Team GOODE’s Freddie Winter saved his best of 2014 for last, running 1 buoy at 43 off at his last tournament of the year to join the select 43-off club and in the process tie the European and Great Britain Open Men’s slalom records.
Freddie actually got 6 at 41 off twice at this weekend’s TriLakes tournament at Bennett’s Ski School, but only one resulted in getting a crack at 43 off. He first scored a full 6 at 41 off on Saturday, but lost the handle before exiting the gates. The next day he again got around six ball and back to the wakes, but this time held on through the gates, ultimately ending up with 1 at 43.
Currently ranked No. 5 on the IWWF world rankings list with an average of 70.75 buoys (4.75 at 41 off), Freddie should make quite the leap in the next rankings when his score of 1 at 43 is paired with a 5.25 at 41 he got earlier this season.
The U.S. Open water ski championships haven’t been held since 2007, but Regina Jaquess made sure that the end result in Women’s slalom was the same as most other tournaments held since: with her standing on top of the podium.
Regina topped fellow Team GOODE skier April Coble-Eller in the Women’s slalom head-to-head finals to earn her fifth major title of 2014 and assure that she’ll finish the year atop the IWWF Elite Rankings List. And as if to put a cherry on top of her year, Regina also took home the U.S. Open Women’s overall title.
April’s second-place finish caps a remarkably great and consistent year for her, as she earned top-three finishes at the GOODE U.S. Water Ski National Championships, MasterCraft Pro Shootout, Masters, Malibu Open, and Moomba Masters. In the past two months she’s also become the sixth Woman into 41 off and won the 35+ Women’s World Slalom title.
On the Men’s side, Team GOODE’s Chris Parrish advanced to the finals, finishing in a tie for fourth place with Joel Howley. Nate Smith, Will Asher and Brian Detrick finished first through third, respectively. Team GOODE’s Thomas Degasperi, ranked No. 2 on the IWWF Elite Rankings List, missed the tournament with injury.
After a seven-year hiatus, the U.S. Open returns to the water this weekend in Central Florida.
The Nautique U.S. Open of Water Skiing – featuring slalom, tricks and jumping – kicks off Thursday with two days of preliminary round action at Grew Lake, adjacent to USA Water Ski headquarters in Polk City.
Saturday’s finals will be held on Lake Ivanhoe in downtown Orlando.
Team GOODE athletes expected to compete include: Thomas Degasperi, Regina Jaquess, Chris Parrish, April Coble-Eller, Karen Truelove, Nick Parsons, Carlo Allais, Erika Lang, Lauren Morgan, and Benjamin Stadlbaur.
For more information, including schedule, running order and the webcast of Saturday’s final, visit nautique.com/usopen. For live scoring (including the preliminaries), click here.
Team GOODE had a great showing at the 2014 NCWSA Nationals as Dane Mecheler won the Men’s national collegiate slalom title with a huge score of 2 buoys at 41 off, while Freddie Winter took third and Adam Pickos tied for fifth.
On the Women’s side, Eloise Whitlock finished tied for third while Lauren Morgan took fifth.
Sunset Lakes was a sea of colors as the flags of 29 countries flew over last weekend’s 35+ World Water Ski Championships in Groveland, Fla. But it was orange and black that were the most conspicuous on the slalom podiums as GOODE skiers won six of eight golds and 14 of 24 slalom medals.
Team GOODE swept the top spot on all four Women’s slalom podiums, as April Coble-Eller (35+), Lori Krueger (45+), Joy Kelley (55+), and Ruth Johnston (65+) took home gold medals. Additional GOODE Women’s skiers earning medals were Florence Trible (bronze, 35+), Patrician Cordiero (bronze, 45+), Cyndi Benzel (silver, 55+), Kandise Bertelson (55+), and Shirley Coble (bronze, 65+).
On the Men’s side, Chet Raley and Richard Lambert won gold medals in Men’s 55+ and 65+, respectively. Jay Leach (bronze, 35+), Lonnie Harris (bronze, 55+) and Dennis Longo (bronze, 65+) also earned medals.
For full results, click here.
April Coble-Eller 1@39
Brenda Baldwin 2@38
Florence Trible 0.5 @38
Lori Krueger 2.5@38
Jennifer Lapoint 2.25 @38
Patricia Cordeiro 2@38
Michael Robinson didn’t know it at the time, but as the first day of the GOODE Bracket Challenge Finals ended in Ogden, Utah, his odds of winning the $5,000 perfect bracket grand prize had just improved dramatically.
Jeremy Newby-Ricci had just topped Chad Scott, while Dave Miller had taken out Jay Leach to advance to a finals match up with Jeremy; just as Michael, a Men’s 5 skier from South Carolina, had predicted when he filled out his bracket in May.
As day two of the Finals began, all Michael needed to pocket five thousand large ones was his pick to win it all – Jeremy – beating Dave in the head-to-head.
“I really wanted to win the tournament because the competition was so tough and the format was a lot of fun,” said Jeremy, who’d done the math on his own and knew that the perfect bracket rested on his shoulders. “But I have to say that knowing I’d either make or break a fan’s bracket put a little bit of extra pressure on me. I didn’t want to be the reason that someone missed out on that kind of money.”
In the end, Michael’s intuition in May held true in September as Jeremy posted a huge score of 3 buoys at 41 off to edge Dave’s 1.5 buoys at the same line length (for more details on the on-the-water competition, view the video here).
“No way, are you serious?” asked a stunned Michael when GOODE Skis president and founder Dave Goode called him from the lake to tell him he’d won $5,000.
At first thinking he had no chance of scoring the perfect bracket, Michael’s interest and optimism understandably increased with each round.
“I watched kinda casually through the Sweet 16,” said Michael, whose fan contest name was Summer skiOFF, “but I really started to pay attention with the Elite Eight. Even then I thought it was a long shot so I didn’t really talk about it too much, except with my wife Terri.”
So how did he pick Jeremy to win it all, and eschew the most popular fan pick, 2013 Bracket Challenge Champion Regina Jaquess?
“I saw Jeremy ski at the 2013 Big Dawg finals and was obviously impressed,” said Michael, himself the 2012 Men’s 4 U.S. national champion. “I knew he was a very accomplished skier and when you watch him ski he just gets it done. I actually saw him at Nationals this year and told him I picked him to win it all and wished him luck.”
Asked what he was going to do with the $5,000, Michael said that since learning about his newfound largess he and his wife have been able to pull the trigger on a trip to the Bahamas this December to celebrate their 28th wedding anniversary.
While money was at stake in the online fan contest, pride was the prize in the actual, on-the-water Bracket Challenge.
In the Final Four, No. 1 seed Jeremy faced off against No. 5 Chad, while the other side of the frame featured No. 2 Jay vs. No. 3 Dave.
Both Chad and Jay, southern fellas that they are, struggled a bit early on in the cooler water temperature, something that Jeremy and Dave, who hail from England and Canada respectively, weren’t fazed by. Chad and Jay recovered though in the 3rd/4th place match-up, both running into 41 off with Jay edging Chad for third place by a buoy with 1 at 41 off.
In the final round, Jeremy stayed true to his No. 1 seed and beat Dave, 3 buoys to 1.5 at 41 off.
If the pro water ski scene didn’t take notice back in November when he scooped up the bronze at the World Championships, it’s certainly aware of Great Britain’s Freddie Winter now after his second-place finish at last weekend’s California Pro-Am in Sacramento, Calif.
Freddie beat out a top field of pros to advance to his first-ever head-to-head professional final, where he skied a more-than respectable 3 buoys at 41 off to finish second to Nate Smith’s 0.5 at 43 off.
The showing moved Freddie into the top-five of the IWWF’s Elite Rankings List for the first time ever, raising his ranking from sixth to fourth.
Freddie’s best-ever U.S. showing was among the many highlights of the weekend for Team GOODE, as it scored six of the nine podiums spot in Men’s and Women’s pros, and Master Men’s.
World No. 1 Regina Jaquess claimed her second-consecutive Pro Am title while her fellow GOODE teammate Karen Truelove placed third.
Team GOODE swept the top-three in Master Men’s, with Jeremy Newby-Ricci, Jay Leach and Todd Ristorcelli going 1-2-3.
Like us, the ski testers at Backcountry magazine are starting to get pretty amped up for the upcoming snow ski season, and from the sounds of their review, they are also looking forward to more time on the GOODE Sorcerer carbon fiber snow skis too.
Editors say that the Sorcerer “conjured up a little magic with testers” who heralded its capability in all turn shapes.
One tester said the Sorcerer can “bust out any radius turn, any time,” while another said it was “really nimble, but not afraid to rail long turns.”