05Jan08 U21 Finals Deliver Outstanding Performances

Today was another scorching day both on and off the water for the first of the Finals at the Miranda Santiago Chile site. In 32C / 94Fh sunshine and flat water, almost all the Slalom Skiers improved on their Preliminary Round scores. The Ski Nautique boat pulled the first of the 12 Men Slalom Finals skiers in to the course at exactly 10.00am. While only one scored on the 10.75m / 39 Off rope shortening in the Prelims, five got there today in the Finals. Canada's Jason McClintock was first with 2.5 buoys. Jonathan Travers (USA) pushed it up to 4 buoys. Felipe Miranda (CHI) with a heavily bandaged burst eardrum scored 3. Martin Bartlsky (SVK) got 0.5. Cale Burdick (USA) was best in the Prelims and with an outstanding score of 4.5 buoys in today's Finals, he took the U21 World Slalom Champion title. With nine countries represented in the Finals, the global spread of talent is impressive.

Ladies Slalom followed in equally great conditions. Again, most of the 12 Finalists improved on their Prelims scores. However, the real battle began with the last three competitors - Whitney McClintock (CAN), Nicole Arthur (GBR) and Karina Nowlan (AUS). Whitney raised the earlier high score of Evdokia Liakou (GRE) from 2 buoys on the 11.25m line to 3 buoys. Next out was the two time World Junior Champion and recent World Open Champion Nicole. She looked unbeatable and delivered an absolutely flawless performance to score 4 buoys. Last out was the Prelims winner Karina. On this rare occasion, the challenge was just too much and she had to settle for 2.5 buoys. Nicole Arthur had now achieved four World Slalom titles and on this occasion a well deserved standing ovation.

Tomorrow Sunday, with confirmed Trick scores and all the Jump Finals, the very high standards are set to continue. Full reports and photos will be featured here in www.iwsf.com