The 2008 Air Nautique Wake Games kicked off Thursday at the Orlando Watersports Complex in Orlando with five divisions going for broke in semifinal, quarterfinal and qualifying rounds. Riders not only looked to advance in their respective division, but to also try and earn a spot on one of the 10 Air Nautique Wake Games teams.
The Pro Men’s Division highlighted the opening day with qualifiers, where 50 riders took to the water to see who would advance to the quarterfinals and earn a spot on one of the 10 teams. Shawn Watson owned the water today, leading his heat and posting the highest score of the day with 97.50. The two-time wakeboard national champion advances onto the quarterfinals along with 19 other riders from today’s qualifiers.
After missing last year’s Wake Games due to injury, Orlando’s own Dallas Friday made a triumphant return on her hometown waters today, as she led the opening round of the Pro Women’s Division. Friday posted the highest score in her division today with a 73.33. She will advance along with seven other riders to the semifinals, set to take place on Saturday, April 26.
The Pro Wakeskate Division took to the water today for their opening rounds as well. All eyes were on current wakeskate world champion Reed Hansen and 2007 Wake Games winner Brian Grubb, to see who would lead the opening rounds. But it was Stuart Shinn who posted the highest score of the day with a 78.33. Shinn, Grubb and Hansen all advanced and will meet on Saturday, April 26 along with seven other shredders for the Pro Wakeskate semifinals.
Pro Women’s Wakeskate and Amateur Wakeskate took to the water today for their semifinals. Stephanie Wamsley (Orlando, FL) and Joe Phillips (Ocean City, MD) led their respective divisions. Both rippers will advance to their finals, set for Saturday, April 26.
Tomorrow, 10 amateur divisions will take to the water to begin their portion of the contest. Following tomorrow’s runs, the 10 team captains will host a draft to build a team for the rest of the competition. The team with highest overall score takes home the team title and the cash prize.
To catch all the wakeboarding action from home, tune in to Fuel TV. For exact air dates, visit kingofwake.com.