IWWF World Wakeboard Championships Titles Awarded in Chuncheon City Korea
Monday 1st September 2009
By all reports over this past week, the
2009 Wakeboard World
Championships of the International
Waterski & Wakeboard Federation
(IWWF) in Chuncheon City in South
Korea were one of the most
successful and enjoyable to date. The
combination of the very picturesque
Lake Uiam site, first class organization
by the Korea Waterski and
Wakeboard Association, sponsorship
by MasterCraft, and outstanding
performances by the athletes, set the
standards for many future events to
come. Some Riders from 25 countries
are returning home with medals but
all are returning home with many
While most of the Riders from the
competing nations had high
expectations, the final gold medals
were dominated by four of the 25
Given that there
are an estimated 100,000 active
Riders in Korea, it was very
encouraging to see the host country also make it to the podium. While the weather and
water conditions were excellent for most of the World Wakeboard Championships on
Lake Uiam, the last days saw some unexpected and challenging wind and rain create a
major test for the top athletes. This added to the drama of the closing stages.
Korea's most famous actress and also a Wakeboard enthusiast, Song,ji-hyo, made a
guest appearance during the event.
Both the Open Men and Womens' Wakeboard Finals were loaded with surprises.
In the Mens' Open event, the 2009 Mediterranean Games Wakeboard Champion,
Giuliano Molli ITA, was just beaten into fourth place by Wakeboard instructor Austin
Hair USA, who also has over five years of Pro Tour experience. Twenty two year-old
Brad Smeele NZL, a past Wakestock winner and one of the few who is capable of
landing a 1080, took the silver medal. The prestigious title of IWWF World Wakeboard
Champion however was won by the 2009 Pan Am champion, 24 year-old Adam Fields,
from the USA. His score was significantly ahead of the competition and in testing
weather conditions, this was an outstanding achievement. With his 12 years of coaching
experience, including the position of head coach at Rollins College in Florida, it was a
landmark career achievement for this experienced athlete.
In the Womens' Open event, three Riders outperformed the field by some distance.
China's Chen LiLi is a very consistent podium medalist and she took the World
Championships bronze medal in style this time. Her World Cup experience and in
particular her World Cup triumph in Singapore, got her to within three points of the
silver medal. Canada's 24 year-old Ashley Leugner had a goal in Korea and that was to
reach the Finals. Last time around, she came seventh. This time the talented Saskatoon
Rider achieved her dream in style by taking the silver medal. Following an injury in
2008, till this point in her career Raequel Hoffman USA was seen as a rising star. Her
earlier win at the 2009 Pan American Championships hinted at greatness ahead. As only
the second female Rider to ever land a 720, her achievements now include the title of
IWWF Wakeboard World Champion. In fact, her score was so far ahead of the
competition, this 20 year-old Californian, known to her friends as Rae, is now an
international Wakeboard star.
The other World Wakeboard Finals included the categories of Boys and Girls, Junior
Women and Men, and Masters Men.
It was in the Boys Finals that Korea's In Sang Jung won a silver medal. He is certainly a
Rider to watch for the future. Australia's 14 year-old Queenslander Bradley Teunissen
took that gold medal. In the Girls Finals, Italy took both the gold and silver medals. It
was the 12 year-old Cable Wakeboard specialist Giorgia Gregorio who captured that
gold medal ahead of her fellow Italian Rider Sara Di Lelio.
In the Junior Women Finals,
Holland Finley USA, took the gold medal ahead of Sweden's Caroline Djupsjo and
Australia's Caitlin Blauuw. Ireland's Rider David O'Caoimh was unlucky to miss a podium
place by just five points in the Junior Mens' Finals. The gold medal went to Japan's
Shota Tezuka. He starred in the recent Yokohama Wake Lab which attracted 40,000
spectators to the City's 150th anniversary. Both the silver and bronze medals went to
Australia's Ryleigh Pfitzner and Jacob Hore. The Masters Mens Finals saw another
success for Australia with Luke Matson taking that gold medal ahead of Duncan Zuur
NED and Daniel Duquesnoy FRA.
In the Overall Team scores, it was Australia which came out on top at these
Championships, ahead of USA and Italy.
This prestigious biennial Wakeboard World Championships event, organised on this
occasion by the Korea Waterski & Wakeboard Association, is the 8th Wakeboard World
Championships to be sanctioned by the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation
(IWWF). It is also part of the 2009 International Leisure Games which includes 12
sports and 1,400 athletes, leading up to the 1st World Leisure Congress which will be
held in 2010.
Chuncheon City in South Korea is also known as the City of Festivals. There was
certainly a festive atmosphere throughout the 2009 IWWF Wakeboard World
Championships and all were full of praise for the first class organization of all aspects of
this major event by the Korea Waterski and Wakeboard Association.
Results are available at : http://www.iwsf.com