Pine Mountain, GA (May 25, 2014) – Massive crowds lined the shore today as the 55th Masters Water Ski & Wakeboard Tournament® at Callaway Gardens concluded with four new Masters Champions including Women’s Trick champion Erika Lang, Men’s Trick champion Pierre Ballon, Men’s Slalom champion Thomas Degasperi, and Wakeskate champion Danny Hampson plus a new course record in Women’s Trick pulled by the Ski Nautique 200.
In Women’s events, Team Nautique and world record holder Erika Lang was the only top seed out of nine disciplines that claimed a Masters title. Lang tricked 9,530 points setting a new course record and defeated Natallia Berdnikava by ten points followed by Whitney McClintock. Defending Women’s Slalom champion, Regina Jaquess was no match for Team Nautique’s Whitney McClintock who edged Jaquess out by one buoy and tied the course record set by Jaquess the day before. McClintock who is a three time Masters champion in Trick scored her first Masters Slalom title followed by Jaquess and April Coble-Eller. Defending her Masters Jump title, Team Nautique’s Jacinta Carroll jumped 182 feet claiming her second title with Berdnikava and Jutta Lammi rounding out the podium.
In the Men’s disciplines, Pierre Ballon from France tricked 11,590 points earning his first Masters Trick title followed by Aliaksei Zharnasek and Jimmy Siemers, respectively. Thomas Degaspri earned his first Masters title running 3@41-off followed by Team Nautique athlete Jon Travers and Aaron Larkin. Defending Masters Champion Freddy Krueger was no match for Canadian Ryan Dodd who jumped 223 feet claiming the Masters Jump title.
In the slalom head-to-head competition, Big Dawg World Tour Champion Jeremy Newby-Ricci was no match for Jay Leach who ran 6@38-off winning the first Masters Big Dawg Final Four head-to-head competition on Robin Lake.
Congratulations to Junior Masters slalom competitor Samantha Dumala who competed in the O’Brien head-to-head exhibition against Geneva Roach, earning a scholarship.
In the Wakeskate finals, Danny Hampson was second off the dock and came out on top with his first Masters win with a score of 86 points landing a Wake-to-Wake Bigger Spin and linking a technical run edging out Canadian James Balzer followed by Brian Grubb and Brandon Thomas respectively.
Returning to the top of the podium in Women’s Wakeboarding is Australia’s Amber Wing who put down a great run and finished off her pass with an Indy Tantrum to Blind followed by Dallas Friday who had two stand-up passes edging out Rebecca Gange who rode clean and landed a Crow Mobe but it wasn’t enough to beat out Friday.
There could not have been a better setup for the top four riders in the world. Dean Smith was first off the dock riding up to his perspective but then had a few unclean tricks which left the door open. Harley Clifford, riding like his typical self, amazed the crowd with his Double Indy Tantrum scoring a 94.00. Rusty Malinoski trying to defend his title went big but fell in his second pass and topped off his double up with the first ever Swtich Toeside Frontside 1080 in a Masters Tournament but it wasn’t enough to take down Phil Soven. Soven had two stand up passes, and then threw down a Switch Nose Crow Mobe 7 for his double up claiming another coveted Masters championship.
For complete up-to-date scores of the 55th Masters, please visit masterswaterski.com.
An invitation to compete in the Masters is universally considered an acknowledgement of achievement for reaching the pinnacle in a given watersports discipline – only the world’s most elite athletes compete at the Masters. This tournament is IWWF/USA Water Ski and WWA sanctioned.