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 enter 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.
Next up is Mens 3 National Slalom Champion Darin Montgomery, who won his second national title this year, a mere 16 years after his first.
How did you get into the sport?
My father was a competitive skier. When I was two he would ride his jump skis and put me on the front which is how I started getting comfortable on the water. A group of his fellow club members decided to look for a private site in Illinois to get off of the busy public lake and founded PITS (People Involved in Tournament Skiing), which happened to be an old borrow pit. As it turns out, that small group developed some of the best amateur and professional skiers in the world to this day including Freddy and Lori Krueger.
Where do you ski and how often?
I am fortunate to ski in my backyard. I’ve been in Florida 20 years skiing the first 12 at Okeeheelee Park and the past eight at Lago Del Sol. I typically ski three to four sets a week May thru September, and two to three sets a week the other months, taking December and January off.
What did it feel like to come out on top in West Palm this year?
Winning this year was extra special for me, not for winning at my local club, but for getting to share my national title with my daughter, Ashley, who also won her second title this year as well. We both won Florida States, Southern Regionals and Nationals for a clean sweep!
How did you prepare for Nationals? Anything different than in the past?
I actually began the season training much less than years past. I was basically only skiing tournaments until mid June. I was fortunate that Dave Goode introduced the XTM last year. I was able to ride it at the 2014 Nationals and really got it dialed in last fall. Because of that, I was able to train less and increase my sets leading up to Nationals without having to worry about my ski. This was probably one of the only seasons that I did not make any adjustments to my ski, so that was the biggest difference than in past years.
What’s the most important thing skiing has taught you and/or given you over the years?
Skiing has taught me the importance of having an outlet that you are passionate about to keep your life balanced. Skiing has given me a great group of friends across the world that all share the waterskiing lifestyle. And it brought me to ULM where I met my wife.
Who are some people that have been important to your skiing success?
Initially my parents and PITS club members. My wife is the key to my skiing success since she is my primary driver and cheerleader. I’ve been fortunate to ski with great people over the years, including Chet Raley, Chris Sullivan, Wade Cox, Chris Rossi, Freddy Krueger, and Jaret Llewellyn to name a few.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’d like to thank the many volunteers and clubs across the country for their love of the sport that allows all of us to enjoy waterskiing. It is easy to take it all for granted but without the behind-the-scenes judges, scorers, drivers, and volunteers, there would not be any tournaments.