlled backflips, phenomenal heights, tough technical tricks and strong landings. But it wasn’t enough to beat Clifford, who continues to hold his title as World Number One.
“It was a tight win, Shota went out and killed then I went out there and did pretty good, so I’m super stoked to get the win and I’m just hoping I can keep them going,” said Clifford.
The 36th stop of the World Tour concluded in great style with the athletes heading off to Indonesia soon to continue the 2013 Waterskii and Wakeboard Pro Tour.
The competition at the Mambo skatepark was just as fierce as it was on the water, with some of Australia’s best skaters and BMX’s riders battling it out for their share in $20,000 worth of prize money.
Local boy Dom Williams upset the pro’s by taking out first place in the BMX Halfpipe Competition. Perth pro-rider Dylan Schmidt squeezed into third after being knocked out in the battle jam format where riders are slowly eliminated, leaving one rider at the end to be crowned King of the Halfpipe. Schmidt wasn’t ready to come second best to Williams again and took out the BMX Pro Park Competition, but Williams wouldn’t let him have it easily coming in at second place.
The skate competition braved the hot sun on Sunday and both local and national riders fought hard to take home the prize money. Harry Clark was the best man there, winning first in the Skate Park Pro and then second in the Halfpipe.
Tourism Western Australia and the Department of Regional Development and Lands are proud to support the Actions Sports Games Mandurah through the Royalties for Regions- Regional Events Program, which is administrated by Eventscorp.
A summary of the IWWF World Cup Final results today are as follows:
Women’s Tricks: 1. Erika Lang 2. Iris Cambray 3. Clementine Lucine
Men’s Tricks: 1. Jimmy Siemers 2. Aliaksei Zharnasek 3. Joshua Briant
Women’s Jump: 1. Jacinta Carroll 2. Marion Mathieu 3. Lauren Morgan
Men’s Jump: 1. Freddy Krueger 2. Ryan Dodd 3. Scot Ellis
Women’s Wakeboard: 1. Bec Gange 2. Nicola Butler 3. Caroline Djupsjo
Men’s Wakeboard: 1. Harley Clifford 2. Shota Tezuka 3. Daniel Powers