A lot has changed since the USA successfully captured the title of Wakeboard Team World Champions in Milan, Italy, in 2011. Australia, the previous title holders, are back in force with Italy and France close behind.
The battle for Wakeboard World titles in the City of Busan in the beautiful setting of south east Korea this coming weekend, will be a fascinating one. Worldwide fans of the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) will be watching these World Championships very closely as there are many new contenders for medals! With over 160 top Riders competing at the magnificent Hwamyung Eco Park from August 28th to September 1st, there may well be some real surprises in the Republic of Korea this week.
The IWWF Wakeboard World Championships were inaugurated in 2000 in France. Subsequent hosts included the Republic of South Africa, Brazil, Australia, Spain, Russia, Qatar, the Republic of South Korea and Italy. Korea is the first country to host the World Championships for a second time.
In the battle for the Team title, while the USA has the Women’s World Champion Raimi Merritt on board, Australia has Men’s World Champion Harley Clifford in their team. This gives both an enormous advantage.
Florida-based Raimi Merritt has competed since the age of eleven and has been a dominant force in the IWWF World Cup Series. Now at just 20 years of age, since making her professional debut in 2007, she is a six-time World Cup Champion and a Female Pro Rider of the Year. Her Team USA Riders will also include past World Champion and newly-crowned World Games Champion Andrew Adkison, Sports Illustrated "Sports Kid of the Year" Noah Flegel, and the on-form Rider Austin Hair, together with the very experienced Jeff Barton. This is a very impressive USA lineup.
However, Australia also has a very strong group of Riders. It is hard to believe that their Harley Clifford is just 19 years of age. Born in Queensland, his titles already include IWWF World Champion, IWWF World Cup Champion, King of Wake, Pro Tour Overall Champion, Wakestock Champion, Wake Games Champion and many others. Included in Team Australia will also be the other major international stars Tony Iacconi, Brad Teunssen, Bec Gannge and Amber Wing. All have been regular Podium winners this season and present a very strong combination of Wakeboard talent. With 30 Countries scheduled to compete in Busan this week, both Team USA and Team Australia know they will not have it all their own way. This could well be the year for some big World Championships surprises!
MasterCraft will provide the official Wakeboard World Championships competition boats and the required technical support. The Chief Judge, Jung Sanghan (KOR), will be supported by IWWF Officials from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Portugal and USA.
The IWWF World Wakeboard Championships Timetable is as follows :
August 31st – Saturday
- 09.00 – Junior Men Quarter-finals
- 10.15 – Open Men Quarter-finals
- 13.00 – Open Women Semi-finals
- 14.00 – Boys Semi-finals
- 15.00 – Masters Men Semi-finals
- 15.40 – Junior Men Semi-finals
September 1st – Sunday
- 09.00 – Open Men Semi-finals
- 11.00 – Girls Finals
- 11.30 – Boys Finals
- 12.00 – Junior Women Finals
- 12.30 – Junior Men Finals
- 13.30 – Master Men Finals
- 14.00 – Veteran Men Finals
- 14.20 – Open Women Finals
- 15.00 – Open Men Finals
- 16.00 – World Championships Awards Ceremony
- 19.00 – World Championships Team Awards Presentation