On Nov. 10 and 11, the South Florida Wakeboarding club made its first splash at the Collegiate Nationals Southeastern Qualifier.
The event, hosted in Orlando, brought together students from schools throughout Florida and Georgia to find the best wakeboarders in the region by competing in seven categories: Men’s Novice, Men’s Intermediate, Men’s Outlaw, Men’s Pro, Men’s Wakeskate, Women’s Wakeskate, and Women’s Wakeboard.
Points determined by the difficulty of each trick performed and winners who placed in the top three of each region were invited to the Collegiate Finals, which will be held in May 2008. Competitors outside the top three of the region will be given another chance to make the trip through a wildcard drawing that will take place as the event draws near.
With this year marking South Florida’s debut in the tournament, riders and spectators came together to show their support and lift the team’s morale as the Bulls competed against schools who have proven their experience in prior years.
“The best part of my day was when I was standing on the dock and I overheard two UF students, who were previous Nationals winners, say ‘Man, USF really came out of nowhere with these riders,'” Wakeboarding Club treasurer Keven Rayne said. “‘They are really good.'”
The schools participating in the competition were the University of Central Florida, Florida State University, the University of Florida, Rollins College and Valencia Community College.
Although UCF has been each year’s top competitor for the Southeastern Conference, the Bulls surprised both the crowd and the judges by advancing in three categories: Men’s Outlaw, Men’s Wakeskate, and Women’s Wakeboard; and two sub-categories: Men’s Beginner Wakeboard and Men’s Intermediate Wakeboard.
Paul Savard placed second overall in Beginner Wakeboard by making all of his tricks as big as possible. Brandon Williams placed first overall in Intermediate Wakeboard through his multiple backrolls and tantrums and David Watson placed second in Wakeskate because of his many successful shove-it lip tricks.
After the performance, USF’s three leading scorers may be invited to the Wakeboard Finals, scheduled to take place in California.
In judging, an entire team’s points were added together with the higher sums revealing the winners. The Bulls’ lack of competitors hurt their final score, placing them in fifth place at the end of the qualifier. However, USF did have the second-most riders to advance to finals, and three of those riders placed in the top two in other categories.
Central Florida placed first in the qualifier, followed by Florida, Kansas State, Rollins College and South Florida.
For further information on the event, as well as information on becoming apart of the Wakeboarding Club, USF’s largest sports club, look for the club’s table at the next Bull Market.