Pro wakeboard tour stops at OMSP

PELHAM – Multi-world champion wakeboarder Harley Clifford came out victorious in the season opener of the 2017 Supra Boats Pro Wakeboard Tour at Oak Mountain State Park May 12-13.

Clifford’s adrenaline-pumping finals run catapulted him into the top spot in his Pro Wakeboard Tour comeback after sitting out in 2016 due to an injury, according to a news release about the event. Defending Supra Boats Pro Wakeboard Tour champion Mike Dowdy landed in second place by a mere 1.17 points, and Team Supra rider Cory Teunissen took home third place.

The weekend competition was the first of four stops on the tour. At the end of the tour, an overall winner will be named.

The competition was the first time a pro wakeboarding tour has taken place at OMSP, but director of operations Chris Bischoff said it won’t be the last.

“This is an amazing park – one of the best venues we’ve ever been to,” Bischoff said.

Teunissen, a 19-year-old who prequalified for the tour, said the trees surrounding the lake, located near the park office, is ideal for wakeboarding.

“We’re kind of spoiled at this site,” Teunissen said. “It’s nice because we’re protected on both sides with some tall trees so it’s hard for the wind to get in and make the water rough. The water is also super deep, which makes a world of difference with the wake. This site is perfect for what we need. It’s crazy that we haven’t been here before.”

The competition marked Teunissen’s first time visiting Alabama.

“I love it,” the Brisbane, Australia native said. “I went to a really great breakfast café and this park is incredible. So far Alabama is good in my book.”

Teunissen, the the 2015 Rookie of the Year, said he started wakeboarding at 4 years old but didn’t think about the prospect of going pro until about five or six years ago.

In the wakesurf division, reigning champion Noah Flegel took the first step in defending his overall title with a first-place finish, followed by Aaron Witherell in second and Parker Payne in third. Flegel is the only athlete to compete in both the wakeboarding and wakesurfing tournaments.
The Supra Boats Pro Wakeboard Tour continues June 24 at Mantua Reservoir, just outside Salt Lake City, Utah.