Record crowds brought energy and inspiration to the water as 11 Team Nautique athletes took home podium finishes last week at the 55th Moomba Masters behind the Ski Nautique 200 and the Super Air Nautique G23.
Among many firsts during this historic event was the first ever Pro Women’s Moomba Masters Wakeboard competition. Team Nautique rider Raimi Merritt took the podium in second place and fellow Nautique rider Meagan Ethell placed third. Trick Ski World Record holder Erika Lang also competed in the event placing 4th and becoming the first athlete to ever crossover and compete in both waterskiing and wakeboarding.
“It was such an amazing experience competing at the Moomba Masters for the first time. The crowd was unbelievable and being able to ride behind the G23 in the middle of downtown Melbourne was the coolest thing ever! It was such a great kick off to the Nautique Wake Series. I was really happy with my riding over the weekend and super excited to be standing on the podium with my teammate Meagan Ethell who also rode awesome! I can’t wait to head back there next year for another successful event!” – Raimi Merritt
“Moomba Masters was definitely a contest to remember. The riding was fun, as well as the whole experience! Seeing the amount of people there was unbelievable, and being able to see how excited they get to watch us, is inspiring as well. I cannot wait until next year to ride behind the G23 on the Yarra River again! “ – Meagan Ethell
In Men’s Wakeboard, young gun Noah Flegel started his season off with a bang placing third in the final behind the Super Air Nautique G23. The Competition was stacked this year and a tight back and forth battle was fought in every round. Riders from all over the globe made the trip and everyone left the water with a new understanding of what riding for the Moomba crowd is all about, chomping at the bit to perform once again in 2016.
Trick Ski powerhouse and World Record holder Aliaksei Zharnasek took another Moomba win this year, breaking the course record twice and setting the bar in the final with a score of 11,870 pts. Teammate Josh Briant just missed the trick podium taking 4th with a score of 10,770 in the final.
“After missing Moomba in 2014, I was very excited and nervous at the same time. This is one of the best tournaments we compete in all year and with it being center stage for the Moomba festival, the atmosphere is amazing. Every single day huge crowds are on the bank watching you ski and it’s definitely a lot of fun, but Moomba Masters being the first pro event of the year puts quite a bit of pressure on you as well. I finished my 2014 season on a very high note winning the Nautique U.S. Open and I was eager to see how my skiing felt after not competing for 4 months. I have to say that conditions on the river never can be perfect, but this year it was exceptionally good as well as the Ski Nautique 200, as usual produced a very stable and consistent wake for us trick skiers, so I enjoyed not only winning but just skiing at Moomba Masters. In the end, I think I did very well for myself at the first event of 2015 by winning the gold and setting a new course record. Leaving Australia, I’m happy and sure ready to keep training and push my skiing forward. I of course can’t wait to be back in 2016.” – Aliaksei Zharnasek
Jacinta Carroll took home the Moomba title for the second year in a row with a jump of 176 ft. behind the Ski Nautique 200 in the final to start another streak for 2015 (which now includes an additional win at the Mundurah World Cup stop held directly after Moomba). Also jumping her way to a Moomba podium was “Miss Rocketman” Marion Mathieu with a distance of 163 ft. to finish third. Putting a stamp on the event, Jacinta and Marion took the #1 and #2 spots in the much-anticipated Night Jump.
“Being able to ski in front of my home crowd is like no other experience in the world. I am ecstatic to be able to defend my Moomba Masters title 2 years in a row behind the Ski Nautique 200.“ – Jacinta Carroll
The Women’s Trick podium was all Nautique with Natallia Berdnikava in first place scoring 9,420 pts., Erika Lang in second at 9,070 pts., and Whitney McClintock in third with 8,730 pts. In the first round, Erika Lang set a women’s trick course record putting down a run of 9,470 pts.
“I am super happy to win the trick title once again at the Moomba Masters with my previous win here in 2011. Moomba always feels so exciting and special because it’s the first event of the year and it’s behind my favorite boat, the Ski Nautique 200! I am stoked!” – Natallia Berdnikava
Whitney McClintock was on fire this year as always following up her podium finish in tricks with a fourth consecutive Moomba Masters Slalom win running 2.5 buoys at 38-off. Her performances earned her the Moomba Masters Overall title as well scoring 2,758.15 pts.
“Moomba is always a great experience. I have made the trip to Melbourne 4 times now, and I always feel awesome energy in that city! The food is great, the venue is spectacular with the shoreline full of people, and of course skiing behind the Nautique 200 I know the pull will be consistent every time. All of these elements give me the confidence to go out and ski my best.” – Whitney McClintock
Joining Whitney on the overall podium were fellow Team Nautique athletes Jacinta Carroll scoring 2,336.44 pts., and Marion Mathieu scoring 2,075.66 pts.
Current World Record holder Nate Smith cannot be shaken, he has proven time and time again that he is the best skier on the water under any set of conditions with smooth effortless technique that makes each turn look like an afterthought. Picking up the 2015 season with where he left 2014, Nate led the pack in every round with a first place finish scoring 1.5 buoys at 41-off. Team Nautique’s Jason McClintock also had an impressive showing coming off of an injury in 2014 to finish 4th with 4 buoys at 39.5-off.
“I am super excited to win my second Moomba Masters! It was a huge win for me and a great start to the 2015 season. Moomba is one of my favorite tournaments to go to every year and to have the Nautique 200 pulling the tournament allows me to have confidence in putting up the big scores I needed to win the tournament. Already looking forward to going back again next year and super excited to know that Nautique boats is the exclusive towboat through 2020!” – Nate Smith
Team Nautique at the 2015 Moomba Masters