In glorious sunshine, perfect water and at precisely 08.45hrs today, Round 1 of Women and Men Tricks opened the programme. All the results are available at http://www.moombamasters.com.au
Twelve Women competed for eight Tricks places to move forward. Youngsters made a major impression right from the start. The first performance set a high standard. Fourteen year-old Bianca Mulach from nearby Canberra clocked up a very impressive score 5110 points - just ten points short of a personal best achievement. It took the following five Skiers to catch up with this. At the half-way stage, Anais Amade FRA raised the bar to 6270 points but the first major scores were left for the final four off the dock. The spectators cheered home Australia’s Michale Briant who has trained with Jack Travers in Florida when her 7510 points hit the score board. Next out was the 14 year-old sensation and Level 10 Gymnast from the USA, Erika Lang. Her 7270 score would certainly see her move to the Semi-Finals. However, as expected, the defending Moomba Champion, Natalia Berdnikava BLR, stole the show with a very impressive 8600 score to take the top slot this morning.
The cut for Men Tricks was not so harsh. Twelve of fourteen would move forward. The seeding order here put Ryan Green AUS first off the dock as he has only just returned from injury. His opening score of 9260 certainly put pressure on the field right from the start. It was not till Joshua Briant, seventh off the dock, clocked up 9700 that Ryan’s score was beaten. Both would move forward. World Overall Champion, Javier Julio ARG, was the first to exceed 10,000 and with 10,040 he was not far short of a personal best achievement. Russell Gay USA, a hot favorite, had to settle for 9910 but the outstanding performance of the day certainly came from Jimmy Siemers. As past Overall and Tricks World Champion, nobody could get close to his outstanding 11,410 point score. In fact, even though he tried his best, Aliaksei Zharnasek BLR then ran in to all kinds of trouble and had to return with 8130 points to settle for seventh place. Siemers was certainly the Tricker of the day.
At Noon and with a packed spectator bank and good water conditions, it was time for the Women Jump Semi-Final. Here eight chased six places. It was great to see Marie Vympranietsova GRE back from injury and she also made it through. Three succeeded in breaking the 50.0m barrier. The first of these was the 18 year-old Australian sensation, Jacinta Carroll. Against her extraordinary recent Personal Best score of 54.7m on the low 1.5m Ramp, she hit the scoreboard with 50.4m today. This in fact was the second highest score of the day. Defending Moomba Champion, Natalia Berdnikava BLR, got very close with 50.3m. However, against a Personal Best score of 52.9m, Alex Lauretano USA put in an outstanding performance of 52.3m to take top seed.
The day finished with Seeds 2 and I for Men Slalom and by this time the spectator numbers were huge and the sunshine hot ! They were not disappointed. Fifteen would move forward from the field of twenty-five. With thirteen in Seed 2, there was a bit of a traffic jam on the 11.25m shortening and none made it beyond this shortening. Top of the pile were the experienced Javier Julio ARG and 18 year-old Tim Bradstreet AUS. Both scored 3 Buoys on the 11.25m line. Sweden’s Johan Efverstrom was close behind with 2.5 Buoys. With twelve skiers in Seed 1, these three were all guaranteed a place in the top 15 who would move forward to Sunday’s Semi-Finals. As it turned out, to the surprise of many, five actually made it through from Seed 2. The disappointments in Seed 1 were Matteo Luzzeri ITA, Adam Sedlmajer CZE and Austin Abel USA. As anticipated, all the fun came towards the end with an outstanding list of super-stars on the dock. The first big score came from the defending Moomba Champion Aaron Larkin NZL. His 3 Buoys on the 10.75m line gave him the lead with six Skiers to go. Frequent Moomba visitor Ty Oppenlander USA got very close with 2 Buoys. Past World Champion and five-time European Champion Thomas Degasperi ITA then equaled Larkin’s lead score. This left just past World Champion Will Asher GBR and World Record holder Chris Parrish USA. What a prospect ! Asher was first out. He not only ran the 10.75m pass but added 3 Buoys on the very short 10.25m line. This is a new Moomba Course Slalom Record. Chris Parrish now had a real challenge on his hands. His response was good but not good enough to take top seed today. He had to settle for 1.5 Buoys on the 10.75m line and fifth place. Tomorrow’s Semi-Finals will be special !