Nick Parsons isn’t your typical pro water skier — or human being, for that matter. The full-time Bountiful, Utah, resident doesn’t get nearly as much water time as his competitors in Central Florida, but he’s OK with that. Sometimes coy, sometimes wildly whacky with amusing, unpredictable behavior, he seems to take each day as it comes and doesn’t worry too much about the details. At 27 years old with a degree in civil engineering from the University of Utah, the 6-foot, 5-inch-tall slalom giant could be the most underrated skier on tour. It appears Parsons’ random disposition transfers to his tournament performances. He’ll put together a string of placements outside the top 10 and then, all of a sudden, he’ll win an event. His most recent win was the final stop of the 2009 Waterski World Cup in Putrajaya, Malaysia, in early November. It was there he defeated the likes of world champ Will Asher and world record holder Chris Parrish in extremely challenging conditions. We caught up with Parsons shortly after his victory to hear the highlights of the past summer and see what’s up his sleeve for the offseason.
Do you live to ski or ski to live? I live to ski. I wake up every day and that’s all I think about, so I definitely live to ski.
Your dad is a competitive skier in his own right. Tell us about your relationship with him. My dad has been skiing for a long time. He probably skis more than I do. We ski together almost 50 percent of the time throughout the entire summer. He’s a good driver. He drives me and I drive him, so it’s great. There’s lots of bonding and stuff.
Is that where you get your whacky sense of humor? Yeah. My dad is pretty crazy. He’s a good guy.
What is the craziest thing you’ve done in the last week? I’ve been playing it pretty cool lately. I was pretty crazy during my last tournament, but I think I’ve been a little self-conscious about how crazy I get. I’ve been trying to be normal. Is that weird to say?
Share a couple of standout moments from 2009. I put together a pretty decent trip in July when I competed in the Alizee Cup at Eurolac in Crozet, France. It was my first victory of the year. A week after the event, I traveled through Italy and Germany because that’s something I’ve always wanted to do. It made my trip so much better after winning. I also went to a new tournament in northern England. I haven’t been that far north in England before. It was three or four hours north of London, and it was a great experience as well.
Tell us about your last tournament and victory in Putrajaya. We heard the water was like a washing machine. Yeah, the site is known for having really rough conditions. It’s a totally different type of skiing. One of my goals was to learn how to ski in those conditions, and I accomplished that.
What were the fans like? I don’t think they even knew what water skiing is. They thought it was cool how far we could jump, though. But other than that, I don’t know why they were there.
Did the ladies love you? I don’t think they’re supposed to. They’re Muslim.
Is it getting easier to win now that you have a few wins under your belt? Yeah, you definitely learn how to win. I mean, you can always be good enough to win, but learning how to win is definitely an experience.
Which skier can you not stand losing to? Why? I don’t like losing to anybody who I beat on a regular basis. Do I really have to give a name? OK, I really don’t like losing to Chris Rossi. I think he talks a big game, and it’s fun to beat him.
What was it like growing up as a competitive water skier in Utah? The season isn’t long — from May to September and then there’s the occasional ski set in the fall. I wasn’t super stoked about skiing in a drysuit. The summers are good!
Why haven’t you made Central Florida home like many of your competitors? I don’t know why, but I’ve always hated Florida. I hate being down there in the summers. I just can’t stand that muggy, hot, sticky stuff. It really gets to me.
Do you have to work harder because of it? I think I have to put that extra step in to want to train in the winter and push myself in the spring and in the fall here in Utah. I think it requires a little bit more effort.
What does your offseason workout consist of? I just tried a speed and agility class that I thought was great. It wasn’t like lifting heavy weights or anything. It was more lifting your own body weight. I enjoyed that a lot more than just going to the gym and doing my own workout. I have a trainer too, so that always helps.
How much time do you spend snow skiing in the winter? I think I put in about 40 days. I’ve average that many days for the past five seasons.
Are you a competitive snow skier as well? I recently joined a couple of racing clubs. So for past two seasons, I’ve been doing that. I’ve actually been doing more of that than just free-skiing. I’ve started to enjoy that more. It’s kind of a similar atmosphere to water skiing. It’s been a lot of fun.
What are your plans for the offseason? I plan to be in Utah for most of the offseason. I’ve a got a few trips planned to Costa Rica. On one of the trips, I’m going to spend a couple of weeks in Nicaragua and go surfing. That will be really cool. But as far as winter training, I’m going to Phoenix about four or five times to get ready for the 2010 season.
OK, to wrap up this interview, answer a few random questions. If you had to give yourself a nickname, what would it be? The male host.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind after hearing a toilet flush Well, now that’s taken care of.
If you could be anyone in the world for a day, who would it be? Why? I’d be James Bond. His lifestyle is 10 times better than anyone else’s on earth.
If you weren’t a professional skier, what would you be doing? Modeling. I practically arrived from the womb with “blue steel” face.
Photos: Todd Ristorcelli