Moomba Masters rap up


New records set at Melbourne’s 50th Anniversary Moomba Masters despite massive storms threatening cancellation

Moomba Masters rap up
Moomba Masters rap up

Severe thunderstorms and brutal hail threatened to wipe out the recent 50th Anniversary Moomba Masters in Melbourne.

However, despite the constant rain and a swollen Yarra river, the organisers said the event produced one of the most action-packed, dramatic watersports tournaments in its 50-year history.

RAIN, HAIL OR SHINE

The event kicked off with the men’s jump semi final, rescheduled from the previous day due to the weather. For many of the top jumpers, it was to be a full day, as the semi finals, finals and night jump were all held in 12 hours.

Freddy Krueger set the pace with the biggest jump in Moomba Masters history — 69.3m (227ft) for a new course record. The new Nautique 200 towboat proved a hit with all of the competitors, according to the organisers, and many personal bests were said to have been recorded in all three events.

With the two previous night jump heats cancelled, an agreement was reached between skiers and officials that the top six from the men’s jump semi final would proceed to the night jump final.

Those top six included 17-year-old Aussie Tim Bradstreet, who continued to show remarkable improvement throughout the event, ranked fifth in the semi final with a new personal best of 61.1m. His jump was on the 5ft6in ramp, while the other competitors used the 6ft ramp.

Women’s slalom was the first final, held in soupy and rolly conditions. Aussie Cathryn Humphrey was first off the dock, setting a usually attainable mark of 2@12m (two buoys w/ 12m rope). She then watched from the dock as her competitors tumbled in the tough conditions, and was surprised to find herself the 2010 women’s slalom champion. Compatriot Karina Nowlan was second, with former Moomba Champion Karen Truelove from the USA in third.

Next up was the men’s tricks final. First off the dock was World Overall Champion, Javier Julio from Argentina, who almost missed a place in the final but came out firing with a 9590 point run. This was the mark to beat right up until the final run, when Moomba debutant Adam Sedlmajer from the Czech Republic nailed a flawless run under pressure to win the title with 9980 points. Russell Gay from the USA took third with 9160.

Wakeboarding was the next event on the water. Fans were treated to big tricks and big crashes in equal parts, with young Queenslander Jarrod Askew emerging victorious as he narrowly beat New Zealand veteran Jeff Weatherall. American Tom Fooshee came in third.

The Women’s Tricks final was possibly the only event that followed the script, with world record holder Natallia Berdnikava from Belarus winning all three rounds on the way to gold, but not without a fight in the final. She scored 7750 points to edge out former Moomba Trick Champions Michale Briant (7590) and Cathryn Humphrey (7110), both from Australia.

Finally, it was time for the Men’s Slalom final. Conditions had not improved much throughout the day — no records were set, and it was to be a tough mental battle in challenging conditions. A special mention goes to 15-year-old Zane Nicholson from the USA, who not only won the junior Moomba slalom title, but earned a place in the Moomba Masters slalom final.

This would prove to be the most drama-packed event of the day, and skiers succumbed to the Yarra, which was described by Marcus Brown as "puking something fierce!" A re-ride for Aaron Larkin from New Zealand resulted in him setting a mark of 2.5@11.25m. This stood him in gold medal position until the last competitor on the water, world record holder Chris Parrish, equalled the mark, forcing a tie-break.

Larkin went off first, running 12m and scoring 1@11.25. This would typically be a yawn for Parrish, but the Yarra River didn’t care what a world record is and Parrish went down at 12m, handing Aaron Larkin and New Zealand their first Moomba Masters title.

Then the jumpers took to the water. The women came out first, with two-time Moomba Masters Champion June Fladborg from Denmark setting a solid early mark of 49.1m. It almost held up, until the diminutive trick champion Natallia Berdnikava kicked a 49.3m leap on the last set to become a dual Moomba Masters Champion, with France’s Anais Amade taking third.

Daryl Hoyle dazzled both the crowd and the top pro skiers with a disabled jump exhibition, double-cutting on a sitski.

Thomas Asher from Great Britian set the mark early with 64.7m, holding the lead until second-place compatriot Damien Sharman equalled that mark, potentially forcing a jump-off. Even so, the world champion jumper, Freddy Krueger was waiting on the dock, having nailed a 69.3m leap in the morning semi final. However, he fell just short with 64.1m.

JUMP-OFF!

Thomas Asher went out for two more jumps, posting a 63.5m best. The pressure was on Sharman, and his first jump looked close, but he was just 20cm short. Sharman responded by giving it all, and it paid off with a 66.5m monster effort that earned him his first Moomba Masters Championship.

A rain-afflicted night jump final followed, with world record holder Freddy Krueger claiming redemption in the dark with a 66.6m jump off the 5ft6in ramp (which would have won him the jump final earlier). Second place went to Ryan Dodd from Canada, with Scot Ellis from the USA taking third.

The hard-working skishow team then took to the water to wind up a challenging 50th Anniversary Moomba Masters, and long-time chairman Max Kirwan officially handed over the role to the Victorian Water Ski Association president, Darren Robertson.

Visit www.moombamasters.com.au for full results, pictures and videos from the event.

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