18-year old wakeboarding champion thrills Knoxville crowd

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Flying high is nothing new for Raimi Merritt. The 18-year old has used big air to capture 5 World Cup titles in wakeboarding. On Saturday, that big air entertained the crowd on Volunteer landing.

Merritt says her success at such an early age can be directly attributed to her family, "I grew up around water skiing. My dad was a professional water skier. He introduced me to wakeboarding when was about 9 or 10 years old."

While Raimi spends a lot of time in the gym working out, most of her training time is spent behind a boat. That is something that Merritt says is fine by her, "I probably ride about 3 times a day and almost 7 days a week. Sometimes the weekends are a little busy on the lake. But I still try to ride. It's always fun so, training is always fun to us so we don't have a problem going out on the lake everyday."

What separates her from the rest of the women in the competitions is her fearless approach to her runs. As announcer "Dano the Mano" says, "Her riding style is high risk, high reward. And that's what it's all about for the girls. If you want to win a title you need to go for the gusto and Raimi does that every time out."

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