Cambridge wakeboarder Morgan Haakma has won gold at the 2017 Nautique WWA Wakeboard World Championships this weekend in Toronto, Canada.
Competing in the Amateur Women’s division, Morgan won her first World title with a stand-up run filled with multiple 180 and grab combinations, punctuated with her first backroll in competition.
A University of Waikato student and Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar, Morgan is three years into her bachelor degree studies, and is currently on an exchange at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA.
Morgan, originally from New Plymouth, started wakeboarding and competing at age 10, and is hugely excited about her international achievement, saying, “this has truly been one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I am incredibly thankful for every moment”.
She names her biggest inspiration as pro-wakeboarder and world champion Brad Smeele, who became quadriplegic as a result of a training accident in 2014.
Brad coached Morgan in her junior competition years and is equally proud of his protégé, saying, “I’m so proud to see Morgan reach her dream of becoming a world champion! I’ve watched her work incredibly hard over the years to progress her riding, rising through injury and blood and sweat and tears. I’ve never worked with anyone more determined, and it’s so amazing to see that take her to the top of the world!”.
Morgan’s progress has been helped along with the generous support of O’Brien Wakeboards NZ, Freestyle Watches NZ, Aspire Chiropractors in Hamilton and the Taranaki Elite Athletes Foundation. She returns to New Zealand in December to compete in the Wake NZ Summer Series and Nationals events.