The latest Waterski Pro Tour event at Lymanland near Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was the last jump competition of the Tour and, with just two more slalom contests to come, there was plenty to play for. Aside from the Tour, a men’s tricks competition, using new technology to give competitors and webcast viewers access to the judges’ real-time scores, was an added bonus.
In the women’s slalom, six went through after two preliminary rounds and it was the same three who made the podium as at last weekend’s MasterCraft Pro, but with the first and third place switched.
Canada’s Jaimee Bull went into the final as top seed, scoring firstname.lastname@example.org (39.5’ off) in both preliminary rounds, but she was unable to secure back-to-back wins, with email@example.com enough for third. Her compatriot Whitney McClintock Rini was second once again, with firstname.lastname@example.org. Victory went to Regina Jaquess (USA) with email@example.com (41’ off), giving the Malibu-sponsored athlete her 10th Malibu Open title.
From a large field of 23 in the men’s slalom, eight made the final, which turned out to be one of the most closely contested we’ve seen, requiring a four-way run-off to decide the winner.
Two Britons, Will Asher and the MasterCraft Pro winner Freddie Winter, Italy’s Thomas Degasperi and Stephen Neveu of Canada all made firstname.lastname@example.org (41’ off). TGas was the one who missed out on the podium with email@example.com in the run-off. Stephen Neveu put the pressure on the remaining two with another firstname.lastname@example.org. Will Asher was next out and was close to running 10.25m, ending up with 5 buoys scored. It proved just too much for top seed Freddie Winter, who had to settle for second with email@example.com. So, Will’s phenomenal season continues and he joins the elite few to have won a pro tournament at the age of 40 or over. It’s also his 7th Malibu Open win.
The women’s jump saw the winner of the slalom, Regina Jaquess, hit big red for the first time in competition in more than 15 months, following her knee surgery. While she didn’t make the podium, 46.5m (153’) was good enough for fourth place. Hanna Straltsova (IWWF) won by a slim margin with 52.0m (171’) ahead of the reigning Overall World Champion, Sasha Danisheuskaya (IWWF) with 51.6m (169’). Third place went to the Under-21 World Jump Champion, Agustina Varas of Chile with 47.4m (156’).
Conditions were more challenging by the time the men went out. Even so, the inconsistent tailwind didn’t prevent the top seven all registering jumps in excess of 60m. The up and coming American, 20-year-old William Roberts, just missed out on a first pro podium with fourth place. The 1-2-3 was a repeat of the MasterCraft Pro; the World Jump Champion and world record holder Ryan Dodd (CAN) squeaked it with 67.0m (220’) ahead of Freddy Krueger (USA) with 66.6m (219’) and Joel Poland (GBR) with 65.8m (216’). The same names, in the same order, make up the 1-2-3 in the final 2022 Waterski Pro Tour standings.
The Goode Tricks Challenge was a straight two-round men’s competition with the best points score counting. GB’s Joel Poland picked up his second professional tricks win, exceeding 11,000 points in both rounds, his best coming in round one (11,720). Jake Abelson (USA) was second (11,440) and Martin Kolman (CZE) third (9,970).
If you missed it, it’s worth having a look back at the webcast to see eyeTrick, the future of tricks scoring, in action. The TWBC webcast showed the live scores of each individual trick as the judges gave them, with a rolling total. It’s going to make watching trick skiing a whole lot more exciting and interesting!