Congrats! How does it feel to be inducted into the Water Ski Hall of Fame?
It really is meaningful and an honor because, I think, of all the awards you get in water skiing, I think being inducted into the Hall of Fame is probably the most prestigious. It takes multiple wins and longevity, and doing something special, so I think it’s the most prestigious award.
It must feel good to hear people like Russell Gay say that you’ve been the leader in paving the way for trick skiing, and changing the sport.
Yeah, it really does. It was just one of those eras, where it went from lower points to so many more points in just a generation or two of skiers. I probably skied through two or three generations of skiers, just ’cause I started so young and ended pretty late.
You’ve broken a total of 24 world records. What’s the point difference between your first world record and your last one?
My first world record was, I believe, 6,450 points, and then when I quit, the world record was like 12,300 points. My last world record, I think, was like 11,620 points. The highest I scored was 11,920 points, but that’s when Nick had just run over 12,000 points. Basically, I doubled my score over my skiing career, which was a lot of changes. There were no toe steps, no body overs, no flips. It was all just lines, rotations and standard toes.
How seriously do you trick now?
I don’t trick every day. Sometimes I ski four or five times a week. It really depends on the weather and how busy we are here at the ski school (Cory Pickos Water Ski and Wakeboard School), but I ski more for exercise and for fun.
What’s your focus in life at this point?
I’d say keeping up with the ski school, and keeping up with my family, Adam [son], Alexis [daughter] and my wife, Rose. I’d say that’s really where all my energy is going now.
What has skiing taught you about life?
I’d imagine it’s taught me everything, ’cause that’s about the only thing I’ve ever done [laughs]. No, but it teaches you a lot of discipline, teaches you how to win, how to lose, and how to work hard.
If you could, would you do it all over again?
Oh, absolutely! What’s so cool is just all the memories of tournaments, all the people, sites, all the traveling, and skiing with Adam in the finals of the worlds (in 2009, in Canada). There’s just so many great memories.