Three boats, 15 of the best skiers in the world and one head-to- head-to-head match up — pulled by Correct Craft, Malibu and MasterCraft, the Team Challenge was an event of epic proportions. Watch how it all unfolded and see some of the most impressive performances of the tournament in this compilation of clips from the 2007 Pro Slalom Shootout finale.
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Event 5: Team Challenge
Correct Craft Ski Nautique 196
Maibu Response LXi
MasterCraft ProStar 197
Matchups were based on the current Elite rankings, and running order was determined by drawing cards from a deck. For each heat, 30 points were awarded for first, 20 points for second, 10 points for third, and split points for ties.
Pride was on the line for Correct Craft, Malibu and MasterCraft during the second-annual Team Challenge, and the factory teams brought their big guns to the fight. Last year's victor, Team Malibu, looked pumped to defend their title with matching jerseys, speaker-phone pep talks from corporate headquarters and vocal support from wakeboarder teammates. But 2006 runner-up Team MasterCraft, back this year to scrap in coordinated black, and Challenge newcomer Team Correct Craft, who strategized beneath a Nautique-branded tent, refused to be intimidated.
“We're pretty fired up to win this,” said Correct Craft anchor Chris Parrish. “There's some kind of weird energy going on right now. It makes everybody step up their game.” MasterCraft honcho Wade Cox agreed. “It's the ultimate form of competition,” he said. “It's like when you're skiing for your country — our sponsors are our countries.” And main Malibu mouthpiece Drew Ross added, “We take it seriously. We want to solidify our dominance as a team.”
Correct Craft took the early advantage, drawing the high card three out of five times to secure an edge in the heat running orders. Parrish was pleased and said so, prompting Cox to reply, “Y'all can win now — on paper.” And that was just the beginning of the drama.
A point-splitting tie in round one between Billy Susi and Andy Mapple — a new twist in the rules for 2007 — set off a tight race that would continue to the finale, with teams separated by as little as five points.
Malibu took the lead in round two and held it through round three. But two consecutive heat victories put MasterCraft on top after round four. With only five points separating MasterCraft and Malibu, the finale featured a trifecta of titleholders — the 2007 Moomba Masters champ, Jodi Fisher; the 2006 World champ, Will Asher; and the current World record holder, Chris Parrish.
Team Malibu emerged victorious from the highest-scoring heat of the event, but according to the athletes, they were all winners. “It's just great for our sport,” said Andy Mapple of the Team Challenge. “I hope this event goes on forever.”
BATTLE OF THE GIANT THREE
Correct Craft Malibu MasterCraft
R1 Andy Mapple Billy Susi Steve Cockeram
Score 2½ @ 39½ 2½ @ 39½ 3 @ 38
Points 25 pts 25 pts 10 pts
R2 Kyle Eade Nick Parsons Marcus Brown
Score 3 @ 38 3 @ 39½ 1 @ 39½
Points 10 pts 30 pts 20 pts
R3 Jason Seels Drew Ross Glenn Campbell
Score 2½ @ 39½ 5 @ 39½ 5½ @ 39½
Points 10 pts 20 pts 30 pts
R4 Aaron Larkin Thomas Degasperi Wade Cox
Score 3½ @ 39½ 2½ @ 39½ 4 @ 39½
Points 20 pts 10 pts 30 pts
R5 Chris Parrish Will Asher Jodi Fisher
Score 1½ @ 41 1½ @ 41 3 @ 39½
5 pts 25 pts 10 pts
Total 90 110 100
“My last set felt better than I've felt all weekend. I just knew that the boys on Team Malibu were still on the dock, and I could hear their air horn, so I just had to throw it down. There was no way I could let Jodi or CP beat me — it just wasn't going to happen. And that felt awesome.” — Will Asher
“I was really stoked when I saw I was against Jodi and Willy. Right before my run at 38 off, here comes Will finishing his pass, and he sprayed me as he went by. That pumped me up and made me want to be in the heat of battle.” — Chris Parrish
“It's just really cool to be part of it, to be out there with such talent. There was some pressure on. I'm just very happy to be out there with the boys.” — Jodi Fisher