As exotic water-sport event locations go, the world's largest floating stage in Marina Bay on the Equator in downtown Singapore is about as good as its gets. The city's famous Floating Platform can hold 9,000 people and is overlooked by a Grand Stand with additional seating for 30,000. In soaring 33C / 96Fh temperatures, the World Cup Wakeboard Riders from 14 countries thrilled the crowds in being the last major event of Waterfest Singapore 2008. Supported by Singapore Sports Council, Tote Board and Singapore Pools, this Wakeboard World Cup weekend also included F3000 Power Boat Races, Bossaball, Boat Rides, Photography Competition and a gigantic all-night Hip Hop Party with visiting DJ's from Japan, Manila, Malaysia, Hong Kong and China.
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Sanctioned by the International Water Ski Federation (IWSF) and organized by Singapore Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (SWWF), this was the 24th Stop of the Waterski and Wakeboard World Cup series.
The IWSF World Cup Wakeboard Riders who qualified this year set a high standard at the previous Stop in Egypt. The winners on that occasion surprised many as it was the very youngest Riders who caused a major upset by outscoring the seasoned Pro ( Raimi Merrit (USA) aged 15, took the top places. Both came to Singapore with high hopes.
There were many surprises and some disappointments in the World Cup Preliminary Rounds in Singapore. In Pro Women, Elke Venken (Belgium) and the popular local star Sasha Christian (SIN), also failed to make it to the Finals.
Following the success of the Wakeboard World Cup Stop in Egypt in August, once again the very best Wakeboard Riders continued the battle for the World Cup season honors and the Singapore prizes of over Sing$48,000. Those four Pro Women who made it to the Finals, included almost all of the World Cup season leaders.
As the Final's arrived, the afternoon heat did not deter the enthusiastic spectators. The official World Cup competition boat, the powerful MasterCraft X2, was fired up and the stage was set. Yet again, the two young winners from the Palm Hills Development World Cup Stop in Egypt, Raimi Merrit, made it through and proved her last victory was no fluke. In the Pro Women Finals, unfortunately for Denise DeHaan (NED), she sustained a knee injury and was forced to retire. Shelby Kantar (USA), with a thumb sprain, was also on the Podium in Egypt last month and her score of 44.91 was enough to keep her on the Podium again this time. The battle then was between that 15 year old sensation Raimi Merritt (USA) and the more experienced and number one Rider in the World, Dallas Friday (USA). In her effort, Merrit broke her Wakeboard on the 20m / 60ft Flat Bar Obstacle in Marina Bay. Quick thinking by her father Steve, a past Barefoot Waterski World Champion, got her a replacement just within the permitted time limit, much to the delight of the spectators. However, on this occasion, Friday was unbeatable with a perfect performance and a score of 65.0. This gave her the Singapore 2008 World Cup title. The youngster Merritt took third place behind Kantar and proved that she is well able for the best Pro Women in the world today.
The Waterski and Wakeboard World Cup Series now moves on to Putrajaya, Malaysia, November 7/9 and Doha Qatar, November 13/15. For full details see:
All Waterski and Wakeboard World Cup Stops are featured both as TV News Edits and 26 minute TV Shows for distribution to over 500 million viewers. Video clips are also rotated through the World Cup Web site Home Page at the URL above.
1 Dallas Friday (USA)
2 Shelby Kantar (USA)
3 Raimi Merrit (USA)
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images