Across the country riders are training and competing at ten different parks in preparation for the National Points Championship held at McCormick’s in Tampa, Florida September 9, 10 & 11. Ten different parks will qualify riders in seven different divisions to compete both as individuals and for the team title.
The 2011 championship expects to be a much closer race than last year in the inaugural season. In 2010 Texas Ski Ranch dominated at their home park. This year the four Florida teams will not have to travel across the country and will also be better prepared for the event. Obviously, there is a home course advantage as riders are familiar with the layout of sliders and kickers. At McCormick’s, the advantage becomes even greater because they are one of only two cables in the country that rotates clockwise. Riders generally prefer to do air tricks to the outside of the cable, which is the opposite when the cable runs in the opposite direction. McCormick’s was able to overcome this disadvantage last year to finish second in the team scores. 2011 Will turn the tables and give the advantage to not only Team McCormick’s, but all four Florida parks.
The Championship event will consist of eight different divisions, five of which will be included in team scoring. Pro, Advanced, Intermediate and Beginner Wakeboard along with Open wakeskate will count towards the team scores. Amateur Wakeskate and Wakeski will be exhibition events in which competitors are vying for individual titles only. The final event will be a structure-only event that will include teams of wakeboarders and wakeskaters from not only full size parks, but also two tower parks. This will be a separate event that teams will be picked by their parks and will not have to qualify as they do for the traditional divisions.
By aligning the dates with Surf Expo in Orlando, tournament director Blake Hess expects a much larger turn out than the 100+ riders last year. Surf Expo ends on Saturday, so many of the attendees are expected to make the short drive (35min) down I-4 to McCormick’s for the Finals on Sunday.
The 2010 final event was the largest cable wakeboard event to date in the United States. In week five of qualifying TSR broke their record with 93 riders competing on a Thursday night event from 5pm till dark. Other parks, such as OWC, McCormick’s, Ski Rixen and Revolution (all Florida teams) have seen increased numbers in their five weekly qualifying events. If the turnout from the local qualifying events is an accurate indication, the 2011 championship entries should shatter last year’s record and could get close to 200.
Riders like WWA World Champion Tom Fooshee got his start at the TSR Thursday Night Showdowns. Tom continues to compete, announce and j udge at as many of the local events as possible. Tom hopes to attend enough events this year to qualify for the TSR team. Last year, Tom was only able to attend three of the five events and ended up fourth in the overall standings, which qualified him as an individual, but, unfortunately, the best rider in the world could not contribute to team scores. A similar situation took place with wakeskater Bret Little. This year the two TSR icons are on track to compete with the team! TSR will have to bring all of their top riders to hold off the highly competitive Florida parks.
Qualifying: Best of 2 Turns – No Wildcard
Last Chance Qualifier: One Turn No Wildcard
Semi Finals: Best of 2 turns and a wildcard
Finals: Best of 2 turns and a wildcard