While many ski fans could be forgiven for wondering “who is that guy?” after Benjamin Stadlbaur finished second at this year’s Malibu Open, taking out Will Asher and giving Thomas Degasperi all he could handle in the process, here at GOODE we’ve seen the 24-year old as a future star for a long time.
Recently, we had the chance to chat with the Swiss native (he now spends most of his time in the U.S.) who for the first time in his career now finds himself perched in the top-10 of the IWWF’s Elite Rankings list:
Will Asher is obviously one of the sport’s all-time greats. What were you thinking about going into your head-to-head match up against him in the Malibu Open semis?
Benjamin: Will is a major contender for the title at any event he enters and he has been for many years. Going into the head-to-head match up against him in a tournament of this caliber was a new experience for me. I tried to focus on my own skiing and not worry about the rest. During the heat I managed to stay focused on what I needed to do, which was ski as hard as I could. I managed to stay in the moment and not let anything get in the way of my focus, like the speaker mentioning Will’s accomplishments, which are far greater than mine.
That tail wind 39 you ran was a thing of beauty. How’d you make it looks so easy?
Benjamin: Six hard pulls. There’s no secret to it!
You faced your fellow GOODE teammate T-Gas in the finals, someone who has been in these situations many times. Were you thinking about applying pressure to him, or just focused on your own game?
Benjamin: Again, Thomas is a far more experienced skier than I am and he has been winning events on the tour for many years. T-Gas having the higher seed decided to let me go first, so there was only one thing to do, go as hard as I could and let him chase me.
Your second-place finish is your best pro finish to date, how does this set you up for future pro events?
Benjamin: Yes this is my best pro placement, as well as my first podium finish at a pro event. It is a great confidence booster for the rest of the year. I feel that I have learned a lot at this event and hopefully I can take this experience to future tournaments.
This year has been big for you, with top-7 finishes in three different pro events and a top-10 IWWF ranking. What’s been the difference?
Benjamin: Over the last two years I’ve opened myself up to change. Change in my equipment, change in my practice routine as well as off-the-water training. This experience hasn’t been easy but it has made me a better skier and a better competitor. I know it might sound paradoxical, but I think that trying different things has helped my consistency because it has allowed me to figure out what works really well for me. Hopefully this is a work in progress that will keep going.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Benjamin: I would like to thank my family for their great support as well as the Swiss Waterski Resort for the ultimate practice conditions. Last but not least, you all at GOODE for making great skis.