Today will be a Moomba day to be remembered for many years. Police estimates are that 200k spectators were in the Moomba area and 400k in the wider Festival area. Apart from perfect weather and extraordinary crowds on site, to the surprise of many, it was the youngest athletes who captured both the hearts of the fans and the medals on Melbourne?s Yarra River this time in the Open events. Whitney McClintock CAN (22) dominated Tricks, Slalom and Overall, Nate Smith USA (20) stole the show in Slalom, and Tim Bradstreet (19) took Jump Gold. Iris Cambray FRA (18) took Silver in Tricks with great performances also from Erika Lang USA (16) and Anna Gay USA (11). Against the very best in the world, this is a clear sign that the next generation has already arrived and the old order is about to change.
The other exceptional performances came from Natalia Berdnikova BLR in Jump, Joel Wing AUS in Overall and Aliaksei Zharnasek BLR in Tricks. For all the score details, see : http://www.moombamasters.com.au
Once a few early hiccups were resolved, the response to the global Moomba Webcast was also very encouraging. With TV quality cameras on site, slo-mo replays, good vision mixing and the use of a large downtown Jumbotron screen, both the local public and overseas supporters were well catered for. The programme also included Wakeboard, Ski Racing demonstration, Big Dawg Slalom for the over 35?s, some spectacular Night Jump contests and nightly Fireworks displays. This surely is the way to present the sport to the public and great credit is due to the organizers, Victorian Waterski Association and Nautique.
On a light note, when Corey Humburg USA made his first Moomba Slalom Final appearance wearing a bright orange cape and bandana, he got every photographer on site excited. This however does not appear to improve Slalom performances !