With international stars like Harley Clifford, Andrew Adkison, Nick Jones, Amber Wing and Raimi Merrit all competing at the recent 2011 World Wakeboard Championships in Italy, the SA Team found the competition tough going. However, considering our lack of international experience our team showed real heart on the water, and proudly represented their country. Leisure Boating brings you a full report…
The South African Wakeboard Association (SAWBA) has not fielded a team to compete internationally since the EAME Championship in Tremolat, France. Due to lack of funding, the SA Team also missed out on the European Champs in Portugal (2008) as well as the European and African Wakeboard Championship in Sweden (2010).
However, thanks to Lotto South Africa, the SA Team was able to attend the 2011 IWWF World Wakeboard Championships in Milan, Italy. Team SA haven’t competed internationally for quite some time, and the riders were surprised at the high standards of riding displayed at the Worlds.
The SA team consisted of: Tich Mitchell (team manager), Jono Joseph (team captain), Darryn Ridgway and Justin Selby (Masters), Deidre van Niekerk and Gina Faccio (Open Ladies), Morgan Krause, Clayton Krause, Shaun Faccio and Shaun Meredith (Open Men), Dylan Mitchell and Ryan Durham (Junior Men).
Team captain and rider Jono Joseph must be applauded for his role as mentor in the team set-up. He spent most of his time on the dock, handing his team-mates the tow line, giving sound technical advice, while helping settle nerves.
Shaun Meredith accompanied the team to gain some valuable knowledge of event management of this magnitude, as SAWBA has put in a bid to host the 2012 European and African Championship on the Vaal River in February. Word is that Shaun will be acting as the event manager for the EAMEs.
This year’s World Champs was the biggest event to date with 253 riders from 36 countries. The SA Team arrived a couple days earlier (9th July) to get familiar with conditions. The team also had to get acquainted with local conditions, the transport to and from the site at the picturesque Idroscalo area, near Milan.