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CROWNING A KING

MasterCraft Pro Tour makes stop in Lathrop

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CROWNING A KING

Video of wakerboarder practicing during the King of Wake's Media Day.

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POSTED June 28, 2013 1:37 a.m.

LATHROP – Josh Twelker has finally arrived on the professional wakeboarding scene.

Today and Saturday during the 2013 MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour’s third stop in Lathrop, the 19-year old from Discovery Bay will get an opportunity to shine at Mossdale Quarry Lakes.

Twelker, who is currently a rookie on the Tour, will be one of approximately 50 pro/junior-pro wake boarders who will be competing in three different divisions.

“(Discovery Bay) is about 30 minutes from this site in Lathrop,” Twelker said. “So it’s awesome to finally have a tournament this close to my house that I can drive to; finally one on the West Coast.”

This will be the Tour’s only stop in California for 2013. The closest location the Tour will be stopping is in Monroe, Wash. on July 13. This weekend’s event will be recorded by NBC Sports and aired on July 31 at 12:30 p.m.

Twelker, 29-year-old female pro Melissa Marquardt and MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard team rider Josh Palma were the featured athletes at Thursday’s Media Day, the unofficial launch for this weekend’s event. The three entertained Central Valley media for more than an hour, completing several passes through the filled-in gravel quarry adjacent to Interstate 5.

The competition will also feature the world’s top-ranked men’s wakeboarder Phillip Soven and this season’s current King of Wake points-leader Harley Clifford of Australia. Canadian Rusty Malinoski will also be competing to place, and perhaps earn one of the cash prizes of up to $5,000 for first place.

“MasterCraft has been sponsoring this Tour for 25 years, which is one of the biggest things that helps legitimize wakeboarding as a professional sport,” said Palma, 28, an Orlando native.

“As a manufacturer they are the industry leader, so to be associated with them -- like having a sponsorship – is only for an elite group of athletes that get the opportunity. To be at the top of this sport you have to be top 20 or 30 in the world.

“The first big step in (pro wakeboarding) is getting a boat.”

When wakeboarders turn pro and earn a sponsorship from a huge company/manufacturer such as MasterCraft, MasterCraft then gives the rider a boat to essentially have for the season.

Two months ago, Twelker earned his first boat, the MasterCraft XSTAR – a wake-boarding boat that costs over $120,000. Several of the professionals on the Tour already have their own boats they’ve received through MasterCraft and other sponsorship deals.

“It kind of works through the dealership,” Twelker said. “They basically lend me a boat and it’s mine for the season to use. And then I give it back at the end of the year, and then they give me another one for next year. It’s awesome. They always want you to be pushing the new (products). It’s the sickest (wakeboarding) boat out there right now.

“I got sponsored by MasterCraft last year. It’s been one of my sickest sponsors for sure, they’re really hooking up. They’re an awesome company and they’re really in tune with all their riders. It’s awesome to be a part of the team.”

Marquardt, who is also a member of the Liquid Force 2013 Global team, will be one of the females highlighting the competition. Marquardt (Canyon Lake is currently in fifth place in the “Queen of Wake” season standings with 150 points.

“I was 13 when I started competing locally and I was 16 when I won my first pro contest,” Marquardt said. “If you enter a pro contest and win money, you’re considered a pro. I’ve been on the Tour for over 10 years. This is my profession.

“We travel around and do a lot of photos for magazines and video shoots. So we get different incentives for different things like photo incentives.”

In the “King of Wake” season standings, Soven, Clifford and Malinoski are in the top three – and they will all be featured today and more than likely in Saturday’s Pro Men’s final scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m.

The pro women’s final will be at 4 p.m. and the second day of action will start at 10 a.m. Today’s action will start at 8 a.m. and qualifying will begin at noon.

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