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Kiwi world wakeboarding champions to be honoured by Academy of Sport
Monday, March 27, 2006

In recognition of their stunning achievements over the past year, WWC World Wakeboarding Championships Jeff Weatherall and Andrea Fountain are to be honoured at the New Zealand Academy of Sport 2006 Gala Dinner, to be held in May.

Working with athletes in cooperation with the Hillary Commission, the New Zealand Olympic Committee, the corporate sector, national sports organisations and coaches, the Sports Foundation/Academy of Sport assists high performance Kiwis to succeed internationally and backed the ‘dynamic duo’ over the past year. Along with WWA gold medal winners Brad Smeele and Gavin Broadbent, the world-beating pair will be showcasing their talents at the upcoming Corona Wakeboard Nationals.

With 10 divisions to choose from over the two-day event, spectators will be spoilt for choice. Weatherall is the lead contender for Open Men’s division, with two-time Junior Men’s World Champion Brad Smeele taking aim at the title after placing second to Jeff in 2005. This Open Men’s title fight will doubtless be a highly anticipated clash.

Andrea Fountain heads into the Open Women’s class as favourite and, likewise, world-champion Gavin Broadbent will be aiming to take the Veterans (35 years and older) crown. The Junior Men’s (15-18 years) class will be the most hotly contested at this year’s Nationals, with young guns Darren Bishop, Ben Carter, Nigel Harding and Chris Dunn all in the running.

Further categories at the Corona Nationals include Masters (30-34 years), Men’s 1 and 2 (19-24 and 25-29 years respectively), Juniors (boys and girls aged 11-14) and Grommets (boys and girls aged 10 and under).

Limited to 12 contestants of all ages, both male and female, the ‘Wakeskate’ showcase event will be a raucous and exciting close the 2006 Nationals and involves a binding-less wakeboard with small fins. Edge control and timing on a wakeskate are much more difficult than on a traditional wakeboard, requiring boarders to ride ‘with’ rather than ‘on’ the board. Though the most basic tricks such as wake jumping are more complicated, skateboard-oriented tricks such as kick flips are commonplace, making this somewhat ‘underground’ discipline an exciting one to watch.

While the Corona New Zealand Wakeboard Nationals had been capped at 55 riders, registrations have already exceeded this number and are continuing to grow, making this event the biggest and most well-subscribed national competition in the sport’s history.

The Corona New Zealand Wakeboard Nationals at Pairere (at Lake Karapiro in Cambridge) on Saturday April 8th, 2006 – with preliminary heats on Friday – will have an array of champions and challengers in attendance and should not be missed...