(VIA Waterski Mag) Chris Parrish has been waiting for this day since July 2010. It has brought him the taste of victory once again. His last pro-event win took place in Eurolac, France, when he won the Alizee Cup. Today the current world-record holder took top honors at the Ski Paradise Invitational in Acapulco, Mexico, among a select field of the world's top skiers that included Nate Smith, Will Asher, Thomas Degasperi and the winningest slalom skier of all time, Andy Mapple. "I’m on cloud nine for sure right now," Parrish says. "I just want to thank Gordon Rathbun for putting this tournament together with few inside guys to make the purse really big," he says.
Will Asher (left) and Nate Smith (right) battle it out in the semi-final head-to-head match-up at Ski Paradise in Acapulco, Mexico.
The Ski Paradise Invitational was part of a dream week of skiing at Gordon Rathbun's Ski Paradise for several lucky guests, who paid $5,000 apiece (rumor has it that one guest paid for three of his friends to join him) to hang out and get coached by several of the world's greatest skiers. With the help of Rathbun's well-to-do clients, the tournament payment topped out at more than $32,000. It's one of the largest payouts in the history of the sport to a single event, let alone to a competitive field of only five skiers.
The tournament started with two qualifying rounds to determine the head-to-head pairings for the final round, which would be hosted in two side-by-side slalom courses; it would be the first pro event of its kind. Yesterday, Mapple sent a wake-up call to the elite field in the first round by posting the leading score of 3 at 41 off. But the score came with a price, as Mapple took a massive hit of slack as he exited the gates at 39 1/2 off. Parrish, Smith and Asher were close behind, within 1 1/2 buoys. Degasperi finished a few buoys back, going down around 5 ball at 39 1/2 off.
The second round was completed earlier this morning, and Parrish quickly made himself known, posting a huge score of 4 1/2 at 41 off after Degasperi upped his first-round score by 1/2 buoy. The young guns, Smith and Asher, then collectively stepped up to defend their ground against 50-year-old Mapple, both equaling his first-round buoy count of 3 at 41 off. Mapple, the top seed of the second round, went down at mid-39, but was still ensured a spot in the finals, because his highest score edged out Degasperi's.
This set up a head-to-head semifinal round with the No. 1 seed, Parrish, versus Andy Mapple, and the No. 3 seed, Smith, versus Asher. With both boats running together at the same time in parallel courses, the action was intense and fun to follow. After a 32-off start, Mapple and Parrish, each skiing comfortably behind their boat sponsor's Nautique 200, worked their way down the line to 38 off. Perhaps the lack of 36 mph training got to Mapple, who couldn't reach 6 ball as he watched his teammate and employee (Parrish's ski sponsor is Mapple Skis) exit the gates with all six in the bag.
These five dudes collectively represent the greatest slalom skiers the world has ever seen. Left to right: Andy Mapple, Chris Parrish, Thomas Degasperi, Nate Smith, Will Asher.
Next on the water were Asher and Smith, who battled head-to-head at last year's Diablo Shores Pro Am in September, with Asher taking the win. This battle would be decided at 41 off once again. Neither skier had a great gate, but Asher's signature onside turn shot him over to three ball like a cannonball and he upped Smith's run by one buoy.
The finale was determined. Parrish vs. Asher. In this round, 35 off was the opening rope length and both competitors were extremely determined. "I had a job to do and was super focused," says Parrish. "The side-by-side course is different. At times Will's spray landed right in front of me."
Both skiers made cleaned house at 38 and 39 1/2 off, but Parrish looked a bit more in control of his destiny. A tailwind 41 off pass made both skiers work diligently at the gate. Both fought hard and were down-course around two ball, but survived the massive load across the wakes to tie each other with a score of 3 at 41 off.
A runoff would decide the winner, but this time with a headwind 41 off. Parrish was on point with his gate this time, destroying one, two, and three ball and making his over to four. "When I looked up at Will after I rounded four ball, I knew I had won because I could see the expression on his face," says Parrish.
Parrish was quick to thank his sponsors Nautique, Mapple Skis, Eagle, and Naked Turtle. "They’ve really stood by me, and now I’m motivated more than ever to make 2013 my best season ever!"
Perhaps no other athlete in the history of the sport has risen from relative obscurity to world domination as quickly as Nate Smith. In 2010, Smith was ranked 20th in the world when he come out of nowhere to take second at the Global Invitational. In 2011, Smith counted the number of times he ran 39 off; the tally ended at 37. In 2012 he stopped counting 39s and started counting complete passes are 41 off; that tally ended at 9. In addition to running 41 off nine times in one year, Smith also placed first at more than half of all the major events he entered.
The best way to describe Nate and his success is to say he lets his skiing speak for itself. Whoever is familiar with him knows he is a man of few words, unless, you ask him about Nautique, D3 Skis or the Indianapolis Colts. All kidding aside, Nate is as down to earth, mellow and humble as they come. After an amazing 2012 season decorated with six professional wins, eight scores into 43 off, and a nice spot atop the elite ranking list, it is no secret he is competitive. He is great at putting his game face on time and time again. What many people do not know about Nate, is that his consistency and continual success is derived from a pure desire to just ski. It is as simple as that, he loves to chase buoys. His motivation doesn't come from a need for fame or fortune, he just wants to be the absolute best he can be. Rain or shine, snow or sleet, Nate wakes up every morning and wants to be on the water.
Do not let his few (wisely chosen) words fool you. Nate is analytical, precise, logical and calculated. Just as art mimics life, Nate's calm and collected approach to everything off the water is exemplified in the course. He has made the entire industry rethink what was once thought as "truths."
After spending the past year, practically skiing every day together, I am continually amazed by his calm attitude. He doesn’t get upset with a bad practice set, or a poor tournament score. He looks at it as a trial and error project by continually refining his skills. Even the bad sets make him better, he learns something from them. He decided one day that if anyone could do it, so could he. He more than proved that in 2012.
In years to come, I believe Nate's deep rooted love for the sport, his even-keeled attitude, and his dedication to achieve will prove that he is not only the 2012 Skier of the Year, but also a legend in the making.
Nate Smith (McCordsville, Ind.) and Regina Jaquess (Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.) have been selected USA Water Ski's 2012 Male Athlete of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year, respectively. The U.S. Pan American Championships Water Ski Teams (Under 13, Under 17, Under 21, Elite, Over 35 and Over 45) earned USA Water Ski's 2012 Team of the Year honors, while Jeff Surdej (Wilmington, Ill.), the coach of the U.S. Pan American Championships Water Ski Teams, was selected USA Water Ski's National Coach of the Year. The USA Water Ski Awards Committee selected the award winners.
In addition, the USA Water Ski Awards Committee announced that Rhoni Barton-Bischoff (Orlando, Fla.) is the recipient of USA Water Ski's Award of Merit, the organization's highest award for a volunteer; Duane Snow (Janesville, Wis.) is the Volunteer of the Year; Teri Larson-Jones (Monona, Wis.) is the recipient of the organization's That's Incredible Award; and Dale Stevens (Wellington, Fla.) and Brian Heeney (Helena, Mont.) will receive the Innovator Award.
USA Water Ski and its respective sport disciplines will honor several athletes, coaches, volunteers and ambassadors at its annual awards reception on Saturday, Jan. 26 at the Lake Eva Banquet Hall in Haines City, Fla. The reception, which celebrates the 2012 water ski season, will be held in conjunction with USA Water Ski's mid-winter board meetings for the 13th consecutive year. The respective award winners were selected either by the USA Water Ski Awards Committee or by the sport discipline's organization. Mark Jackson and Hank Longo from Central Florida's Polk County Sports Marketing will serve as the masters of ceremonies. The awards reception is open to the public. Contact Sandy Hardee at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on pricing and availability.
Smith won men's slalom titles in 2012 at the Moomba Masters, U.S. Masters, Malibu Open, Calgary Pro Shootout and Soaked Orlando. He ran 39-1/2 off 53 times out of 60 possible rounds, and 41 off eight times, one more time than last year.
U.S. water ski athletes Nate Smith and Regina Jaquess each won respective slalom titles Saturday night at the inaugural Soaked water sports festival on Orlando's famed Lake Eola.Smith won the men's slalom title, out-dueling Italy's Thomas Degasperi in a thrilling showdown. After both skiers tied in the finals with 1 buoy at 43 feet off, it took four runoffs before Smith was declared the winner in head-to-head rules, scoring 1 buoy at 43 feet off as the first skier off the dock. Degasperi needed to better the score to win, but he tied with 1 buoy at 43 feet off. Prior to that runoff, Smith and Degasperi tied in runoffs with scores of 3 at 41 off, 1 at 43 off and 1 at 43 off.
Jaquess won the women's slalom title, scoring 1 buoy at 41 feet off. France's Manon Costard finished runner-up, scoring ½-buoy at 41 feet off. The men's and women's slalom competitions were run on a 4-buoy course.
Combining extreme sports, family-friendly entertainment and music in the world capital of water skiing, Soaked was a new extreme water sports festival taking over downtown Orlando's iconic centerpiece, Lake Eola. Soaked featured world champion water skiers competing for $100,000, along with live bands and more. Some of the best athletes from around the world hit the lake during the day for slalom skiing, while in the evening the grand finale was a spectacular night jumping competition set on an illuminated Lake Eola.
Canada's Ryan Dodd won the men's jumping title, defeating U.S. water ski athlete Freddy Krueger in the head-to-head super final with a distance of 208 feet to Krueger's 206-foot effort.
Dodd earned the top seed for the finals of men's jumping with a distance of 220 feet. Krueger earned the No. 2 seed with a distance of 219 feet. Other jumpers earning berths in the finals were U.S. athletes Jimmy Siemers and Scot Ellis, Great Britain's Tom Asher and Chile's Rodrigo Miranda.
France's Marion Mathieu won the women's jumping title, defeating U.S. athlete Lauren Morgan by one-tenth-of-a-meter. Belgium's Kate Adriaensen earned the top seed in the finals with a distance of 155 feet, followed by Morgan (155 feet) and Australia's Jacinta Carroll (154 feet). Other jumpers earning berths in the finals were Mathieu, Jaquess and Greece's Marie Vympranietsova.
Jaquess earned the top seed for the finals of women's slalom by scoring 1 buoy at 41 feet off. Canada's Whitney McClintock scored ½-buoys at 41 feet, but injured an ankle in the process and did not compete in the finals. U.S. athletes Karen Truelove and April Coble-Eller also advanced to the finals, along with Canada's Breanne Wagner.
Great Britain's Will Asher and Degasperi earned the top scores in the semifinals of men's slalom, each scoring 1 buoy at 43 feet off. Other finalists were U.S. athletes Chris Rossi (3 at 41), Smith (3 at 41) and Jon Travers (2-1/2 at 41), along with New Zealand's Aaron Larkin (2 at 41). Larkin defeated U.S. athlete K.C. Wilson in a runoff for the final spot. After both skiers tied with scores of 2 buoys at 41 feet off, Larkin scored 1 at 43 with Wilson failing to get through 39-1/2 off.
In other events, U.S. athlete Russell Gay (Winter Garden, Fla.) won the Chipotle Trick Challenge, earning a $1,500.00 cash prize and a year of Chipotle burritos.USA Waterski.org
August 3rd & 4th: 2012 Malibu Open, Milwaukee, WI
Energy was running high as the world's best water skiers stormed into Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the Malibu Open on Aug. 3-4. The RESPONSE TXi would serve as the official towboat, and confidence was running high, as this boat already debuted at last year's Malibu Open and went on to tow several world records. Fans packed the shore and also tuned around the world on the live webcast produced by Eagle Wetsuits.
Mens Slalom saw the most heated battle of the weekend, possibly the highest cut lines in tour history. Skiers had to make 2 @ 41 off just to make it to the quarterfinal round of 16, then 3 @ 41 to make the semi final round of 6 skiers. Several skiers ran into 41 and didn't make the cut. Nate Smith took the win, with Chris Rossi in second and Will Asher in third. Another fun fact: 39 off was run 38 times at the Malibu Open this year. (The Pro Ski Tour)
The 2012 Malibu Open hosted more than just record-breaking runs. This year saw the first annual WATERSKI Awards ceremony, where editor Todd Ristorcelli honored ten of the world's best water skiers in the following categories: Male and Female Slalom Skier of the Year, Male and Female Tricker of the Year, Male and Female Jumper of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, Skier of the Year, and Male and Female Junior of the Year. Male Slalom Skier of the Year. At just 21, Nate Smith is doing what most guys take decades to figure out, if they ever do. He knows how to use the boat to maximize his performance, which is one reason he's run 41 off six times — that's more than anyone else ever has — in record events since last September. Smith times his cross-course attack perfectly with Zero Off, reducing the boat's surge and allowing him to move freely into the turn in the most efficient manner. Watch him ski and you’ll immediately notice that he is always light on the handle. Smith's rise in the sport has been as laid-back as his personality: He says he watched his dad ski, but never got into coaching. He doesn’t mess with his fin and rides a stock D3 X7 ski that "anyone could get off the street," as he puts it. Over the course of the last 12 months, he's won slalom titles at several major events: the Katy Ski Jam, the Moomba Masters, the Masters and the Malibu Open (though the Open didn’t factor into the judging for this award).
The 70th annual GOODE Water Ski National Championships kicked off Tuesday at Okeeheelee Park in West Palm Beach, Fla., with 22 athletes winning national titles in respective events.
More than 600 water ski athletes from across the United States are competed for national titles in slalom, tricks, jumping and overall in respective age divisions and two Open divisions during the five-day tournament that culminates Saturday.
Open Men Slalom Results: 1. Chris Parish 2. Nick Parsons 3. Chris Rossi 4th. Nate Smith 5. Terry Winter(USAWATERSKI.ORG)
Pro Water Ski Jumping, and Slalom event held at the Lakes of Kastynstone, hosted by Predator Bay Water Ski Club, following the 2012 Canadian Water Ski Championships which ran from August 13th to 16th, hosted by Water Ski Wakeboard Alberta & Predator Bay Water Ski Club.
The Calgary Pro Water Ski Shoot-Out had Cash & prizes over $60,000 and was proudly presented by Precision Drilling, with partners, Martins Motorsport & Mastercraft, FarWest OutDoor, Alta. Capital Corp.. Mackie Economic Research, Core Design Group, and numerous Industry Suppliers.
MCCORDSVILLE - Just off a Hancock County road is Champion Lake. It's really just a big neighborhood pond. But a series of buoys in the water makes for a backyard water obstacle course and is home to the world's best slalom water skier.
"This is where I grew up," said Nate Smith, standing on the dock in his backyard. "It's where I learned to ski. After traveling places, skiing different lakes and training other places I would come back here and say this is a very hard place to ski. It's a shallower lake. That makes the water harder and faster."
Smith's family moved to a house on Champion Lake when he was five years old. Smith grew up walking out the back door and onto the water, even in the winter.
"We don't let the cold stop us," said Smith. "If the lake freezes, as soon as it gets thin enough that we can break it, we go out there and bust the ice up and ski. I know last year there was a day we skied where the water was 36 degrees and the air was 27. There was ice forming on the sides of the boat and the windshield and it was snowing. We were out there skiing."
Two years ago, Smith reluctantly entered his first pro tournament and finished second. This year, he won both of the major world slalom water skiing events, in Georgia and Australia. At age 21, Smith is making a big splash in the sport.
"It's pretty amazing to me," admitted Smith. "A lot of people don't expect somebody from Indiana to come out and ski on the pro scene. They're really all from Florida."
The pull boat in slalom water skiing moves in a straight line at a constant 36 miles an hour, assisted by an onboard GPS system. The competitor skis back and forth across the wake, making turns around six buoys, 3 on each side of the boat. A pass takes about 16 seconds. But with each pass, the rope is shortened until the skier fails to get around a buoy.
Nate is the youngest skier and one of only six ever to complete a run at 41 off. That terminology means 41 feet tied off the 75 foot full length rope.
So at that point the rope is just 34 feet out to the handle and doesn't even reach the buoy. Nate has to stretch his body to get around the turns.
"My goal is to try to be as early and as wide to the next buoy as possible," said Smith. "So you've got to create as much angle to try to get across the wake as fast as you can as early as you can into that next buoy."
The Mount Vernon High School graduate now makes money skiing around the world.
"They want to pay me to do what I thought was just something fun in the backyard," said Smith. "I now get paid by several sponsors. They pay for my trips, a salary for me and all my equipment."
He enjoys a career that began right at home on the water.(McCordsville water skier ranked best in the world!)