The 2012 Nationals was an amazing event, featured in Florida at Okeeheelee Ski Park, and running from August 14th to the 18th. This was the first year that the Nationals was run in conjunction with a Big Dawg Event. This allowed skiers and spectators a like to witness some of the best 34 mph skiers in the world. They chose to run the final 8 on Friday night under the lights in a head to head format. The night finals for the Big Dawgs drew a big crowd to witness some amazing performances by the big Dawgs. Some of the outstanding performances in the Big Dawg included Greg Badal with a score of 4.5 at 41 off to set a new pending Masters Men record. Unfortunately for Badal this record was soon after surpassed by Todd Ristocelli who ran 5 at 41 off in Master’s Men division at the Nationals to go along with his victory in the Big Dawg running 4 at 41 to take the win in the dark.
But this wasn’t the only thing that happened at the nationals, there was another national record set by Erica Lang in the tricks event. This was one of many amazing performances making the girls three event the premier women’s event with the girls posting countless scores into 35 off as well as standing up trick passes and going big in the jumping event. But one girls three competitor who was missing from the action was Makayla Haw who elected to ski open rather than her final year in girls three. This was considered by many to be a wise decision and she tied for first in the women’s slalom event with April Coble-Eller, finishing second after a run off for first place.
The open men’s slalom was also a very exciting event to watch as 39 off’s were being knocked down with a sense of ease. Chris Parrish won the event with a score of 3 at 41 off after skiing in a run off with Chris Rossi. The open men and women skied in the first two days of the nationals and many headed of to Calgary for a professional event following the Canadian Nationals. This is something that I feel AWSA should work at to bring back, the U.S. Open, which used to run simultaneously. In my opinion this would bring in more spectators and allow national competitors to view and interact with the best skiers in the world.
At this years nationals they featured a system called Splash Eye in the slaloming event, which had both some pros and some cons to it. One of the pros that I saw was that you were able to use one to two fewer judges to run the event due to its video capabilities. Although with all of this new equipment there will be some bugs that need to be worked out. I was a judge in the boys 2 event in the tower and found it to be very difficult to see anything on the video, which for us was of the gates. Another hiccup that was evident was the fact that when officials needed to review a particular pass it was quite time consuming for them.
Overall the 2012 USA Water-ski Nationals seemed to be run with out any hiccups, and there seemed to be none who left without a smile on their face. Although there were a few rain and lightning delays that took place over the 5 days. Luckily for 90% of the tournament conditions were ideal and this was reflected in the high scores. I would like to thank all of the hard working officials and people behind the scenes who put on the event, and made it possible. I look forward to coming back to this site next year!
Also check out some of the pictures that I have included from the event.
-For more pictures they are visible to the public on facebook, and videos on youtube.