We call it the ultimate slalom battle. That's what you get when you invite three world-class ski boat manufacturers, ask them to assemble their finest four-person slalom team and battle it out at one of the premier water-ski sites in the world. The third annual WaterSki Pro Slalom Shootout and Team Challenge transpired at the Swiss Ski School in Clermont, Florida, on July 10. And, as usual, there was a lot riding on this event for Correct Craft, Malibu and MasterCraft — team pride and bragging rights until the next battle.
Whether or not you've noticed, the competition to build the best ski boat in the world is just as intense as the actual pro events they pull. The boat manufacturers want to win the battle on the water just as much as their respective teams of pro skiers. It's that competitive drive that is reflected in the quality and performance of their product. Let's be honest, with these superior water machines, there's no blaming the boat.
This year, we modified the event once again to keep it fresh. Enter the mulligan round. Instead of exhausting competitors like we did at last year's 38 Off Spin It to Win It endurance competition, we rewarded them with a Mulligan Round. Early fall? No problem. We allowed the all-star cast of skiers — like Correct Craft's Chris Parrish, Malibu's Will Asher and MasterCraft's Marcus Brown — another shot at the pass they missed. That way there are no excuses left on the table, and the athletes could really lay it on the line.
And don't forget about the highly coveted head-to-head-to-head team challenge competition. Last year it came down to the final heat to declare a winner. Did Malibu reign as three-peat champs or did Correct Craft or MasterCraft dethrone the two-time winners? Let the battle begin.
Every tournament slalom skier has had a case of the “what ifs” after a sub-par set or early fall. What if I was a bit more patient at three ball? What if I didn't miss-grab the handle? What if I had another shot? What if?… what if?… what if? Naturally, there can be a lot of second-guesses in our sport. Pressure-wise, tournament skiing is one of the most mentally demanding events you can compete in. There are no second chances. A fall, a single missed buoy, and it's over. The course has no pity.
WaterSki believes in second chances, though. That's why we stepped slightly out of the confines of traditional slalom tournament rules and instituted a mulligan/re-ride for the individual round of the team challenge. With this experimental format, competitors could rest assure their best of two attempts would count toward placement, and they could really put it all on the line. The tournament-certified Masterline rope was about to get some action.
|Skier||Place||Off the Dock||Mulligan|
|Emma Sheers||1st||2 at 39.5 off||4 at 39.5 off|
|Karen Truelove||2nd||1.5 at 38 off||2 at 39.5 off|
|Will Asher||1st||1 at 41 off||4 at 41 off|
|Chris Parrish||2nd (tie)||2 at 41 off||2 at 41 off|
|Thomas Moore||2nd (tie)||2 at 41 off||2 at 41 off|
|Jon Travers||2nd (tie)||2 at 41 off||1.5 at 41 off|
A heated battle — no phrase better defines the third-annual Pro Slalom Shootout Team Challenge. Not only was the head-to-head-to-head challenge between teams Correct Craft, Malibu and MasterCraft a grueling fight for team pride and bragging rights, but the sweltering Central Florida heat and humidity only intensified the action on the water for the athletes.
For each heat, 30 points were awarded for first place, 20 points for second, 10 points for third and points were split for ties.
|1||Drew Ross||Seth Stisher||Jon Travers|
|Score||.5 at 39.5||2.5 at 39.5||1 at 41|
|2||Nick Parsons||Thomas Moore||Jeff Rodgers|
|Score||1.5 at 41||2 at 41||5.5 at 39.5|
|3||Emma Sheers||Karen Truelove||Kristi Overton Johnson|
|Score||2 at 39.5||1.5 at 39.5||2.5 at 38|
|4||Will Asher||Marcus Brown||Chris Parrish|
|Score||2 at 41||3 at 39.5||3.5 at 39.5|
|Total||90 Points||80 Points||70 Points|