By Juan Escandor Jr.
PILI, Camarines Sur---Sanctioned by World Wakeboard Association (WWA), the international body regulating wakeboard events, the Wake Park World Championships held at the CamSur Watersports Complex (CWC) from Sept. 29-Oct 1 has drawn participants from 21 countries and saw two Filipino riders win top prizes.
Among the 200 participants where four of them are Filipinos, JP Canuto from Naga City won the first prize in the Amateur Wake Skate category while Stephen Vano III from Manila clinched the first prize in Men’s 19-29 category.
“It is very tough competing with other nationalities but it’s worth it,” 26-year-old Canuto, who works as head operator of the CWC, told the Bicol Mail. He said he has been riding the wakeboard for eight years now.
Vano, 26, who had been into wakeboarding for three years, said the competition was very stressful because there were lots of participants from other countries to compete with.
“It made me challenge myself to excel in this sport,” he said.
The other two Filipino riders Marvin Tuco won third prize in Master’s category (30-39) and 15-year-old Raph Martin placed third in the semi-finals in Men’s Professional category.
Corrie Wilson, WWA executive director, said the riders were scored on the variety, difficulty and risks the wakeboard rider is undertaking and the features on the water.
Wilson said the WWA, organized 28 years ago to set standards in wakeboarding events, selected CWC for this year’s international event because “it is one of the best wake parks in the entire world in addition to great facilities and culture.”
The countries represented in the world wakeboarding event include Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Italy and Japan.
Aside from the Philippines, riders from Kuwait, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, Ukraine, United States of America and United Kingdom also participated.
Camarines Sur Gov. Migz Villafuerte said the hosting of the world wakeboarding event in CWC is part of the initiative of the provincial government to promote the province’s brand as an adventure-sports destination.
Villafuerte said the event boosts the provincial government’s tourist enterprise that include the Caramoan tourist facilities which brings in some P100M a year to the provincial coffers.
He said the event here has 21 categories and a total of $50,000 were given away to the winners.
On Sunday, the children riders stole the show with their flips and turns executed like the way the adult professional riders did.
Children riders from Ukraine dominated the Jr. Boys and Girls categories with Danylo Kleshchar and Oleksandra Samoilenko, respectively.
Other top winners include Andrew Pastura, USA, Professional Wake Skate; Robin Leonard Jessen, Denmark, Master’s (30-39); Dale Cartwright, USA, Veterans (40 and over); Loic Deschaux, France, Boy’s (10-13); Connor Lawton, Australia, Jr. Men; and Julia Rick, Germany, Women’s Professional.
Guenther Oka, USA, Men’s Professional and Pro Men’s Features; Stefan Hahn, Australia, Men’s Feature 15-19; Melanie Staaf, Sweden, Open Women Features; Jaden Scures, USA, Jr. Features; and Anna Nikstad, USA, Pro Women’s Feature; all won the top prize in their respective categories.
Jessen, 31, who bested the riders in Master’s (30-39) said: “I love it here, great place, great country. Everything is good here---the food, the people, the smiles. I love it.”