Published on Wednesday, 29 April 2015 20:32
I flew Delta out of Atlanta into Mexico City and connected with AeroMexico into Acapulco. Many skiers took the easier route through Houston and directly to Acapulco on United Express.
The lake site is only 15 minutes from the airport. I arrived for a very windy, late Friday afternoon practice set in some choppy conditions, but ran my 35' giving me confidence for Saturday.
Most skiers checked in to the Princess Hotel and it was beautiful with great pools, bars and rooms.
Dinner at a great Steak house Friday night with Chad, Bruce, Marc and Jen, Nicole, and Harold and his new fiancé Theresa. And yes, that's cotton candy for dessert!!
First set Saturday I was third off the dock after a few other skiers in different divisions. Only slightly nervous. Smooth water with no wind that was moving the water around a bit, but after smoking my 35’ the day prior in extremely tough conditions, I knew I was ready. Ran 28. Narrow gate 32. Getting through the pass fine and making space, and a little check turn at 5, the ski stopped. Fell. 4.5@32. Bummed.
Second set water felt better but a slight tail off the dock had come up. 28, 32, tail 35 with another narrow start. Patient but running out of room by 5 ball. Stuck the ski around 5 with a very late pull to inside 6 ball for a 5@35. Bummed again.
Not to happy having a 183.5 total buoy count, 88.5 and 95, well off my 99.5 average and what I've been skiing off the dock, up the line, at various sites the last few weeks leading up to the tournament. Ended up 10th out of 12 Big Dawg skiers and after the four top Latin Skiers were added into the Sweet 16, I slid back 14th and was paired up with long time friend and mentor Chad Scott for the Head to Head Sunday.
Great Saturday night banquet at Gordon's villa. Beautiful sunset as well. Mariachi band with authentic Mexican dinner and multiple beverages had by all. The villa at Ski Paradise is worth the trip alone!!!
H2H Sunday against Chad. Side by side skiing was fun to watch as Chad and I were the 6th grouping off the dock. Mandatory Start at 32' off and Chad pushed me to the far left course that nobody had skied until Sunday. A little bit of trash talking on the dock and off we go. Easy first pass with a very light headwind. More trash talking in the water and then coming back at 35'. This was my best pass of the entire weekend. I had a great gate, finally stayed focused, no bobbles and never had any concerns throughout the pass. Not sure why I couldn't do that both rounds on Saturday! More trash talking in the water, then off we go at 38'. I felt like I hit my gate mark well but a bit too anxious with a hard turn in and fast at one ball. Put in way too much effort behind the boat and got pulled narrow and no swing with bad direction into 2 ballt. Yard sale over the front and either got my hand into the handle or hit my detached ski with my hand during the fall. Short swim to the pickup boat. Not happy as four ball was my goal, but we always want more. Happy to have overcome my horrible scores from Saturday and at least take a look at my hardest pass once.
My score into 38' moved me up ahead of two Latin Skiers as well as one US Skier, and Erik Kolb jumped ahead of me with a good showing of 4@38 after missing his opener and his 35' on Saturday, which was great mental and toughness and focus for him!
My final finish in the standings was 12th, which gave me 34 points for the 2015 Big Dawg Series. Off to the hand specialist and some X-rays and MRI on my left hand/thumb. Hope it's just a bad strain. Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation until then.
Big thanks to Gordon and his wife, all of the tech controllers, judges and drivers that made the event happen. Nicole and Nautique did a great job with the event with lots of help from Greg Badal and Marc Shaw and many others!
If you have a chance to book a trip to Ski Paradise, I highly recommend the entire experience. It's definitely a site that should be on everyone's Bucket List! And if you think you are not good enough to enter a Nautique Big Dawg tournament you are wrong. Skiers of every ability show up and challenge themselves at great sites under even better conditions and some challenging venues as well. All the skiers are great on and off the water and if you are addicted to the sport and have enough passion and self-motivation, set a goal and show up on the dock…you will have a BLAST!!