New PWT Format Makes a Splash: Clifford Takes The Win in Acworth

History was made on the water, and the MasterCraft Pro Tour has never been more exciting and fun. Thousands of fans were on hand and over 300 boats lined up on the course at Dallas Landing in Acworth, Georgia.

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The crowd was hyped and so were the riders. The new format was a huge improvement and a lot of industry folks were saying this was the best and most fun Pro Tour stop ever.
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Between the live music, a stacked six-man pro final, plenty of ROCKSTAR girls, a big-air challenge and a double up contest; fans were treated to an epic wake party, full of action and entertainment.

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“We definitely left an impression in Acworth with this new format,” said the current King of Wake, Aaron Rathy. “The fans and riders were all really pumped on how things went down and to see new elements of the sport added to the Pro Tour.”

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The Pro Men kicked off the final day of action with their quarterfinal round, where 20 riders hit the water in five heats of four. The quarterfinals cut the competition in half, only advancing the top two riders from each heat onto the semifinals.

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The semifinals quickly narrowed down the field of riders to setup the six-man final, but not without an upset. Austin Hair of Tega Cay, SC beat out four-time X Games gold medalist Danny Harf and former Pro Tour champ Shaun Murray to advance to his first Pro Tour finals appearance.?

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The finals pinned Hair, Adam Errington, Rusty Malinoski, Phillip Soven, JD Webb and Harley Clifford against each other in a six-man final. In such a stacked final heat, riders couldn’t hold anything back in order to win the first Pro Tour stop of the 2010 season. Aussie Phenom Harley Clifford, the current defending Pro Tour titlist, took that notion to the next level during his final run, landing a handle pass KGB 540 – the first ever in a contest.

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Clifford’s impressive run was more than enough to take first place in the Pro Men’s finals and take the lead in the Pro Tour standings. Malinoski and Soven rounded out the Pro Men’s podium, respectively.

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“I’m stoked,” said Clifford. “Sticking the KGB 5 and winning the first Pro Tour stop in the same day is just unreal.”

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Following the Pro Men’s finals, the Pro Tour went right into the Indmar Double Up contest, where the “Bone-Crusher” Rusty Malinoski was declared the obvious winner after sticking his Toeside 1080.

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Chad Sharpe, who is known for his bag of tricks off the kicker, won the Rockstar Energy Drink Big- Air Challenge with his massive Indy Glide. Sharpe and Malinoski each took home a $1,000 for winning their respective events.

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In the Jr. Pro Men’s division, riders hit the water in two heats of five for their semifinal round. With only the top two riders from each heat advancing, the field of riders was narrowed down to Freddie Wayne, Kyle Evans, Nick Galotifore and Daniel Powers for the four-man final.

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All four rippers threw down some series runs, but Galotifore’s Heel 7 off the double up helped the Orlando native rise above the competition to win his first Pro Tour stop. Powers and Evans rounded out the Jr. Pro Men’s podium, respectively.

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“It’s crazy, I can’t believe I took first place,” said Galotifore. “I just laid down my run, stuck my Heel 7, and it paid off. I’m stoked!”

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With finals wrapped up in Acworth, the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour will now head to Fort Worth, Tex., on June 10-12. Additional venues for the 2010 season include Elizabethtown, Ky., Colorado Springs, Colo. and Knoxville, Tenn.

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To catch all the high-flying, rail-sliding, water-sports action of the Acworth Pro Tour stop on television, tune in to FUEL TV on July 20 at 8 p.m. EST.

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For more information on the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour, including news, daily schedules, tickets, photos, videos, athlete bios, results, standings and more, visit www.allisports.com.

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Images courtesy of Rodrigo Donoso.

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