One Cambridge local has made her mark on the world map following an excellent performance at the 2017 WWA Wakeboard World Championships held in Toronto, Canada, on the weekend.
Morgan Haakma won her first Women’s Amateur World Title on day 2 of the champs, blasting the competition out of the water.
The Cambridge wakeboarder earned the title after pulling off a massive backroll and another impressive wakeboarding move, the “T/S Indy 180”, to score the top result of 85, miles ahead of second-placed USA wakeboarder Alisa Topper on 70 points and Canadian Christi McKinney with 50 points in third.
“I was so nervous because I knew the other girls were good and had tricks that I haven’t landed yet,” said Morgan, “but I couldn’t control how those girls rode, so I tried to stay as focused as I could. I went through my pass in my head and ended up landing the whole pass with two extra tricks in, and then landed my first ever in-competition backroll at the end which was the best feeling in the world!”
“I had to ring my dad back in New Zealand and wake him up at 2am to tell him, it was for sure the best moment I have ever had wakeboarding!”
Morgan followed her dad’s footsteps into wakeboarding, having grown up in a water-skiing family. Starting from age 11, she entered her first competition in 2009 along with her brother, and has built up much of her wakeboarding prowess through training with her family and friends at Karapiro. More recently the 20 year old has been training with the crew at “Shred the Gnar” wakeboarding school in North Carolina, USA.
“I am absolutely loving riding with the crew, everyone is so stoked on wakeboarding and so supportive and encouraging which makes all the difference when learning new tricks!” Morgan said. “I have learned so much since I have been here. I have so many more tricks I want to learn and plan on doing as many more competitions as I possibly can while I’m in the States.”
As a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar at the University of Waikato, Morgan is currently on an exchange at the University of North Carolina. She will return to Cambridge in December in time for the New Zealand competitions. “I would also love to ride in some more of the Australian competitions this season coming.”
“I want to thank my mum and dad for everything they do for me and the support they continue to give me, my coach/inspiration/big brother Brad Smeele, Kara from Shred the Gnar for inspiring me and helping me fall in love with wakeboarding all over again, my sponsors… everyone who has taken me wakeboarding and to my family and friends! I can’t thank these guys enough, and without them this wouldn’t have been possible, so really this is their achievement as well.”