Boarders leave most Kiwis in their wake

CLAY WILSON
Last updated 17:00 03/05/2011

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Marlborough wakeboarders may have always punched above their weight at national level, but last week this province's status as a stronghold of the sport in New Zealand was confirmed.

On the back of a superb effort at the recent national championship, including two national titles, four current Marlburians and one former Blenheim rider have all been named for the 12-strong New Zealand team to compete at the biannual world championships in Milan, Italy in July.

Brothers Guy and Theo Robinson, junior men's and junior boys national champions respectively, along with current Marlborough champ David Stubbs and masters boarders Rodney Parkes and Kurt Robertson were selected as part of the national team announced late last week.

While the other four still call Marlborough home, Robertson is now based in Orlando, Florida, in the United States, as a professional wakeboarding coach.

Stubbs, who finished a credible fourth in the open men's division at the nationals, said it was "pretty amazing" that almost half of the New Zealand team consisted of Marlborough riders and it was a reward for years of time and effort they had put into their craft on the nearby lower Wairau River.

The world champs run over five days from July 13 till July 17.

Countries entered teams of eight or more, with two riders from each country allowed to compete in any one division.

Meanwhile, an opportunity to live and breathe wakeboarding in the three months leading up to the worlds sees Stubbs fly out of Christchurch today, bound for Orlando. There he will spend that time as a professional coach in a camp, tutoring others in the sport five days a week while also getting time to hone his own skills.

Stubbs called Orlando "the Mecca of wakeboarding in the world" and said his time there would allow him to "get my tricks more consistent and just generally turn it up a bit".

While Stubbs and Robertson's preparation would be undertaken in the much warmer climate of Orlando, the other three Marlborough riders will have to don thick wetsuits and continue to train through the winter on the Wairau River.

Although, Stubbs added, the Robinson brothers and Parkes would join him in the States two weeks before the worlds to go through a more intense build-up and fine tune their tricks.

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- The Marlborough Express

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