MONROE — The World Wake Association’s first national championships on Lake Tye went so well that the organization decided to come right back.
The 2019 Nautique WWA Wakeboard National Championships are returning to the Monroe lake for a second straight year. Some of the world’s best wakeboarders took to the water beginning Wednesday, with the event concluding with the professional division finals Saturday.
More than 125 competitors in 23 different divisions are expected to take part. For the amateur divisions the event serves as the national championships, meaning they’re only open to competitors from the U.S. For the professional divisions the event is the fourth of six stops in the WWA Wakeboard World Series and therefore is open to international competitors — riders from as far away as Australia, Japan and Italy are among those in the field.
Last year was the first time the WWA Wakeboard National Championships took place in Washington in the 30-year history of the WWA. It didn’t take long for nationals to come back.
“Last year’s event went great,” WWA executive director Corrie Wilson said. “The conditions were great, we had great weather. With wakeboarding you want flat, calm water. With Lake Tye being both a private lake and a deep lake, it means the boats can make big wakes for the riders to do big tricks on, so it’s a perfect venue. The riders were happy, and if the riders are happy we’re happy.
“The city of Monroe and the Snohomish County Sports Commission have been so great to work with,” Wilson added. “On top of that, the conditions for wakeboarding on Lake Tye are about as good as it gets. When we’re looking for a place to go, we look for the support of the local entities, a great site for wakeboarding and a really cool destination for the riders to come to. Here it all comes together and makes sense.”
The big names are on hand for the professional divisions.
In the Pro Men division, current WWA men’s world points leader Harley Clifford of Australia is looking to defend his title. Fellow Australian Cory Teunissen, who’s right behind Clifford in the points standings, is hoping to knock Clifford off the top spot of the podium.
In the Pro Women division, Meagan Ethell of Channahon, Illinois, is back to defend her title. She’ll be challenged by Australia’s Zahra Kell, who sits right behind Ethell in second in the WWA women’s points standings.
Competition got underway at 9 a.m. Wednesday. The Pro Men and Pro Women finals take place at 1:05 p.m. Saturday.
Admission is free to the public.