Mike Royal Sets Men’s Disabled V1 World Slalom Record

Mike Royal (center) celebrates his world record along with boat judge Dennis Longo (left) and boat driver John Shealy. Photo by Laurie Lindsey.

Mike Royal set the Men’s disabled V1 (blind) world slalom record of 2 buoys at 38-feet off back in 2009.  Since then he’s been battling lack of skiing time while chasing the record for the last four years.  But at the Miami Nautique International tournament two weekends ago that chase finally came to an end as he set a new world record of 2-1/2 buoys at 38-feet off.  

Goode recently caught up with the Magnolia, Texas, skier and talked to him about his skiing.

Hi Mike, thanks for talking with us.  How does it feel to finally top your old record after chasing it for nearly four years?

It just feels great to be skiing at a record level again.  In 2010 and 2011, during an extended drought my training lake’s water level dropped considerably resulting in limited training opportunities and very difficult conditions.  My skiing took a big step backward.

How did it all come together on the world-record pass?

Running the 35-off pass was the key.  In round one I misjudged the head wind and turned inside two ball.  In round two, I got more aggressive behind the boat and more patient at the buoy, which resulted in a complete pass.

The current version Audio Slalom Signal Generator (ASSG) blind skiers use does not incorporate all-buoy timing.  So, I was fairly confident in reaching 2-1/2 at 38 off as long as I did not do anything too stupid.

Disabled worlds are coming up later this summer, are you planning on competing?

Unfortunately, I skied horribly at the 2012 Team Trials, not even running an opener.  As world record holder I could enter Audio Slalom as an individual competitor, but Italy is a long way to go for one event.  Therefore I’ve decided to focus my time and funds to compete at record tournaments in the United States.  Hopefully, I will ski better at the 2014 Team Trials and earn my way back onto the U.S. Disabled Team.

You’ve skied in a worlds before.  How did you do?

In 2009 and 2011 I was a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. Disabled Water Ski Team.  My best individual performance is a bronze medal in tricks in 2011.

How did you get into water skiing?

I started skiing at age ten a few times each summer just for fun.  In 2002, I learned about the ASSG and started to compete.  It requires blind skiers to ski wide enough, getting the handle to 10.1 meters from centerline, to cause a beep for the six buoys within the same time it takes the boat to travel the slalom course.  Maximum speed is 36 mph, which equals 16.1 seconds timed by the ASSG.  Probably like most of your readers, once I started using the ASSG to simulate the slalom course I was hooked.

How long have you been on Goode skis?

My NANO ONE just arrived and it is my third Goode Ski.  My first Goode was the 9800, on which I broke the world record for the first time with 4 at 28 off in May 2009.  On the 9900, in addition to the pending record, I skied record performances of 3 at 32, 1 at 35 and 2 at 38.

How far do you think you can push the world record?

I don’t know how far I can push it, but I plan to keep chasing it as long as I can.  Stay tuned!

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