The Canadian Nationals were held August 16-18 with site familiarization on the 15th. When I arrived Thurs afternoon, the wind was blowing around 30-45K (20-30 mph for the metrically challenged). As the skiers trickled in, we were all amazed that the water was entirely skiable, in fact barely any roughness at all, so we all had the chance to practice slalom and trick runs.
The entire site was amazing. The hosts, Dwight and Michelle Williams, had a dream a few years back of having a ski lake. From start of digging (10 days) to skiing was 37 days as they created a world class venue. Becky Moynes (our new Canadian open women champion) got a hold of Dwight and Michelle in the spring of 2013 and they offered to host our Nationals. The preparation for our arrival was astonishing. Dwight even built a LARGE skier dock for the event. As such, hands down, it is everyone’s opinion that this was the best venue and best ever event for Canadian barefoot skiing.
The boat crew change dock. A large screen TV was setup in the shade for spectators to watch the live feed.
Dwight set up bleachers in front of the jump. This location was also a great vantage point for watching the trick and slalom runs.
The Williams Family--I'm hoping they'll adopt me
The Canadian Nationals are held over 3 days: the Canadian Challenge RC (Fri), the Canadian championships (Sat) and the Canadian Open (Sun). The organizing committee went one further, make that three further, by having extended familiarization on Thursday, an extra “round” on Friday, AND allowed everyone to ski Sunday rather than just the usual top 8. Hence, Trick Jump Slalom on Fri, Sat and Sun for all who entered. On Fri, the extra round was basically familiarization for any skiers wanting extra practice and receive instruction. Steve Keating made his longline back deep, having never fully attempted this start prior to the tourney, while all the other skiers benefited from practicing and being coached through the steps.
Travelling from afar, Lake Havasu AZ, was Gord Croteau, back for his umteenth Canadian National. Gord placed 2nd in jump, slalom and overall. There was a large contingent of Team Gordie fans (wearing team Gordie shirts) cheering him on as Gord performed somersaults in his slalom runs. We had only one American guest, Matt Michaelski who drove from Michigan and picked up Don Schwartz (2012 worlds Sr gold medalist) at Pearson Airport. Matt was back for his 2nd Canadians and participated as skier and driver. We will all be glad to see the return of our friend from Michigan.
Matt Michaelski ruining a perfectly good shot
Ruth and moi -- enhancing the shot of the lake
The weather on all 3 days of competition was perfect, hence perfect water conditions. Turn around times were minimal as the lake washed out immediately. The organization was flawless as Terry Jones, the entire Mike Spence family, Tim Weekes, Al, Barb and Becky Moynes and skier volunteers executed great driving, judging, scoring, boat changes, postings and venue adaptions. When a slight washback was noticed from the jump on Thurs famil, Terry Jones took the initiative to turn the jump 90 degrees during trick/slalom and voila: no washback; perfect ski conditions hence only one reride, for rollback. The length of the lake was more than adequate and I can’t remember anyone running out of lake. As such many PB’s and records were posted.
Terry Jones working on the jump
Ski jump perpendicular to the lake for trick and slalom…and that might very well be my handle flying by!
The Weekes’ Sanger. Al Moynes, seen handling the rope while I slack off, judged all events hence was in the boat all day, every day. Al is a well respected Level 1 judge with three World championships experience. George Weekes is driving, Becky is judging, Ross Holden (Mens 8 champ) is recording, and I am trying to figure out why I always miss one of two waves.
The dreaded visit with Paul Roberts on the pickup vessel. Paul is president of the OWSA – Ontario Waterski Association who travelled to Napanee and volunteered to counsel disheartened skiers. Here Ross Holden is in session with the Pres.
Enroute to a visit with Paul
One intangible that sets the tone for Canadian Nationals is the attitude of the skiers and officials toward each other. Our Nationals are low stress, friendly competitions where the skiers know each other well, volunteer and go out of their way to welcome newcomers. We had three skiers competing for the first time that did very well and showed great potential; all commented that their reticence to compete in a national competition was alleviated due to the friendly attitudes of the regulars and the officials….Mission accomplished and lessons learned.
Don Schwart,z having a laugh with newcomer Mason Timmerman and his dad Rob. The Spence girls, Michelle and Melissa, having just finished their trick runs. Marcel Brunet and Morgan Allen set to walk onto the start dock for their trick runs. We used Marcels Sanger for the slalom event and 2nd jump boat. Morgan Allen is Bram Alllen’s dad…Bram took 3rd place in Open trick
Steve and Shelley Keating took a free elevator ride to watch Terry in action.
The banquet was superb with great food, short speeches, some good laughs, competition videos played in the background and awards kept short. The overall medals were awarded at the ski site where in attendance were hundreds of friends of the Williams, followed by a great band and dance, fireworks and ski video being played off the side of the workshop with hundreds taking in the barefooting spectacle. Did I mention helicopter rides in the afternoon?
George Weekes was crowned Canadian champion, winning all 3 events and Becky Moynes took her rightful place at the top. This is a very proud moment for Mike Spence, VP Barefoot skiing Ontario, and the Weekes and Moynes families whose contributions have enhanced barefoot skiing in Ontario and Canada.
The dance following the awards…you can see on the right, tourney barefoot runs projected on the workshop.
Mike Spence, Becky Moynes and George Weekes
The Moynes Family
One final note about Becky Moynes and the hosts, Michelle and Dwight Williams. What a wonderful time had by all! Becky got the ball rolling, handled all the organization, skied, worked as an official and tourney director, and won in all aspects. Dwight is living large and created a spectacle unmatched. Thanks again for making this happen.
By: Duane Godfrey