08Aug09 Thrills And Spills Galore At Calgary World Waterski Championships

Chris Parrish USA makes it look easy

Warm sunshine, excellent water conditions, the power of the Nautiques boats plus quality performances all got us off to a great start today as the Preliminary Rounds faced completion. With a packed programme of Slalom and Jump for the Men and Women competitors, the large audience began to really settle in to enjoy this 2009 World Waterski Championships in Calgary. Few anticipated what lay ahead!

Jonathan Travers USA loses his boot

Defending Champion Will Asher GBR

Men?s Slalom came first. With 30 contenders on the water, it took no time to reach the first 10.75m line score. Adam Sedlmajer CZE took that honour with 3 buoys on this rope length. In fact, a total of 23 reached this line length and another 3 pushed it further to the 10.25m line. This really was a high quality field. It was not without some drama. On review, Jodi Fisher GBR was granted an additional 0.5 buoys and Terry Winter USA an additional 0.25 buoys. Both made the Finals. Aaron Larkin NZL and defending World Champion Thomas Degasperi ITA were also in great form with scores of 4 and 5 buoys on that 10.75m line. The talented Jonathan Travers USA lost his binding and that spoiled his chances. Chris Parrish USA, Will Asher GBR and Frederic Halt SUI were in a league of their own this morning and secured their Finals places with scores on the shorter 10.25m line. Then we had an extraordinary traffic jam with an unprecedented eight Skiers chasing the two last Finals places and tied on a score of 3 buoys on the 10.75m line. This run-off added over 40 minutes to the schedule. With scores of 4.5 and 4.0 buoys on the 10.75m line, Fabio Ianni ITA and Jean Baptiste Faisy FRA earned those last slots. Canada?s Thomas Moore just missed the cut by 0.5 buoys.

Overall Leader Whitney McClintock CAN

In Series 2 and 1 Ladies Jump, it took a distance of 47.9m or higher to gain a Finals place. Only 2 Jumpers in Series 2 graduated ? Whitney McClintock CAN and Regina Jaquess USA. Whitney?s 48.1m distance also pushed her to the top of the Overall scores to date. Regina Jaquess?s great disappointment in Tricks yesterday spoiled her Overall ambitions but making it to the Jump Finals is some compensation. In Series 1, only Alex Lauretano USA missed the cut with a distance of 47.3m. Clementine Lucine FRA dominated today with a distance of 50.5m and this pushed her to within 55 points of Whitney McClintock?s Overall lead ? and ahead of Natalia Berdnikova BLR. Although she earned a Finals place, unfortunately Marie Vympranietsova GRE had a nasty crash and damaged her knee. Ice packs and rest will give her a chance to recover over night. If she does not jump tomorrow, that vacant place will stay vacant. With seven Jumpers exceeding 50.0m today, this promises to be a great Final on Saturday.

Regina Jaquess USA fights back

Clementine Lucine FRA narrows Overall gap

In perfect conditions, warm sunshine and with a high quality Jump Ramp, we moved on to Men?s Jump Series 3, 2 and 1 divisions. At times there was a very slight tail / side breeze but for the most part, it was a head breeze. Nobody expected what followed. For some unknown reason yet to be explained, we had a series of crashes which rattled the nerves of even the toughest competitors. These included Lance Green NZL, Sebastien DiPasqua SUI, Rodrigo Miranda CHI, Felipe Miranda CHI and Damien Sharman GBR. Eventually, the Chief Judge Dimos Alexopoulos GRE called a halt to the proceedings with most of the Series 1 Jumpers yet to perform. The event has been rescheduled for Saturday morning and we await the outcome then.

The spectator numbers increased significantly today. Many of our sports stars and personalities of the past arrived to enjoy the spectacle. These included Paul Seaton, Helena Kjellander, Denise Grimm, Dick Cowell, Jimmy Clunie and may others. The first of the 2009 World Champions will be crowned tomorrow here at the Predator Bay site.

Dick Cowell never misses a Worlds

Doug and Sheila Sheers have the best seats

Jim Clunie enjoying the sunshine

Helena Kjellander and Denise Grimm

Paul Seaton returns to the Worlds