For most of the pro skiers traveling to compete at the World Cup event in Palembang, Indonesia, held over Thanksgiving weekend, it was their longest flight ever. Based on their previous World Cup experiences, most skiers were prepared for challenging conditions. Regina Jaquess, who went on to win the women’s slalom title, posted an image from the site on her Facebook page with the comment, “Looks can be deceiving.”
The conditions even caught world-record holder Freddy Krueger by surprise. “Even standing at the lake’s edge watching the event, it was hard to figure out where all of the roll
Part of the sport is dealing with adverse conditions and trying to figure out how to adapt in the short time that you’re on the water competing. It almost keeps things a little more exciting, because anything can happen, and it’s fun to see which competitors have the focus and the never-surrender attitude when the conditions are less than ideal. This was evident in how close the results were, especially in the women’s slalom event, with Jaquess (2 1/4 at 35 off) narrowly winning over Anais Amade by a quarter of a buoy.
For Marion Mathieu, collecting the Palembang World Cup jump title took a more aggressive approach. “The conditions were tough,” Mathieu admits ”But when it’s like that, I just have to be tough and go for it.” Winning the final event of the year capped a career-best season for Mathieu, which included seven pro podium finishes and three professional titles.
One thing all skiers agree on is that the people in Palembang were amazing, and the crowd was great. “They were so friendly,” says Jacinta Carroll, who finished second, behind Mathieu. “Without events like this, we wouldn’t be building up the sport of water skiing. I know that the sites aren’t perfect and world records won’t be broken; however, these events provide the opportunity for waterskiing to grow as a sport and community.”
Krueger adds, “It’s amazing how many Facebook requests I get after a tournament like this. This is a very important part of what this sport needs, and that is mass exposure.”– Geena Krueger
Asher’s First World Cup Victory
By the fall of 2012, Will Asher had seemingly done it all. He had world-championship titles, professional wins, and a recent pending worldrecord on his resume. Surprisingly, one of water skiing’s accolades had managed to evade him: a World Cup title, or even a podium finish for that matter. “I had skied in six or seven World Cup events over the years,” Asher says, “but I just never put it together.” Admittedly, Asher’s approach to tournaments has always been an all-or-nothing approach, which has served him well throughout most of his career. The often-challenging conditions found at World Cup venues, however, require a more calculated approach. “I went far more conservative in Palembang than I normally do,” Asher reveals. “It was rolly and a bit unpredictable, so instead of going all out, I just went out and put out a score I felt would get me on the podium.” After posting 3 buoys at 38 off in the preliminary round, Asher navigated the bumpy Palembang waters to run 5 buoys at 38 off in the final – a score that would stand up against Chris Parrish, Thomas Degasperi and Nate Smith, who followed. “It wasn’t my typical mind-set in the finals of a pro event, but it paid off. I guess I’m still learning,” he says.–Trent Finlayson