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New Zealand’s best wakeboarders shine in Tairua!
Monday, February 27, 2006

Four current wakeboarding world titleholders were among the competitors at the Tairua Pipe Masters, held on February 11, 2006. The event saw riders being towed behind jet skis onto custom-built ramps, jumps and sliders positioned in shallow tidal water close to shore, giving spectators an unrivalled view of the riders and their range of tricks.

An invitational event, the Tairua Pipe Masters is an annual highlight on the New Zealand wakeboarding calendar and featured world champions Andrea Fountain and Jeff Weatherall, winners of the open women’s and open men’s divisions at the IWSF champs respectively.

New Zealand’s World Wakeboarding Federation (WWF) junior world champion, Brad Smeele, and veteran’s division world champion Gavin Broadbent were also in attendance, along with the 2004 Pipemasters champion, Hayden Macquire from Waiheke Island. Queenstown’s top wakeboarder Josh O’Connell was another highlight of the competition and a definite crowd favourite with an inimitably dynamic pipe (slider) style.

Competitors were initially divided into three groups of five, comprised of men and women, with each having two heats to demonstrate their proficiency. The 15 were then whittled down to two from each group, leaving six to duke it out in the final.

Beginning at 5pm, the six heats were followed by finals at twilight which saw Jeff Weatherall take first place, followed by an in-form Brad Smeele in second. Third went to the hugely popular veteran of previous Pipe Masters Ant Collins. Josh O’Connell put in a great early performance and, though he missed the finals, retained his popularity with the crowd.

This event is superbly catered to spectators, with panoramic views offered from Pepe reserve and the close proximity of riders allowing real insight into their sheer athleticism. 2007’s Pipe Masters will no doubt be eagerly awaited, so be sure to keep an eye on www.wake.co.nz and Wakeboarding New Zealand for updates. A little over five weeks away, however, is the most significant event in New Zealand wakeboarding...

Returning to Pairere at Lake Karapiro in Cambridge on Friday and Saturday April 7th to 8th, 2006, the New Zealand Wakeboarding National Championships is the biggest, most impressive wakeboarding event on the New Zealand calendar. With an array of world champions and challengers in attendance, this is an event that should not be missed and more information will be available via press releases over the coming weeks.