ORLANDO, FL - Reigning world champion Raimi Merritt won her seventh world cup title on November 25 at the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) Wakeboard World Cup in Palembang, Indonesia. The 19-year-old Florida native ran a nearly flawless ride in the finals to beat out fellow pro wakeboard riders Amber Wing (AUS) and Nicola Butler (GBR).
"The Palembang event was a great World Cup stop. Competition gets tougher every stop and all of the pro women rode well," said Merritt. "I actually hurt my back so bad in the semi-finals that I did not know if I could ride when I woke up Sunday. After some stretching, warming up and praying, my back was fine once I hit the water in the finals."
Merritt won her heat in the semi-finals despite her injury and was the number-one seeded rider going into the finals. She electrified the crowd with several of her signature tricks, including a huge S-bend on her second pass. Merritt’s performance was nearly perfect, save for a fall on her very last trick, in which she managed to get up and stick before time ran out. She earned 67.00 points to win gold. Wing took silver with 65.00 points and Butler took bronze with 55.00 points. In addition to her gold medal, Merritt was presented with a special crystal World Cup season trophy for outstanding performance by South Sumatra Governor Alex Noerdin and IWWF President Kuno Ritschard.
Merritt’s World Cup win caps the end of her 2012 season. "I am very excited about winning the last tournament of the season and am looking forward to 2013," said Merritt.
Hyperlite just released Merritt’s new pro model wakeboard called "The Maiden." She rode the board in the World Cup event and credits it as one of the reasons she did so well.
Merritt grew up in Lantana, Florida and began competing when she was 11. She lives and trains in Orlando. She is sponsored by Nautique Boats, Hyperlite and Smith Optics. For more information about Merritt, visit raimimerritt.com.