Waterskiing and wakeboarding received major media attention during the 26th South East Asian (SEA) Games held in Palembang, Indonesia from 15th -18th November 2011.
Host Indonesia and emerging regional power Malaysia shared 8 of the 11 golds at stake with four each with Thailand taking two and Singapore one.
Indonesia won golds through veteran Fath Daud Wangka in men slalom, Febiandi Andri in men tricks, Zahidi Putu in men jump and Endhar Pupul in women jump.
Malaysia won golds with Phillipa Yoong in women?s slalom and women?s overall, 8-year old Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah in women?s tricks and the elder sibling former Formula 1 racer Alex Yoong taking gold in men's overall.
Thailand took home golds with Padiwat Jaemjan in men?s wakeboard and the team wakeboard event while Singapore took home the remaining gold with Sasha Christian in women?s wakeboard.
Media had plenty to write about with 8-year old Aaliyah being the youngest ever gold medalist in the history of the SEA Games, ex-Formula 1 racer Alex returning to the sport to take a gold after a 14-year layoff, the exploits of Wakeboard World Cup stars Padiwat and Sasha as well as the fierce battles between Indonesia and Malaysia to top the gold medal table.
All these resulted in unprecedented media coverage in the front pages of mainstream newspapers in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore as well as coverage in Thailand and Philippines who returned to the sport after missing the 1997 SEA Games. The London Times also published a story with a picture of Aaliyah's achievement on the 19th November 2011.