Riders Face Tough Conditions at 2008 WWA Air Nautique Nationals

Kenosha, Wis. – With seven national titles still up for grabs at the 2008 Air Nautique WWA Wakeboard National Championships, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink, the top riders in the United States hit the waters of Lake Andrea at Prairie Springs Park in Pleasant Prairie, Wis. today to vie for a spot in tomorrow’s finals.  


In the Pro Men’s Division, 60 riders battled it out on the water in the quarterfinals, competing in 10 heats of six with only the top-two riders in each heat advancing onto tomorrow’s semifinals. Rusty Malinoski, JD Webb and Bryan Hutton all posted perfect scores of 100 points, despite strong winds and choppy water conditions, to lead their heats and move onto to the next round. The three flawless riders will be joined by the 17 other semifinalists tomorrow for the final day of the contest.


“It was just crazy riding conditions today, the wind kept picking-up and the water was just rugged,” said Webb. “I just laid down run and stuck my landings and the rest is history.”    


The Pro Women’s Division took to the water today for their semifinals, where last year’s National titleist Amber Wing threw down a near perfect run, leading her heat with a score of 97.75, the highest score of the day in her division. Barrett Perlman of Stuart, Fla. and 2007 Pro Tour champ Shelby Kantar of Sacramento, Calif. rounded out the top-three riders, respectively in Wing’s heat, claiming three of the six spots in tomorrow’s finals.


In the other Pro Women’s Division heat, Queen of Wake Rookie of the Year front runner Raimi Merritt of Lantana, Fla. upset top-ranked rider and five-time national champ Dallas Friday of Orlando, Fla. for the top spot in her heat. Merritt, Friday and Air Nautique’s own Melissa Marquardt of Canyon Lake, Calif. finished in the top-three, respectively in their heat, earning the final three spots in tomorrow’s six-woman final.  


“Today was the first time this year that I led my heat, so I’m pretty stoked about it,” said Merritt. “Taking the lead over Dallas was pretty sweet because now I can sit back for the first couple of runs in the finals and see what tricks the other girls are throwing before I ride.”


Current national wakeskate champion Reed Hansen of Groveland, Fla. looked to make a splash out on the water today in the Pro Wakeskate Division semifinals, but windy weather conditions prevented the 2007 world champ from producing a winning run. Hansen finished second in his heat, behind fellow Floridian Brandon Thomas of Orlando.


“Obviously, things could have gone better out there today, but there’s not much you can do when the wind kicks up like that,” said Hansen. “Brandon threw down today and you can’t discredit that either, but hopefully things will go my way in the finals.”


As the top-two riders in their heat, both Hansen and Thomas will advance onto tomorrow’s finals, where they will face off against two-time national champ Brian Grubb of Nashua, NH and 2008 Pro-Am wakeskate winner Stuart Shinn of Bradenton, Fla. in a four-man final for the 2008 national title.   


The youngest group of riders out on the water today, the Jr. Boys Division, held their semifinals, where eight rippers, ages nine and under, competed in two heats of four with only the top-two riders in each heat advancing onto tomorrow’s finals. Ben Watts, 9, of Wetumpka, Ala. posted the highest score of the day in his division with a 61.67. Watts and the three other finalists will vie for the division’s national title in tomorrow’s finals.


In the Boys Division, 10 rippers, ages 10 to 13, battled it out on the water in two heats of five with only the top-three riders from each heat moving onto tomorrow’s finals. Kyle Evans, 13, of Orlando, Fla. posted the highest score of the day in his division with 80 points. Evans and the five other riders moving onto the next round will vie for the division’s national title in tomorrow’s finals.  


The nationals will conclude tomorrow, Sunday Aug. 10 beginning at 10 a.m.


The Air Nautique WWA Wakeboard National Championships, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink is a five-day carnival of water-sports action. But not all the action takes place on the water. On land, fans will experience tons of great music and food; athlete autograph signings; chances to win free giveaways; and shopping at the most cutting-edge stores for water-sports equipment including boats, wakeboards, wakeskates, sunglasses and the latest in wakeboarding and surfing fashions. Admission is free and the event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.  


To catch all the wakeboarding action from home, tune in to FUEL TV. For exact air dates, visit www.kingofwake.com .


FUEL TV is a 24/7 action-sports lifestyle network for wakeboarding, skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, BMX and freestyle motocross. A unit of Fox Cable Networks, FUEL TV was launched July 1, 2003, and is seen in 25 million U.S. homes. To subscribe to FUEL TV, call 877-4-FUEL-TV. For program times and other information, visit www.fuel.tv.


The Air Nautique by Correct Craft is the exclusive tow boat of the WWA Nationals. Celebrating more than 80 years of excellence in the marine industry, Correct Craft is a family-owned manufacturer of internationally acclaimed, competition-caliber water-ski and wakeboard boats, as well as boats for recreational enjoyment. Correct Craft Inc. is known for superior-quality products, cutting-edge technology and innovative hull designs.


Rockstar is the world's most powerful energy drink. Developed to improve the recovery time of those who lead active and exhausting lifestyles, Rockstar Energy Drink is available in 10 flavors — Original, Sugar Free, Juiced, Zero Carb, Guava, Pomegranate, Punched, Roasted Mocha, Roasted Vanilla Light and Roasted Latte — at convenience stores and retail grocery outlets across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia and the United Kingdom.

The Air Nautique WWA Wakeboard National Championships, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink is organized by World Sports & Marketing of Orlando, Fla. The WWA Nationals have the support of the following sponsors: Correct Craft, Rockstar Energy Drink, PCM, Fox, Mona Vie, the U.S. Air Force, Hyperlite, CWB, Gator Boards, Ronix, Oakley, Reef, Cire, wakeworld.com, wakeboarder.com and theliquidcircus.com.


Saturday, August 9 – Day 4 Results:


Pro Men

Quarterfinals – Heat 01

1. Bryan Hutton                 100.00

2. Kyle Rattray                  76.75

3. Tino Santori                     75.50

4. Josh Palma                       73.75

5. Rob Jacques                    68.00

6. John Rodriguez                 56.00


Pro Men

Quarterfinals – Heat 02

1. Danny Harf                    96.25

2. Chris O’Shea                 80.25

3. Chad Sharpe                    76.75

4. Kevin Henshaw                75.00

5. Chris Laske                      62.50

6. Austin Hair                       59.25


Pro Men

Quarterfinals – Heat 03

1. Trevor Hansen               86.00

2. Adam Fields                   85.50

3. Nick Weinacker               82.75

4. James Hindes                   78.75

5. Andrew Dyrhood             65.00

6. Brandon Lee                    52.00


Pro Men

Quarterfinals – Heat 04

1. Andrew Adkison            94.25

2. Olivier Derome              93.00

3. Marcelo Giardi                 82.75

4. James Feid                       65.25

5. Alex Brown                      64.75

6. Rhett Whatley                  NS


Pro Men

Quarterfinals – Heat 05

1. Adam Errington             97.25

2. Erik Ruck                       91.25

3. Derek Grasman                77.00

4. Jimmy Trask                     72.25

5. Jeff House                        62.25

6. Witt Finley                       NS


Pro Men

Quarterfinals – Heat 06

1. Shawn Watson               95.75

2. Corey Bradley               87.50

3. Ben Greenwood               83.25

4. Joseph Lemburg               73.50

5. Randall Harris                  NS

6. Ryan King                        NS


Pro Men

Quarterfinals – Heat 07

1. Aaron Rathy                  97.25

2. Danny Thollander          86.50

3. Zane Schwenk                 84.25

4. Brett Lee                          69.25

5. Alex Hamrick                   62.75

6. Kelly Volgstadt                NS


Pro Men

Quarterfinals – Heat 08

1. Rusty Malinoski            100.00

2. Shaun Murray                78.25

3. AJ Racinelli                      76.75

4. Shane Bonifay                  74.25

5. Kirby Liesmann                70.75

6. Nick Jones                       NS

Pro Men

Quarterfinals – Heat 09

1. JD Webb                        100.00

2. Mikey Ennen                 77.50

3. Jeff Weatherall                 75.75

4. Dean Smith                      74.50

5. Tony Carroll                     62.00

6. Jeff Langley                      60.25


Pro Men

Quarterfinals – Heat 10

1. Phillip Soven                  98.00

2. Daniel Watkins              86.75

3. Adam Wensink                79.50

4. Kyle Alberts                     73.50

5. Adam Greer                     62.25

6. Chase Andrews                NS


Pro Women

Semifinals – Heat 01

1. Raimi Merritt                93.00

2. Dallas Friday                 89.75

3. Melissa Marquardt       84.75

4. Laura Lohrmann               81.25

5. Shawna Hoffman              62.00


Pro Women

Semifinals – Heat 02

1. Amber Wing                   97.75

2. Barrett Perlman             84.00

3. Shelby Kantar                77.75

4. Emily Copeland Durham   72.00

5. Hayley Smith                    68.50


Pro Wakeskate

Semifinals – Heat 01

1. Brian Grubb                   86.67

2. Stuart Shinn                   70.00

3. Joe Phillips                       56.67

4. Jordan Mears                   40.00


Pro Wakeskate

Semifinals – Heat 02

1. Brandon Thomas           66.67

2. Reed Hansen                 58.89

3. Darin Wahl                       51.67

4. Lance Duffet                    40.00

5. Gib Gibbons                     30.00