Our World Cup Stars did us proud on the downtown Yarra River at the Moomba Masters in Australia this year. With the Finals finishing just a few hours ago on Monday evening, it is always a great holiday weekend in Melbourne. Every fan in our sport should enjoy the experience at least once in a lifetime.
Lets start with Mens Slalom. You may recall that Chris Parrish USA took the World Cup Slalom title in Putrajaya Malaysia a few months ago and also took the Silver Medal at the Doha World Cup Stop just before Christmas. In challenging conditions on the Yarra today, Chris got 1.5 buoys on the short 10.75m line – to beat the reigning World Cup Slalom Champion, Jodi Fisher GBR, by just one buoy. Congratulations to Chris on a perfect start to the 2009 season. Ty Oppenlander USA, an experienced Yarra contender, took third place. Young Jonathon Travers USA certainly rattled a lot of cages with his Prelim score of 3.5 buoys on the 10.75m line but ran in the trouble on the 12m line in the Finals. Watch out for Jonathan this season !
In Ladies Slalom, it was a whole new ball game. Reigning Slalom Champion, Australia’s own Emma Sheers, was not on the water this year. The eventual battle today was between World Champion, Nicole Arthur GBR, past Junior World Record holder in Jump and Slalom, Karina Nowlan AUS, and past European Slalom Champion Anais Amade FRA. Her architecture studies kept her out of many events in recent times. However, with the studies now out of the way, Anais surprised many with a very cool performance. Her score of 2.25 buoys on the 11.25m line – just 0.25 ahead of Karina, created a new Moomba Slalom Champion. Watch out for Anais in our 2009 World Cup series. This could well be the start of a major global challenge for her.
In Tricks, the amazing talent of our reigning World Cup season Slalom and Tricks Champion, Clementine Lucine FRA, is back with a vengeance. Her score of 8020 points – only 400 short of her own World Record – was stunning for this early in the year. Anais Amade FRA, having just taken the Slalom title, took the Moomba Silver Medal this time with 6480 – just 180 points ahead of that other World Cup talent of Alex Lauretano USA.
The Moomba Mens Tricks results were also very interesting. With World Record holder Nicolas LeForestier FRA back at his desk in France, Aliaksei Zharnasek BLR dominated with 10,240 points. Aliaksei did not feature in our World Cup results last season and so the spotlight will be on him for the remainder of this year. Talking about spotlights, Jaret Llewellyn CAN, one of the Worlds greatest Overall athletes ever, proved yet again that he is in top form. His Silver Medal score of 10,080 points will not go unnoticed back in Canada where he will go all out to take the World Overall Champion title in Calgary next August. Good to see Joel Wing AUS also doing so well, in spite of a full time day job, with a third place score of 9680 points
As ever, the Moomba Jump event was a real thriller. June Fladborg DEN has rarely been off the World Cup winners podium over the past few seasons. She desperately wanted a good start to this season. Moomba provided it for her with a winning distance of 46.7m. To the surprise of many, that other young World Cup star, Marion Mathieu FRA, was just 0.3m behind June and all eyes will be on both as this season progresses and World Jump Champion Ageliki Andriopoulou returns to the water later. World Overall Record holder, Clementine Lucine took 3rd place with 45.2m.
One year ago, Jaret Llewellyn CAN, kicked off his successful year here by taking that Moomba Jump title. He has already clocked up 66.6m and 67.7m on the Yarra this week. All were waiting for the Finals. Kyle Eade NZL just seems to be getting better and better now that he is a family man ! His 66.6m Finals score gave him the Silver Medal. Canada’s talented World Cup rising star Ryan Dodd may be just 23 years old but he has shown extraordinary progress in the past few years. His 65.8m in both the Semi Finals and Finals gave him a well earned Bronze Medal on the Yarra. That left Jaret Llewellyn CAN. He already has accumulated a staggering 20 Moomba Titles. As the huge Moomba crowd waited for his big one in the Finals, once again, they were not disappointed. The distance of 68.1m left no doubt. Jaret Llewellyn has had the perfect start – and the World Cup series now awaits him.
Well done to all our World Cup Stars who have set a cracking pace in Melbourne. This has now added an even greater sense of anticipation to the 2009 World Cup season ahead. Watch this space for details – coming soon.