What a difference a year makes.
At this juncture of the season last year, Aaron Rathy was a day away from his best competitive result of his career, a second place finish at the World Championships in Oklahoma City. It signaled the start of a very successful contest run in the last calendar year which has made him among the most successful riders on the King Of Wake Series. Currently sitting just behind Phillip Soven in the points chase, Rathy was going about business as usual in the quarterfinals of the 2009 World Championships where consistency while dropping technical hammers has been his forte this season.
"I felt really good today," said Rathy after his heat. "Had a couple of stand up passes so I can't complain." No need to fuss over a well executed game plan he's employs successfully all summer. On the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard tour, this strategy brought him his first two Pro Tour Wins and several finals appearance.
But the stand-up set not withstanding, Rathy's day did include some high drama.
"I lost my keys half way through the day, and I never got them back," lamented Rathy. "I was running all over the place trying to find them so things were a bit hectic." Anyone who's had the experience can attest to how unnerving that situation can be.Not exactly the prescription for pre-heat relaxation, but for the way life's been rolling lately, it's par for the course.
Two weeks ago Rathy narrowly missed out on his first MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard title, allowing 15 year old Australian Harley Clifford to be crowned champion. A strong measure of redemption, however, was gotten just five days later, when Aaron won both the "Move of the Year" and "Rider of the Year" at the 6th Annual Wakeboarding Magazine Wake Awards, where members of wakeboardings media, industry and riders vote on who's been the most progressive in different categories. To win an award here reflects the high level of respect a rider has earned in the sport. To win two magnifies the impact Rathy's had since Oklahoma City in 2008.
"I'm so stoked on how things turned out at the Wake Awards," Aaron said in reflection of the past 2 weeks. "I got a couple of awards and I'm feeling confident coming into the last contest of the year." That confidence, combined with the near-miss with the Pro Tour Title, has Rathy among the odds-on favorites to take home the 2009 World title.
Rathy can relax and smile knowing his days work is successfully behind him.
Arron backlips the funbox during pass #1 of his stand-up quarterfinals run.
The inclusion of straight airs in the DRIVE judging format allows riders like Rathy to bust huge moves with style in contests.
A solid melanglide off the Air Force kicker seals the deal for Rathy in heat #9 Saturday