SOVEN & MAJOR TAKE WORLD CUP TITLES IN STYLE AT ENGHIENS-LES-BAINS
Monday, 19 June 2006
This was the second Stop of the 2006 Waterski & Wakeboard World
Cup series organized by the International Waterski Federation. Seven
Stops around the world are involved with a total cash prize fund
of US$780,000. This was a Wakeboard Stop.
In 29C sunshine beneath the Casino Barriere, the World Cup Qualifying
Heats got off to a perfect start. The 15,000 spectators on site
for the opening day on Saturday enjoyed the calm conditions. Enghiens-les-Bains’
thermal lake produced some high class performances. Athletes totaled
29 from 12 countries.
In the Ladies event, Meagan Major (USA) pulled off a Tantrum to
Blind maneuver, rarely seen in competition, to secure her place
in Sunday’s final four. Others to succeed in getting through
were the 2005 World Champion Andrea Fountain (NZL), Sunni Ann Ball
(CAN) and Emily Copeland (USA).
In the Mens Heats, Danny Harf (USA) looked to be in predictable
winning form as he lined up to meet Brett Eisenhaur (AUS) in the
Head-to-Head Finals. The others to make it into the final eight
were Phillip Soven and Chad Sharp (CAN), Rusty Malinoski (CAN) and
Morgan Krause (RSA), plus Andrew Adkison (USA) and Jeff Weatherall
(NZL). One of the largest Fireworks displays seen for many years
, visible from the Eiffel Tower, and a Jazz festival on Saturday
night, added greatly to the party atmosphere.
The Sunday Finals again had great conditions in 30C sunshine and
perfect calm water. The very enthusiastic spectators poured in throughout
the day and eventually exceeded 22,000, one of the largest seen
at this Stop so far. With four Pro Women Finalists, Meaghan Major
(USA) had a confidence edge from her outstanding Saturday performance.
In the Finals her overall performance was the cleanest of all, guaranteeing
her this World Cup Stop title. World Champion Andrea Fountain (NZL)
continued her run of success with the silver medal position. Many
were surprised to see Canada’s Sunni Anne Ball beat the USA
super star Emily Copeland Durham for third place.
The Mens Finals were a Head-to-Head battle between the top 8 Riders.The
USA, Canada, Republic of South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia
all made it this far. Here we had both spectacular performances
and major surprises. Hot favourite Danny Harf (USA), performed a
perfect 540 degree Moby Dick maneuver but this was not enough to
get into the last two head-to-head places. Reigning World Champion,
Jeff Weatherall (NZL) did succeed by beating Andrew Adkison (USA)
and his final battle for the World Cup title was with the young
sensation Phillip Soven (USA) who had just beaten Chad Sharpe (CAN).
Soven had a disaster in Qatar a few weeks ago and had a point to
prove. He also fractured his wrist in the meantime. Against all
odds, he wowed the cheering crowds with a stunning performance to
take this well deserved World Cup Stop title, pushing Weatherall
into second place. Danny Harf (USA), the World Cup Qatar Stop champion
had to be content with third place today.
As the red sun set over Enghiens-les-Bains, the MasterCraft boat
pulled the French World Shortboard Record holder, Nicolas LeForestier,
into the arena for a magnificent display of his skills – and
the last cheer of the day. The Federation Francaise de Ski Nautique
were highly encouraged by the record attendances as was the City
Mayor, Phillippe Sueur.
WAKEBOARD WINNERS – Pro Women
1. Meaghan Major (USA)
2. Andrea Fountain (NZL)
3. Sunni Anne Ball (CAN)
4. Emily Copeland Durham (USA)
WAKEBOARD WINNERS – Pro Men
1. Phillip Soven (USA)
2. Jeff Weatherall (NZL)
3. Danny Harf (USA)
4. Andrew Adkison (USA)
The next Stop of the Waterski & Wakeboard World Cup series
will take place at the Foban Emin Water Ski Club in Beijing, China,
on June 24/25.