I am not really sure what year Women came on the US Pro Tour, what I do know is for the past 11 years that I have been competing on tour, that Women have always been at 2-5 stops of the US Pro Tour. To wake up Friday morning to an email stating that the US Pro Tour this year will only consist of Pro Men was quite the shock. Not 1 female rider that I know of had any idea this was going to happen.
Personally I am very worried about the professional side of women’s wakeboarding. Not only are less girls getting paid, the current women at the top of the sport are being paid less and now we have no Pro Tour. The future of Professional Women’s Wakeboarding is looking grim.
This summer in Australia I have seen more girls than ever buying wakeboards and riding out on the river, it has been amazing. Parents calling me up asking what their girls need to do to follow in my foot steps and become Professional in their sport. Right now I really don’t know what to tell them apart from stay in school and get an education. I don’t know what the future holds for Women’s Wakeboarding and thats a scary thought.
As I have always done through out my career I am going to continue to push the limits of my riding personally, travel around keeping girls amped on wakeboarding and teaching new ladies to ride. Hopefully work out a way, looking outside the box to create a Women’s Pro Wakeboard event with Melissa Marquardt, as that has been her dream for many years.
We will continue to fight for the sport we love.
From the Pro Tour…
MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour to Focus Exclusively on Men’s Pro Division in 2014
Orlando, FL. — The MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour, the largest and most storied professional wakeboarding circuit in the world, has redesigned its format for the 2014 season and will feature only the Pro Men’s division at all four events. With an exclusive focus on the sport’s premier division, along with a restructured contest heat advancement system and athlete qualifying standards, the MasterCraft Pro Tour has laid the groundwork to produce the most competitive and entertaining wakeboard events on the planet.
Additionally, athlete eligibility for the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour has been adjusted to ensure a dynamic and competitive field of riders at each event. The 2014 Tour will feature a collection of the world’s top ranked Pro Men wakeboarders, intriguing wildcards entries and several up-and-coming athletes from the Junior Pro Series going head-to-head at four of the country’s most proven contest venues.
“During the offseason we met with some of the most respected minds and most talented athletes in wakeboarding to develop a strategy that ensures world-class competition and progression are paramount on the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour,” said Chris Bischoff, Pro Tour competition director. “The format changes achieve these objectives and will also bring exciting new storylines from contest to contest.”
Contest structure on the Pro Tour will remain a heat-to-heat qualifying system with riders seeding determined by their ranking. However, new rules will reward riders who win heats one and three allowing them to bypass the next round. Riders who do not win in heats one and three will not be automatically eliminated. They will be placed in rounds two and four and have a second chance to advance in those heats.
Last year’s wakeboard world champion, Rusty Malinoski has been vocal in his support of the new Pro Tour format. The “Bone Crusher” recently stated, “Wakeboarding has seen a ton of progression over the past few years. I think the new format tweaks will help our sport showcase the best riders at the biggest contests and give the fans the most bang for their buck.”