Once a slumberous fishing town, St. Tropez, which is located 60 miles east of Marseille on the French Riviera, is asleep no more. These days, it’s known as an international playground for the rich, the beautiful and the famous. So, naturally, when U.S. slalom skier Ty Oppenlander got the call from his ski sponsor, Sans Rival, requesting his presence in this region of France, he wasted no time in packing his bags. “When’s my flight was all I asked,” Oppenlander recounts. “I really didn’t ask for any other details. I knew we’d have three days to get in, get our shots, check out the city and get out. We get to travel to some amazing places, but it’s typically the same circuit every year: Melbourne, Michigan, Wisconsin, London.
And it’s cool, but St. Tropez is somewhere I’ve always wanted to check out, so I was amped right from the start.”
In an attempt to think dramatically beyond the typical central Florida water ski photo shoot, Sans Rival planned to photograph the lavish beauty of the French beaches and million-dollar yachts for use in their 2012 promotional materials. The seemingly outlandish idea actually makes sense. Sans Rival owner Alex Munninger has been skiing in the area for years and it had inspired his unique vision for the brand and for water skiing. “It isn’t all about professional tournament skiing,” Munninger says. “I’m hoping to capture the true lifestyle of skiing and let that guide Sans Rival. I’m driven by technology and producing the best high-end skis available, but it’s days spent on the lake with friends and family that truly inspire us.”