Waves of watery action took over the Voice of America lake Saturday as wakeboarders dazzled a crowd of more than 2,000 while competing for a championship title.
The acrobatic water sport combines single-board skiing with gymnastics, as wakeboarders try to outdo each other in routines judged by difficulty, intensity, variety and execution.
The Supra Boars Pro Wakeboard Tour attracted 16 professional wakeboarders from around the nation and the event was live-streamed to fans across the globe.
The event will be the fourth and final competition of the tour, which pits the world’s top professional wakeboarders against each other.
Parker Payne, 17, who traveled here from Dallas, is a past champion and was gliding into a second- place finish during Saturday afternoon’s finals.
“The thrill of the event is getting to compete against your longtime friends and cheer each other on,” said Payne.
“For the fans, they get to see the love we have for this sport,” he said.
The event will have an estimated economic impact of $150,000 on the region, according to officials with the Butler County Visitors Bureau.
The park is an ideal site, according to Supra Boats Pro Wakeboard Tour Director of Operations Chris Bischoff.
It has “a perfect man-made lake” and is “great for viewing the action,” he said.
The first-place winner gets $3,000, second earns $2,000 and third brings in $1,000.
The annual event has proved popular at the county park lake that sits on the West Chester and Liberty township border.
Tom Curti of Mason is a 61-year-old amateur wakeboarder who on this day stuck to the shore and admired both the young competitors and the growing crowds for the yearly event.
“This sport is really growing in popularity,” said Curti.