Malibu Open in Michigan
PONTIAC LAKE, MI. – July 20, 2008 – The Malibu Open Pro Wakeboard Championships, stop #2 of the World Wakeboard Associations World Series, took place August 18th and 19th at Pontiac Lake, Michigan just North of Detroit. The field was stacked with some of the top men and women riders in the world, all vying for a piece of the $40,000 purse.
In the men’s quarter finals, fifteen riders were split into four heats with the top two advancing to the semis. In heat #1, it was former World Champion Andrew Adkison and Canadian shredder Aaron Rathy who would move on. Heat #2 saw Rusty Malinoski in the top spot followed by Trevor Hansen. JD Webb and Jeff Weatherall made the cut in heat #3 and 2008 King of Wake Champion Phillip Soven advanced along with his Malibu Teammate, Chad Sharpe to set the stage for some action packed semi-final and final runs on day two. Highlights of the quarter final round included perfect scores from both Malinoski and Soven who have spent the last couple of years going head-to-head in almost every major final round. Another rider who made an impact was little known Padiwat “Da Bomb” Jaemjan who traveled from Thailand to compete. He never made it to day two, but he had the crowd and the competitors on their feet with some explosive airs and exciting style.
On day two of the Malibu Open, the eight riders who made the semi’s where split into two heats with the top two advancing to the finals and their share of the impressive purse. Round #1 featured Weatherall, Webb, Adkison and Sharpe. Everyone killed it, but it was Malibu pro Jeff Weatherall and team Hyperlites JD Webb who would move on to the finals. In Round #2 of the semi-finals, the judges were put to the test as Aaron Rathy, Phillip Soven, Trevor Hanson and Rusty “the Bone Crusher” Malinoski got ready for battle. Rathy rode like a man possessed on day one and he didn’t let up on Saturday taking the top spot in his semi-final round with a score of 97.40 out of a possible 100. Phillip Soven also rose to the occasion narrowly edging out Malinoski for the final spot in the Championship finals.
In the most intense pro men’s finals of the year, Phillip Soven continued his domination of the sport taking the win and a check for $12,000. JD Webb joined him on the podium taking 2nd Place and received $7500 for his efforts and New Zealand’s, Jeff Weatherall rounded out the top three and took home a cool $4500. Despite riding well all weekend, Rathy (who had a wake-to-wake backside 720 and toeside 900 in his run) fell a couple of times on his finals run and had to settle for the fourth place spot.
On the pro women’s side, only three riders made the trip to Detroit, but they were three of the best. 2008 Pro Tour Champion Nicola Butler would try and keep her streak alive but she would have to take down the most decorated female rider in wakeboarding, Dallas Friday. Laura Lohrmann was also on hand to play the role of the spoiler.
In the semi-finals, Friday proved to be the class of the field taking the top seed into Saturday’s finals. Butler rode well, but tweaked her knee at the end of her semi run and was questionable to return for the finals which opened the door for Lohrmann to move up. Nicola did make it back for Saturday’s finals and rode well enough to hang on to second place, but it was Dallas Friday who would take the top podium spot and a check for $6000. Laura Lohrmann rounded out the pro women’s field.
Despite some sketchy weather throughout the weekend, Pontiac Lake was an amazing setting for this premiere WWA World Series event and the riders and spectators were treated some great water conditions and outstanding action. The “Noise of the North”, Dano the Mano, called the action from the tower and Jeff Barton handled the television commentary along with Cindy Gibb. Following the wakeboard finals, athletes, sponsors and Club Malibu members were treated to a luau themed party – complete with roasted pig – in the Malibu VIP tent. The dinner was hosted by Joe Wolf from local Malibu Dealer, Skiers Pier
. In addition to the wakeboard championships, the 10th Annual Malibu Open featured pro men’s and women’s slalom and pro men’s jump competitions. Malibu Boats put up a total purse of $120,000. The event will be televised nationally on Fox Sports Network. This event was a partnership with the Oakland County Community Clubs Race for Charity who has hosted the Quake on the Lake Hydroplane Boat Races for the past eight years. When spectators were not watching athletes competing behind the boat, they were treated to some exciting hydroplane boat racing action. All proceeds from the event went to support the Rainbow Connection, a Michigan based charity for terminally ill children.