The south shore of the marina is now a base camp for wakeboarding vendors, competitors and enthusiasts wanting to get an autograph from their favorite athlete.
For regular users, the fishing dock on the south side of the park will be closed during the event and there will be restrictions on trail usage in that area. Also, the dog park will be closed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
General admission tickets for the event can be purchased at the marina for $10 for adults, $5 for kids ages 6 through 12 and children ages 5 and under get in free.
The Air Nautique WWA Wakeboard National Championships makes its fifth stop for the 2010 season in Sparks. Of the 27 pros on the competition’s rosters, only 10 will still be alive in the points chase following the event.
Following the marina event, the riders will keep up the battle for the points they have been accruing this season through three more competitions. The rider with the most points at the end will be the world champion.
“The chase is kind of like our version of the playoffs,” said defending King of the Wake Aaron Rathy, who currently ranks 20th in the standings. “Nationals is going to be a high-stakes contest with a lot of added pressure to step up our riding. Nobody wants to end their season early.”
Currently, 16-year-old Australian phenomenon Harley Clifford leads the King of the Wake standings with 360 points. Two-time King of the Wake crown-bearer Phillip Soven trails closely behind Clifford with 335 points, while former wakeboard world champion Rusty Malinoski rounds out the top three with 246 points.
The top three point leaders are very likely to remain in the points chase even if they don’t compete at the Air Nautique WWA Nationals. However, the event will be every other rider’s last chance to save their season.
For the Pro Women’s division, the Air Nautique WWA Nationals is the third stop in the five-event Queen of the Wake series. While the Queen of the Wake does not use the points format, the Air Nautique WWA Nationals does mark the midway point in the season, when the top riders begin to break away from the rest of the competition.
Former crown-bearer Nicola Butler sits at the top of the standings with 190 points while 2008 Rookie of the Year Raimi Merritt trails closely behind with 165 points.
Current Queen of the Wake and defending U.S. national champion Dallas Friday rounds out the top three, tied with Merritt at 165 points.
However, Friday recently suffered a season-ending injury to her right knee during the second stop of the series and will be unable to continue to defend her crown. With Friday out for the season, the door has been opened for newcomers to step up to contend for the Queen of the Wake title.
The Air Nautique championships opens on the waters of the Sparks Marina with more than 15 amateur divisions competing for national titles. Pro Women hit the water on Friday and the Pro Men begin on Saturday. In addition to competing for points toward the series standings, the riders will also be competing for national titles.