Podcast with Kyle Desautels

November 5, 2009 Leave a comment
Kyle Desautels pulls out for his gates at the 2009 Western Collegiate Regional Championships

Kyle Desautels gives his thoughts on collegiate water skiing and The Cal Poly Water Ski Team. To check out the podcast, click here.

Categories: Cal Poly, Media

The Man Behind the Nationals Apparel

October 20, 2009 Leave a comment
Cal Poly team Vice President, Micah Kuiper, and Fundraising Chair, Kristina Huhn, model the 2009 Collegiate Water Ski Nationals T-shirts.  These American Apparel T's will be available for purchase on site beginning Thursday morning.

Cal Poly team Vice President, Micah Kuiper, and Fundraising Chair, Kristina Huhn, model the 2009 Collegiate Water Ski Nationals T-shirts. These American Apparel T's will be available for purchase on-site beginning Thursday morning.

Hosting Collegiate Nationals, like any other big tournament, is an endeavour full of challenges.  One thing Cal Poly did not have to worry about this year, however, was merchandise for skiers.  Rather than going the usual route of contacting our local printer and providing them with a design of our own creation, the team chose a much easier way to handle the task by contacting SDSU Water Ski Team alumni, Chris Clark.

Chris Clark graduated from San Deigo State University in 2007, and after a college experience heavily defined by his involvement with water sports on the lake and the ocean, he started a company that would allow him to continue with his passions beyond school.

Chris created SIMR and its motto is “Live to love, love to live,” according to its Facebook page.  In addition to producing custom surfboards, Chris’s outfit also creates high quality apparel and has full graphic design capabilities to suit your needs.  Working with Chris for this event was especially easy.  I sent him a rough sketch of what I wanted, and in no time he had a design better than I could have ever hoped for.  I guess this is the advantage of working with an artist who is also a skier.  The comfortable American Apparel shirts created by SIMR will be sold throughout the tournament in the vendor area between Lakes 1 and 2.  In addition, a small run of hats and sweatshirts will also be available to guests on-site, and images of these can be seen by clicking on my Flickr stream to the right of the page.  Thanks Chris for making the creative process so easy for myself and the team, and we’re looking forward to seeing you out at the tournament this week.

Categories: Cal Poly

Virtual Reality Panorama of Nationals Site 2009

October 20, 2009 Leave a comment
Prior to site set up, Ironwood Lakes 1 & 2, Cal Poly's host location for Collegiate Water Ski Nationals 2009.

Prior to site set up, Ironwood Lakes 1 & 2, Cal Poly's host location for Collegiate Water Ski Nationals 2009.

Categories: Cal Poly, Media

Saint Mary’s Hits the Local Papers

October 15, 2009 Leave a comment
Brian Detrick founded Saint Mary's Water Ski Team in the Spring of 2008.  In its first two years, the team has become one of the most successful in the Western Region.

Brian Detrick founded Saint Mary's Water Ski Team in the Spring of 2008. In its first two years, the team has become one of the most successful in the Western Region.

After hosting their first successful collegiate tournament, Saint Mary’s Water Ski Team has gotten some local coverage in the Lamorinda Weekly Newspaper.  As journalist Mikaela Cowles illustrates, this team has done a terrific job getting off the ground, and in only its second year of existence, becoming competitive in the Western Region.  Captain Brian Detrick deserves most of the credit for the rapid success of his team, as it was his work that got the team started through his school and with the National Collegiate Water Ski Association.  I spoke with Brian to discuss the barriers he faced in the initial stages, in an effort to break down those roadblocks for any others interested in developing collegiate ski teams.

“Without a doubt,” he said, “the most difficult part was working with the school to become an official school-sponsored club.  I knew we had to be affiliated with the school to compete, so this was the direction I took from the start.  I had been around collegiate water skiing before, so I knew what to expect.  After I had everything figured out with the school, working with the NCWSA was relatively easy.”

Brian attributed his motivation to his earlier experience with AWSA competition, an organization that gave him a comprehensive understanding of the sport and the drive to continue skiing through college.  Although many students end up joining water ski teams in college and competing for the first time, it generally takes the experienced skier like Brian to get a new club going.  This is not a factor of skill or ability, but a tribute to the lack of visibility of our sport; the majority of the student population is unaware that competitive water skiing exists at any level.

The National Collegiate Water Ski Association is the governing body for collegiate, 3-event water skiing.

The National Collegiate Water Ski Association is the governing body for collegiate, 3-event water skiing.

While Saint Mary’s captain was particularly independent in his efforts, there are a number of resources available for any other students interested in establishing a new water ski team.  The first step is to contact the Chairman or Vice-Chairman of your region.  They can be found under the ‘Board’ page at NCWSA.com.  These individuals will be able to provide you will all sorts of information on all topics from working with the school to recruiting new members, and they will likely put you in touch with someone in your area who can work with you directly.

Categories: Western Region

Western Regionals Wrap-Up

October 13, 2009 Leave a comment
Cal Poly skier Jason De Groot took 16th place in men's slalom with a score of 4.5 buoys at 28 off.

Cal Poly skier Jason De Groot places 16th in men's slalom with a score of 4.5 buoys at 28 off.

The 2009 Western Collegiate Regional Championships has been concluded.  As a tournament notorious for close calls and unexpected outcomes, this year’s event had no trouble living up to its reputation.  The host school, Saint Mary’s College, was extremely well organized, and their extensive crew of volunteers and officials helped them to get the site dialed for a very smooth weekend.  Between Shortline Lake itself and our perfect weather throughout both Saturday and Sunday, conditions were ideal for all competitors, setting the stage for some very big scores.

A 7:00 AM start time for men’s slalom on Saturday morning got the action going right away, and by the end of the first event, teams were already head to head in the standings.  In a show of their mens team’s great depth, Chico State was able to edge out ASU, but the 20 point margin was too slim for them to stay ahead for long.  Perhaps more exciting, however, was the slew of teams in the race for the last Division I spot.  Separated by only 35 points, Western Washington, San Diego State, UC Davis, and Cal Poly were essentially even going into women’s slalom, while St. Mary’s trailed only 110 points out of third.  Sac State was the only team to fall back prematurely, but with their critical three-eventer,Matt Nantze, unable to compete for the weekend, they would have had to ski flawlessly to have a shot at D II.  The Cal Poly men’s team had also hoped to do better, but an error with their eligibility letter left sophmore skier Joe Ira sidelined for the weekend as well.  Nonetheless, in the true spirit of collegiate skiing, both of these guys got out there anyway and became their respective teams’ greatest supporters of the weekend, cheering on their teammates for a solid two days straight.

ASU's Storm Selsor puts up the largest collegiate jump score this fall, with a distance of 174 feet, to secure first place in both jump and overall.

ASU's Storm Selsor puts up the largest collegiate jump score this fall, with a distance of 174 feet, to secure first place in both jump and overall.

After women’s slalom and 10 rounds of men’s and women’s trick, scores were still close as the teams prepared for jump the following morning.   Before the next event could take place, however, St.Mary’s captain Brian Detrick, and his parents invited the region for a barbecue dinner at their house on the lake.  My personal thanks goes out to their family for all their hospitality this weekend, and I know the sentiment is shared among all of those in attendance.

The following morning got off to a similar start as the first, and by the time men’s jump got through the third round, anticipation was high for nearly all of the region’s teams.  Chico was safely behind Arizona State, but Cal Poly only held the third place spot by 35 points over SDSU.  Even tighter was the 30 point gap between 5th place Western Washington and Sac State.  In the end the Aztecs out-jumped Cal Poly to land their first Division I Nationals appearance since 2004, and Western Washington was able to secure their highly sought out fifth place ticket to D II.  The final combined team scores yielded the following results:

  1. ASU
  2. Chico State
  3. San Diego State
  4. Cal Poly SLO
  5. Western Washington
  6. Sac State
  7. St. Mary’s
  8. UC Davis
  9. UCLA
  10. UC San Diego
  11. University of Nevada Reno
  12. UC Santa Barbara
  13. University of San Diego
A look at the podium.  From left to right, these teams will represent the Western Region at the 2009 National Collegiate Water Ski Championships: Western Washington University,

A look at the podium. From left to right, these teams will represent the Western Region at the 2009 National Collegiate Water Ski Championships: Western Washington University, San Diego State University, Arizona State University, Chico State University, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The NCWSA Championships will take place October 22nd through 24th at Ironwood Ski Ranch in Arvin, California.

Categories: Western Region

Sac State’s Regional Warm Up and Western Regional Predictions

October 6, 2009 Leave a comment

Jenny Waits placed 1st in women's Trick and Jump events and 2nd in women's Overall to help Cal Poly finish first in team standings.

Jenny Waits placed 1st in women's Trick and Jump events and 2nd in women's Overall this weekend at Winchester to help Cal Poly finish first in team standings.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Performances from Sac State’s tournament at Winchester Lake
  • Implications of last weekend’s results on upcoming regionals
  • Predictions for the Western Region’s Nationals teams

Anticipation was high this weekend at Winchester Lake.  Instead of the relaxed feel found at most collegiate water ski tournaments, the Regional Warm Up hosted by Sac State possessed an energy usually reserved for Regional Championships or Nationals itself.  The level of excitement present is a testament to the strong level of competition this year between several very solid teams.  The Western Region will send at least five teams, with the possibility of a sixth, to the Collegiate Water Ski National Championships in Arvin, California, and these will be determined solely by placement at next week’s tournament in Elk Grove.

With a strong showing from all of our skiers, Cal Poly managed to take the top spot of the tournament, followed by Chico State and Sac State respectively.  As much as I would like to see it happen, Cal Poly is not likely to repeat this unprecedented first place finish next weekend.  In addition to a few less than standard performances by competing members, Chico’s lineup was missing some critical support in the likes of 3-eventers Justin Pingatore and Al Perez.  This team will no doubt come back next weekend ready to play, and will definitely be trying for first.  The other contender here is the always dominant ASU.  The Sun Devils opted to look ahead this weekend, skipping the trip to Sacramento to instead take a training outing to the Nationals site at Ironwood Ranch.  With Storm Selsor and Kevin Melnuk leading the guys, and easily the strongest women’s team in the region, I am anticipating ASU will be able to defend their Western Region title.  Thus my prediction for the top three teams at Regionals, who will be granted berths for Division I Nationals are:

  1. ASU
  2. Chico State
  3. Cal Poly
Cal Poly's Greg Olsen pulls for two ball.

Cal Poly's Greg Olsen pulls for 2-ball at 32' off in a collegiate tournament last spring at Winchester Lake.

Although these top places are not nearly concrete, the teams in play for the two remaining Division II spots are far more questionable.  Sac State’s team placed third this weekend, easily outpacing fourth place UC Davis, however both San Diego State and Western Washington decided, like ASU, to stay home for training.  SDSU’s successful first outing at Chico, and their second place performance at ASU’s tournament this fall cast them in a favorable light for the upcoming competition, and Western’s depth of their girls team will keep them in contention all the way to the end.  Before this weekend I had expected the newly formed St. Mary’s Water Ski Team to make a run of their own, but with Captain Brian Detrick out due to a neck injury, I don’t anticipate the rest of the team will be able to make up for his not being able to ski.  To round out the Western Region’s representation in Division II, I expect the following:

4.  San Diego State

5.  Sacramento State

6.  Western Washington (Wildcard)

Whatever the end results, this weekend will no doubt be an exciting one.  If Western Washington manages to qualify, be it by placing in the Top 5 or securing the wildcard spot, it would be a first at least as far as I can recall, and I would love to see this happen.  Additionally, I would like to see all the teams from the West out at Nationals to support the region, whether they qualify to compete or not.

Categories: Western Region

WaterSki Still Has Room to Improve

October 5, 2009 Leave a comment
The cover of WaterSki Magazine's September issue features Canadian team skier Whitney McClintock.

The cover of WaterSki Magazine's November issue features Canadian team skier Whitney McClintock.

In the magazine section of any bookstore near you, there are hundreds of publications that cater to every hobby and sport imaginable.  Except for water skiing.  For this niche sport, there are all of two sources of entertainment for the literary-minded to choose from.  One of these is USA Water Ski‘s monthly publication, The Water Skier, and the other is WaterSki Magazine.  WaterSki takes the approach that you would see in any other extreme sport’s coverage.  Like Surfing or Wakeboarding Magazine, it is heavy on pictures and ads, with typically shorter articles.  Some of WaterSki’s most interesting pieces highlight some of the sport’s best athletes and most scenic locations around the world.  In the magazine’s latest issues, stories include an inside look at the 2009 pro ski tour , information on two of the country’s top new ski schools, reviews of the latest ski videos on the market, and among other things, plenty of sick photo-space.

The biggest problem I have with the magazine comes not from the decisions made by its editors, but from the lack of competition it faces from other publications.  Because the only other magazine available, The Water Skier, is already provided free of charge to every member of USA Water Ski in the country, this one does not have to try and outsell WaterSki.  Instead, it has a newsletter-like feel that sets it in a less exciting category beneath its more unique counterpart.  Consequently, WaterSki has developed inside of its own safe groove with a style that rarely sees much change.  Although the magazine continues to be entertaining each month, I think the editors should be pro-active in keeping things new and exciting, despite the lack of outside pressure to do so.  I think one of the best ways to do this would be to have specialty issues every so often, that focus on one specific aspect of the sport and related intricacies that they aren’t able to fit into two page articles.  Sure there is the annual boat buyers guide, but this one can only be kept in the bathroom for so long.  Here are three ideas to help them out:

Collegiate Ski Teams: With the National Collegiate Water Ski Championships just around the corner, now would be the perfect time for this issue.  The ever-developing Pro Ski Tour has its stars, but the lack of cohesion here leaves a huge gap in material for hungry fans that could easily be filled by the rivalry and action found at every college tournament.

Big Dawg Coverage: I don’t know anything about these over 35 year old competitors, except that they are generally bad ass.  This is another series that could blow up in popularity with more coverage on its skiers and their lifestyles.

Trick Skiing: Sure, not everyone trick skis.  But this issue will be huge with those that do trick, and perhaps some of those who do not currently will be interested enough to get into it.  This magazine could be a collector’s item for the lack of information on tricking already out there.


Categories: Uncategorized