The first Event of the 2018 season blew into Lake Pleasant, Arizona on November 18, 2017.
Conditions were rough in the early hours of the event, with a steady 15 knot north wind, and gusts to 25 knots, kicking up breakers on Lake Pleasant. By noon, the wind let down, the event was run in the adverse conditions using the ‘Biwa’ format: a single pass of 1:15 and two pick-ups with the wind at the rider’s back.
Despite the windy start, this early season Bronze level WRS event saw more than 50 competitors showing their best in the desert.
In a surprise move, Rylee Steffen, who was the #1 WRS ranked Junior in 2017, opened the season with an aggressive debut in the Outlaw division, tearing up the wave on her way to the top spot on the podium. Coming in second and also making her Outlaw debut was Hailey Cox-Smith, returning from a shoulder injury which kept her on the beach last season. In third was Seattle’s Jen Boctor, who was the top WRS ranked Women’s Masters Surf rider in 2017.
Six Juniors competed, with Calgary’s Evan Hudson taking first, Grey Halik on step two and Austin Nordgren in third.
Word has it that the Outlaw Men’s division was savage, with Dr. Hudson clawing his way to the top step, with Dyan Ayala in second by a mere point, and Trevor Miller in third.
Women’s Pro Surf was won by veteran Madi Horta, who held off Canada’s Lily Anderson in her Pro division debut. Trisha Giguere finished third. In Skim, Caro Villeneuve came south to take the win, with Minnesota’s Stacia Bank in second and Nicole Hudson in third.
Master’s Women was won by Kelley Marsh, besting Brigetta O’Shea and Linda Bethke.
We saw lots of new faces in the Amateur female divisions. Four of the six women were first-time competitors. In Skim, Bayley Martin was first, Alexus Nordgren second, and newbie Haley McKern in third. For Surf it was all first time competitors, with Madi Grover in first, Bella Lambert second and Kristen Revell rounding out the podium.
For the Amateur guys, Matts Anderson, Jason Marsh and Beau Jones on the podium for the all Surf division.
Even the mature dudes came out to ride, with Eric Grindland in first for Skim, beating out Jay Baker and Anthony Vanderlinde. In Masters Men Surf, Erik Anderson joined his family on the podium with a first, Duane joined his wife and daughter on the podium with a second, and Don Bethke matched his wife on the podium in third place.
The Pro Men was a combined division, with local Connor Burns rising above the best beard in wakesurfing, Jimmi Sparling. California’s Hunter Clement took the third step.
Check out the complete Official Results for the WakeSurfAZ Fall Qualifier here. 2018 is gonna be awesome!
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The CWSA Team