9th July 2018
The IWWF Asia Wakefest Series 2018 kicked off with the first stop, the Nautique Wakefest Hong Kong 2018, from the 6th to 8th July 2018, at Taipo Waterfront Park.
The event included both wakeboarding and wakesurf as part of the Hong Kong Open and was organised by Hong Kong Wakeboard, a division of the Hong Kong Water Ski Association. The competition was sponsored for the fifth consecutive year by Asia Yachting, authorised dealers for Nautique boats in Hong Kong, along with Everbright and Red Bull amongst others.
Asia Yachting provided a Super Air Nautique GS22 for the competition, while a G23 was on hand in support.
The 104 entries included 22 overseas riders from China, Japan, Korea, Russia, Singapore and Chinese Taipei, competing in six wakeboard categories for men and four for women and wakesurf and wake skim for both men and women.
The competition commenced with wakesurfing (surf & skim disciplines) qualifiers, followed by both the Novice and Intermediate wakeboard qualifiers for men and women on Friday the 6th July. With only the top two qualifiers in the heats going straight through to the semi-finals or finals, last chance qualifers (LCQs) followed for the wakesurfers, novice and intermediate wakeboard men.
Occasional rain squalls caused some disruption to the programme on Saturday but flattened the course leaving the riders only to concern themselves with the awesome wakes of the Super Air Nautique boats.
Advanced Men and Women, Outlaw and Masters Men wakeboard qualifiers were followed by Open Women and Open Men qualifiers. Two heats of LCQs with five riders in each followed for Advanced Men of whom just one from each heat advanced to the semi-finals. One LCQ heat for open women and two heats for open men determined the six finalists in each.
The semi-finals for Advance Men saw two heats of five riders, with the top three from each making it into the finals to conclude the day.
The finals on Sunday, 8th July saw Katrina Tsang (HKG) win the first gold medal of the day in Novice Women’s wakeboard, while Cheung Hoi Yee, Emily (HKG) won Intermediate Women.
Novice Men’s was won by Wong Yu Kan (HKG) while Lai Kin Pong (HKG) overcame Taijir Nakamura (JPN) to win Intermediate Men.
Advance Women’s wakeboard was won by Li Fung Yi, Erica (HKG) while 15 year old Clarence Batchelor (SGP) beat seventeen other riders in Advance Men’s to win gold, ahead of the very young Yang Yu Yeh from Chinese Tapei.
Marcus Lee (SGP) won the Outlaw Men while Chu Chi Hoi, Mickey (HKG) took the Masters Men’s title.
In the wakesurf competition Jung Sang Han (KOR) overcame seven riders to take the Open Men’s Surf title, while Kim Sun Wha (KOR) likewise claimed gold in the Women’s Surf event. Open Men’s Skim final was won by Cao Long Long (HKG) with Lee Hoi Lun, Helen claiming the Open Women’s Skim title.
Conditions deteriorated temporarily before the Open Women’s & Men’ Wakeboad finals resulting in the postponement of competition, during which the first round of medals and prizes were awarded. Fortunately the weather improved and the finals resumed.
Three Japanese riders dominated the Open Women’s wakeboard final with Yoshiko Ishimaru taking gold, Ami O-Shima silver and Ayaka Matsunaga bronze ahead of the three Hong Kong women.
In the Open Men’s Wakeboard finals Ho Wai Shing (HKG) and Li Kai Kwong, Jeff (HKG) took silver and bronze respectively. Japanese rider Komatsu Haruki raised the bar with a well executed and intense ride giving him the gold medal to conclude the Nautique Wakefest Hong Kong 2018, and the 1st stop in the IWWF Asia Wakefest Series 2018.
Lebanon – ATCL, Beirut – 8th & 9th September 2018,
Japan – Wakayama City – 15th to 17th September 2018
Singapore – Bedok Reservoir – 16th to 18th November 2018