Another northern summer spent honing his craft atop Florida lakes has paid dividends for Tauranga wakeboarder Darren Bishop.
The 24-year-old finished third behind the traditional powers of Nik Gibson and Brad Smeele in the open men's division at the wakeboarding nationals, and is waiting to hear whether he has made the New Zealand team to travel to the world championships in Korea in late August.
"I'm unsure about my chances," said Bishop. "They said that it would be about two weeks after nationals that they'd pick the team, but I still haven't heard anything.
"I've got high hopes that I'll make it in but you never can tell until they've actually picked the team."
He was happy with his performance at the nationals - apart from the fall he had in the final part of his last run.
"It could have been a little bit better - all three of us that got on the podium had falls. But I'm pretty stoked with third place.
"It was all going really well until that fall which cost me a position. It was really close between all of us, but I think if I didn't fall I would have been sitting in second."
He believes his annual trip to Florida has helped him make up ground on the previously unchallenged Smeele and Gibson.
"I'm getting there step by step, I'm right there behind them now. Hopefully after this trip to America I'll be putting a lot more pressure on them next year."
Bishop will fly to Oklahoma City en route to a summer riding in Florida. He will spend the next month preparing his body to cope with the seven to eight riding sessions a week he will be putting in once we reaches his destination and liaising with sponsors Bishop Building and O'Brien Watersports.