18-year-old Raimi Merritt has proved once again that she’s a formidable force in women’s wakeboarding. At the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) Wakeboard World Championships in Italy this past weekend, Merritt took two gold medals: an individual medal in the open women’s division and a team medal for the U.S.
The IWWF’s Wakeboard World Championships are considered to be the Olympic Games of wakeboarding with over 250 athletes competing from 38 countries. The event ran July 13-17 in Milan.
Leading up to the finals, Merritt won both of her heats in the quarter finals and semi-finals. Then on Sunday, Merritt went head to head with fellow pro rider Amber Wing, from Australia, who is currently ranked number one on the Pro Wakeboard Tour. Merritt finished with 65.24 points to Wing’s score of 58.02.
“I felt awesome,” said Merritt about her performance in Italy. “It was the first contest this season that I didn’t fall in the finals. I went in with more confidence, believing in myself instead of dwelling on past contests, and it worked. I broke through that spell.”
Merritt’s seven-point lead over Wing helped to edge out the Australian wakeboard team and secure a gold medal for the U.S. team. The U.S. topped the podium with 525 points while the Australians finished in second place with 435 points.
Merritt grew up in Lantana, Florida and began competing when she was 11. At age 12, she won her first gold medal in the girls’ division of the IWWF’s Wakeboard World Championships. Since turning pro in 2007 at age 14, Merritt has dominated the international wakeboarding scene, winning four IWWF World Cup titles. She lives and trains in Orlando. She is sponsored by Hyperlite, MonaVie, and R3Global. For more information about Merritt, visit: http://www.raimimerritt.com.
For more information about the Wakeboard World Championships, visit http://www.federazionescinautico.com.