This 31st World Cup Stop of the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) was impressive by any standards. By combining efforts with the historic Sarawak Regatta in Kuching City which dates back to 1872, it attracted the largest audience ever seen in this successful World Cup Series. The Regatta involved a record 6,700 Paddlers and 345 boat teams. The event also included the Stars of Florida Waterski Show Team.
With the support of Sarawak State Government represented by the Ministry of Tourism and Heritage, it was sponsored by World of Watches, Revive Isotonic Drinks, Riverside Majestic Hotel, MasterCraft, International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) and the Malaysian Waterski & Wakeboard Federation.
Only the top 30 IWWF Men and Women Wakeboard Riders were invited to this US$95,000 cash prize competition. This included both current World Wakeboard Champions. It differed from other World Cups Stops by ensuring that those who performed best at the IWWF World Wakeboard Championships in Italy recently were included. As always, MasterCraft provided the competition boats and technical support.
RTM provided the live TV coverage. The IWWF produced a Webcast which received many messages of congratulations from around the World. Already, the coverage has been archived and is available free by signing up at :
Following two days of qualifying Rounds, the Men’s and Women’s Wakeboard Finals took place in glorious sunshine for the first time at Sarawak’s Kuching City Waterfront, directly opposite the spectacular riverside Parliament building.
Of the six Women Finalists, Sasha Christian (SIN) set the pace with an opening score of 48.90. Caroline Djupso (SWE) quickly responded with 59.78 points. Japan’s 24 year-old Miku Asai surprised many with an even better performance of 65.22. This was certainly a possible winning score with just three athletes remaining. Belgium’s Elke Venken then failed to cope with the busy water conditions. Her 46.99 points removed her from serious contention. Having taken the Silver Medal at the 2011 World Championships in Italy recently, Australian Amber Wing was second last off the dock . None were surprised that she outperformed all at this point with a very impressive 67.23 score. Last out was the 18 year-old recently crowned 2011 World Champion, Raimi Merrit USA. She already has many World Cup titles to her credit, including Qatar, China and Egypt. As one of the most physically strong Wakeboard Riders today, her power was a distinct advantage. While it may not have been her usually perfect performance, she did succeed in scoring 68.79 to take the 2011 Sarawak Women’s Wakeboard World Cup title in style plus the cash prize of US$8,000.
As the Men’s Final arrived, the temperature had risen to 34C and the crowds were enormous. To add to the excitement, the six Wakeboard Riders who made it through to this last stage combined three very young rising stars and three experienced international Pros. The experienced Sam Carne GBR opened up with a respectable but not outstanding score of 64.57. Eighteen-year old Daniel Powers USA responded. As the current IWWF World Junior Champion, his 77.2 points received an ovation. The young guns had arrived. Then the experienced 29 year-old past World Champion, Andrew Adkison USA, rose to the occasion with a massive 87.90 performance to take the lead. The pressure was truly on. Back to the youngsters. New-comer Steel Lafferty USA (19) really impressed all this weekend but fell slightly short of Adkison with 79.78. All that remained were the experienced Dan Nott GBR and the young 18 year-old Harley Clifford AUS. To the amazement of all, Dan Nott had a terrible day in spite of his four European Champion titles. His score of 45.57 was a disaster for him. Australia’s Harley Clifford is already a sensation. As he finally landed his Heel-side 720, the huge applause from the packed Kuching City Waterfront crowd said it all. The Australian youngster’s score of 92.67 showed once again that he is truly in a league of his own right now. He has now added the 2011 Sarawak Wakeboard World Cup Champion title to his enormous list of achievements to date and US$15,000 to his winnings.
This was quite an extraordinary IWWF World Cup Stop. The enormous support provided by Sarawak State Government represented by the Ministry of Tourism and Heritage, ensured that all the facilities were truly first class. Outdoor Jumbo Screens, massive Sound System, great Starting Docks, on-site Secretarial facilities, plus Security, Seating and a huge range of merchandising stalls and restaurants, created a real World Cup Village atmosphere. The event also broke all World Cup records in the volume of Newspaper coverage received over the weekend with some impressive Stars of Florida and Wakeboard photos. Today it was reported that the impact of combing a watersport event with the historic Sarawak Regatta has encouraged all to build on this concept for the future to boost tourism and the local economy. Kuching is certainly a city worth entering on anybody’s vacation list !
WAKEBOARD WORLD CUP WINNERS – Women
1. Raimi Merrit (USA)
2. Amber Wing (AUS)
3. Miku Asai (JPN)
WAKEBOARD WORLD CUP WINNERS – Men
1. Harley Clifford (AUS)
2. Andrew Adkison (USA)
3. Steel Lafferty (USA)