At the 73rd GOODE Water Ski National Championships held last August in West Palm Beach, Fla., an astonishing 68 percent – or 21 out of 31 – of slalom titles were won on GOODEs. As we endure the off season here in North America, we are going to attempt to interview each of those 21 National champions, because even though they may have all been using the same brand of ski, they all have their own story.
In this installment we profile Men’s 7 National Slalom Champion Bill Mahan of Woodbridge, Virginia, who notched his third national title last year at Okeeheelee.
How long have you been skiing and how did you get into the sport?
I started skiing one summer at the age of 14 in Saranac Lake, New York. My grandmother bought my brother and I a combo set of Northland water skis. What was crazy was we didn’t even have a boat to ski behind, but we were able to get a ski set with friends most every day. Twelve years later, I entered my first tournament and took first in the novice division.
How many Nationals have you previously attended?
I ran my first EP at a record tournament at Lake Holly where I was a member and qualified for my first Nationals in 1982. Hard to say, I have never really kept track on how many nationals I have attended.
Why do you ski?
I love the great competition, which dates back to my days running track. When skiing the course you always have a benchmark for improvement. Also all the great friends and memories I have made over the years skiing. Getting with your skiing friends for a set and feeling the acceleration accompanied by the rhythm of a great run!
What’s the most important thing skiing has taught you and/or given you over the years?
Working as a team on and off the water brings great rewards. Don’t make excuses when you have a bad tournament or practice run. Be patient, work hard and good things will happen.
Do you have a pre-set ritual?
No, but the night before I skied at the Nationals we ate at Red Lobster and when the hostess seated us at table 38, we all gave each other a high five.
Who are some people that have been important to your skiing success?
My No. 1 fan is my wife, Julie. She has been very supportive not only in my skiing but staging everything it takes to run a club and tournaments. Lindsay and Kyle, our children, skied in tournaments with me as they were growing up. They were fun to coach and became my driver when I needed one. We have a lot of wonderful memories from being on the water and at tournaments.
My big break came in 1978 when Rick and Jerry Stansberry gave Julie and I the opportunity to develop a record-capability site known as Lake Holly. I also have had some great coaches and drivers over the years at Lake Holly, including Ken Mead, Bud Raley, Ron Ricketts, Lee Gotschalk, Ralph Hall, Wick Merchant, Jon Thacher, Marie Fields and my Florida connection, Jimmy Mandolis.
Anything else you would like to add?
I would like to thank Dave Goode for pushing the technological envelope with the development of the carbon fiber water ski. After switching to a 9100 Goode I won my first Nationals in Bakersfield, California, and two more titles since then on my Goode Nano One. I attribute a lot of my tournament success to my Goode ski.
And a special thanks to all the individuals who volunteer putting on all the great tournaments over the years.