The 2005 Wakeboard World Championships, plus the Moscow
Wakeboard World Cup Stop, delivered yet another major attraction for the 10
million citizens of Moscow. This City already features a staggering 2,599
Gymnasiums, 202 Swimming Pools, 93 Theatres, 89 Cinemas, 36 Stadiums and 17
Concert Halls. The major Wakeboard double bill was almost routine for the
experienced Viktor Volokhov, Vice President of the Russian Water Ski Federation,
and his team. The main sponsors of the events were the Moscow Government, Moscow
Sports Ministry, the Russian Sports Ministry, and MasterCraft who supplied the
powerful X Star 8.1 Ltr competition boats.
The 2005 Wakeboard World Championships came first. Previous
venues for this major World Wakeboard Council competition were France, South
Africa, Brazil, Australia and Spain in 2004. With 195 Riders from 20 Countries,
it was a hectic programme in the downtown Krylatskoe Olympic Rowing Arena. The
Grand Stand seating capacity was 20,000. The autumn weather included a mixture
of cool breezes and some sunshine as the Championships began.
2005 WAKEBOARD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
The defending Open Wakeboard World Champions were Philip Soven (USA)
and Robbie Rendo (ARG). At the Boys and Girls levels, the young Estelle Tuaz
(FRA) and Robert Soven (USA) showed strong signs of future greatness. Juniors
Heather Johnson (USA) and Quentin Delefortrie (BEL) also dominated their
divisions. At this point the large crowd of spectators were ready for the Open
battle for World Titles. Two of the most experienced Riders, Cathy Williams
(USA) and Caroline Jansson (SWE) had real trouble with both the pressure and
cool breezes on this occasion. Against the odds, the talented New Zealander,
Andrea Fountain, put in the performance of a lifetime to take the title of
Wakeboard World Champion. The British Rider Louise Moore was just six points
behind and the Bronze position went to Denise DeHaan (NED).
Next came the Open Menís Finals. Could the young sensation
Philip Soven (USA) successfully defend his World Champion title earned in
Seville, Spain, in 2004? The line up on the dock was one of the best seen all
year. Hot favorite and star of the 2004 World Cup series, Daniel Watkins (AUS),
was the first big surprise to fall short. Fellow Australian Brett Eisenhauer
also suffered from the pressure. Josh Sanders kept the Australian flag flying
with a great Bronze Medal performance. This left the final positions open for
Jeff Weatherall (NZL) and the reigning Champion Phillip Soven. On this occasion,
experience won out. Weatherall took the title in Australia in 2003 and 2005 was
again to be his year. First to congratulate him was the runner-up, Philip Soven.
He also celebrated with the USA Team as they took the 2005 World Team
WAKEBOARD WORLD CUP Ė MOSCOW STOP
Sunday morning saw an end to the cool breezes and the arrival of
perfect warm weather conditions. To qualify for this Moscow Stop, Riders had to
be placed in the top 12 Men and top 6 Women in the World Championships on the
previous day. In the recent World Cup Stop in Enghien in Paris, Americans Cathy
Williams and Philip Soven dominated. Williams did not make it through however on
this occasion. Exhaustion was now a factor. Four days on the water is near the
limit ! This was to be a day full of drama.
With Williams out of
the Womanís frame, the best in the Womenís World Championships rose to the top
again today. New World Champion, Andrea Fountain (NZL) somehow found enough
energy to take the Silver Medal on this occasion. Denise DeHaan, repeated her
Bronze medal performance and took the same medal again in this World Cup Stop.
The top spot went to the lady who missed the World Championships Podium by just
one place. Canadaís Sunni Anne Ball celebrated her first World Cup victory in
front of a cheering crowd in glorious sunshine.
In the Menís Heat 2, Morgan Krause (RSA) demolished his
high performance wakeboard. Daniel Watkins (AUS), who on the previous day failed
to make the World Championships Podium, handed his Board to the South African.
This risked being removed from a chance to regain a Podium position today.
Thatís sportsmanship at its very best ! This gesture was fully rewarded.
Watkins made it all the way through to a final head-to-head battle with Philip
Soven (USA). The roar from the crowd said it all. Watkins pulled off a stunning
double back roll on the double-up figure of eight MasterCraft boat maneuver.
This should have clinched the Moscow World Cup Stop title. Soven however kept
his cool. Despite his young years, his talent is exceptional. By delivering one
of the most technical runs of the year, he was eventually the one to take home
the Moscow World Cup Stop title. With Watkins taking the Silver Medal, New
Zealander Jeff Weatherall took the Bronze.
Moscow certainly put a major spotlight on the talents of New
Zealand. With New Zealanders Andrea Fountain taking the Open Womenís World
Champion title and Jeff Weatherall taking the Open Menís World Champion title,
the flight home will be gold all the way. The first major IWSF Wakeboard event
in 2006 will be in Rotorua near Auckland on February 24/26 - perfect timing for
these talented Riders.
The next Stop of the 2005 Wakeboard World Cup series,
organized by the International Waterski Federation and its World Wakeboard
Council, will take place in Singapore on October 22/23 on the waters of the
spectacular downtown Bedok Reservoir.