Some new talent emerged this past weekend at the qualifying rounds for the 2011 Nautique Wake Games. All eyes were on 18-year old Steel Laferty of Ft. Lauderdale, FL and 19-year old New York native Nick Galotifore as they won their respective heats, beating some big-name riders. See below for the full details and press release:
Orlando, Fla. — Some of the top professional wakeboarders in the world gathered at the Orlando Watersports Complex in Orlando, Fla. today to qualify into the 2011 Nautique Wake Games, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink. The grueling Pro Men's division qualifier pinned 40 riders against each other, with only the top two pros from each of the 10 heats advancing on to Saturday's quarterfinals.
Among the 20 pros that qualified today were a pair of rookie riders, debuting in their first pro contest. Steel Lafferty, 18, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. and 19-year-old New York native Nick Galotifore not only qualified, but won their respective heats today.
"I really wasn't expecting too much out of this contest, but obviously it feels great to win my heat today," said Galotifore. "To come into the pro division and ride against a guy, like Shaun Murray and happen to beat him is awesome. I've looked up to him for so long and it's just cool be competing with guys like him."
Heading into their rookie season, high expectations were placed on Galotifore and Lafferty, as the duo finished in first and third place, respectively, on the 2010 Jr. Pro Wakeboard Tour.
"It's usually a difficult transition going from amateur to pro, especially during your rookie season," said Chief Judge Chris Bischoff. "But these guys killed it today and we'll just have to see what happens in the contest over the next few days."
The Nautique Wake Games, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink will continue through Sunday, May 1. Tomorrow's free event will run from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday will remain a ticketed event. Tickets are available at the gate: $13 (adult); $5 (ages 6-12); free (ages 5 and under); or $7 (adult) if purchased online.
In addition to all the action on the water, on land the Nautique Wake Games features great food and music, athlete autograph signings, chances to win freebies, and shopping at the most cutting-edge stores offering water-sports equipment including boats, wakeboards, wakeskates, sunglasses and the latest in wakeboarding and surfing fashions.
For information on the Nautique Wake Games, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink, visit www.kingofwake.com < http://www.kingofwake.com/> .
The Nautique Wake Games, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink is organized by World Sports & Marketing of Orlando, Fla., and has the support of the following sponsors: Correct Craft, Rockstar Energy Drink, Overton's, Peavey, Mona Vie, Fox, Hyperlite, CWB, Ronix, Liquid Force, Byerly, Oakley, PCM Marine Engines and TransWorld WAKEBOARDING magazine.