It was back in 2014 that this site near Milan in Italy brought professional water skiing back to Europe with the first San Gervasio Pro Am. Other pro tournaments have since followed, leading to a resurgence in the sport on the continent. But at the weekend the original was back at the site of its European rebirth for the ninth edition of the San Gervasio Pro Am.
It was a fitting end to the European leg of the Waterski Pro Tour, taking place in the middle of the European heatwave, with perfect conditions on the water and at least one unexpected result.
In the women’s competition, there was no surprise that defending champion and current World Champion, Jaimee Bull, went through to the last eight as the top seed, scoring 0.5@ 10.25m (41’ off) in the first of two preliminary rounds. No surprise either that Freddie Winter was the top men’s seed since he ran 10.25m for the second successive week and scored firstname.lastname@example.org (43’ off) in round one to equal the course record.
The last eight women and men fought it out in a head-to-head knockout format with the highest seed in each pairing given the opportunity to choose either which of the two boats they would like to ski behind or whether to go out first or second. With the rules of the competition stating that in both the quarter-finals and semi-finals the second skier out had to beat the first’s score to progress, all the highest seeds chose to ski first.
In the women’s quarter-finals, the results went according to seeding. Jaimee Bull (CAN) beat Delfina Cuglievan (PER) to set up a semi-final against Ali Garcia (USA) who knocked out Bailey Austin (USA). Manon Costard (FRA) beat Alice Bagnoli (ITA) to meet Allie Nicholson (USA) in the second semi after she beat Jaime Metcalfe (NZL).
The shock came in the first semi when Jaimee Bull went down early, scoring email@example.com (38’ off), leaving the door wide open for Ali Garcia who skied round 5 on the same line length and straight into the final. There were big scores in the next semi but Manon Costard’s firstname.lastname@example.org (39.5’ off) wasn’t enough. Allie Nicholson got the extra half buoy.
In the final Nicholson went out first and ran 11.25m. She needed no more. As she waited and watched, Garcia scored email@example.com, her lowest of the weekend. So, Allie Nicholson took her first win of the season and her first at San Gervasio. Ali Garcia was second and Manon Costard third as she had the highest losing score in the semis.
The first of the men’s quarter-finals was a battle of the Brits, with Freddie Winter running 10.75m (39’5 off) and Rob Hazelwood scoring 5.5 on the same length. Then it was two Italians and, after Brando Caruso got firstname.lastname@example.org, Matteo Luzzeri – multi-tasking as one of the main organisers of the event – knew he would have to get a personal best to beat him. He didn’t quite make it, going out with email@example.com. Another Italian, Thomas Degasperi, matched Caruso’s score in the process of beating Sacha Descuns (FRA) by one buoy. In the last of the quarters, the firstname.lastname@example.org scored by Jon Travers (USA) meant Will Asher (GBR) – who had just cruised down 10.75m – had no problem making it to round 2 with a score of email@example.com.
In the semis, it was GBR vs GBR and Italy vs Italy again and both were decided on 10.25m. Winter and Asher both scored 3 but with Asher being the skier second off the dock, it was Winter who went through to the final. Caruso was first out in the second semi and laid down the challenge with firstname.lastname@example.org. No problem for the oldest man competing here. Degasperi ran 2.5.
In the final Winter’s impressive email@example.com proved too much for Degasperi who scored firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s the fourth time Winter has been victorious at San Gervasio. The third podium spot went to Will Asher.
There was also a Junior Challenge for U17 Boys and Girls, sponsored by Radar Skis. The winners were Tim Wild (GER) with email@example.com and Cristhiana de Osma (PER) with firstname.lastname@example.org.