This week kicks off one of the most important Wakeboard World Series (WBWS) events of the season with the 2017 Nautique WWA Wakeboard National Championships presented by Rockstar Energy. As our top six riders battle for supremacy in an incredibly close title race, this event could be one full of spoilers. Attracting nearly every pro rider in the world, a legend in the mix that competes at select events has the ability to cause a season catastrophe for the current top six. At a time of incredible progression in wakeboarding, riders have to make assessments in every heat leading to the final where there is now no place for playing it safe.
At the last WBWS stop in Knoxville, Raph Derome took 6th ranked rider Shota Tezuka out in the semifinal round causing him to lose the opportunity to gain valuable ground at a crucial moment. Currently ranked 5th, Nautique athlete Mike Dowdy has all of the tools to take the crown, but cannot falter in the last four events of the series. Knowing what he is capable of, the pressure remains on Dowdy to perform to his full potential where many believe he cannot be beaten. With consistency and sheer determination on his side, 4th ranked Team Nautique rider Noah Flegel fits the dark horse role perfectly. Sitting just thirty points behind the leader and showing that he’s always in the fight, many have Flegel picked for glory.
Currently in 3rd on the rankings, Harley Clifford is on the quest to retake his throne, receiving more opposition than he has ever experienced. Showing moments of greatness, he hasn’t created the gap of security we’re used to seeing at this point in the season and has a lot of work ahead. While most bets are still on Harley, we’ve seen him challenged like never before and the competition isn’t getting any easier. This could be and must be his defining moment for 2017.
Sitting in second, Cory Teunissen is just five points out of the lead. The only rider consistently throwing a 1080 in his run so far, he has the ability to pull from behind when a heat seems like all bets are off. The time is now for Teunissen, who has been just shy of a podium finish in every WBWS event since his big win at the Nautique Moomba Masters.
Freshly in first, Nic Rapa is FOCUSED. A mental strategy no one saw coming puts him in the yellow jersey for the first time in his young career this weekend and he doesn’t plan on losing it. At WBWS stop four, Rapa unleashed an insane run with a new double no one knew he had in his arsenal. With only thirty points separating the top four, he has his work cut out for him to stay on top and we have a feeling he can’t wait to get to it.
The stage is set for a showdown in Acworth, GA this weekend at the 2017 Nautique WWA Wakeboard National Championships with a show in store that you can’t miss. Stay tuned all week long for updates from the action. Follow @thewwa on Twitter for up-to-date scores and on Instagram for updates each day. Be sure to catch the WWA World Series Rundown show Saturday and Sunday evening directly following the event on the World Wake Association’s Facebook pageand YouTube channel.