Smoky Mountain Factory Pro Recap
“The Malibu M235 creates such a big, solid wake that the water conditions almost don’t matter.”
Chad Sharpe //Malibu Boats Pro Rider
Vehicles filled the Malibu Boats’ parking lot early on the morning of July 8, 2017, to see the kickoff event of the Malibu Evolution Pro Wakeboarding Series. Held on the Tennessee River behind Malibu Boats global headquarters in Loudon, Tenn., the Malibu Smoky Mountain Factory Pro featured the world’s best wakeboard athletes launching off the world’s biggest wake behind the Malibu M235, the industry’s highest performing and most luxurious watersports towboat.
Heralded as the world’s foremost ultra-premium wakeboard and wakesurf towboat, the M235 was specifically designed to deliver world-class wakes and waves. Legendary Malibu team athlete Chad Sharpe, who helped develop the M235, was on hand to judge the stacked field of athletes.
“The Malibu M235 creates such a big, solid wake that the water conditions almost don’t matter,” Sharpe commented. “Even if the water is rough or the wind picks up, you know the wake is solid and won’t let you down.”
By midday, over 2,000 spectators lined the shore to cheer on the riders while enjoying a festival atmosphere that included food trucks, vendor booths and even a station to create free custom Malibu hats. In addition, visitors had a blast at the Malibu and Axis Build-A-Boat Stations, designing their new custom towboats using the company’s industry-leading 3D boat configurator.
Two of Malibu’s exclusive dealers were also on hand to support the event and entertain guests. Chattanooga’s Marine Outfitters and Knoxville’s Moses Watersports each displayed Malibu and Axis towboats and had salespeople on hand to provide product information and answer questions.
Malibu Team Riders laid down impressive runs in the men’s and women’s finals, including Canadian brothers Raph and Oli Derome, Australia’s Parker Siegele and American Tarah Mikacich.
“It’s so awesome getting to come here to the Malibu factory,” Mikacich said. “It’s an honor to have so many employees present to see what we’re able to do behind the product they build.”
In the men’s division, Australian Nic Rapa finished first, with America’s Noah Flegel in the runner-up spot and Raph Derome taking bronze. On the women’s bracket, an unfortunate fall kept Tarah Mikacich off the podium by mere points. Americans Nicola Butler and Meagan Ethell took gold and bronze, respectively, while Mexico’s Larisa Morales claimed silver.