The first two years of the SportsInsurance.com Queen’s Cup were very rewarding for the women slalom skiers who traveled to Little Mountain Lakes near Charlotte, N.C.
Rewarding in terms of self-esteem, comradery, accomplishment and, well, awards! As in $10,000 and more in cash and prizes.
The third annual Queen’s Cup, presented by SportsInsurance.com and Nautique dealer Race City Marine of Mooresville, N.C., is scheduled for Sept. 15-16 at Little Mountain, and the rewards -- spiritual and material -- will again make it an enviable event.
"Oh my gosh it's amazing!” said Maureen Mosteller, who traveled from Alberta, Canada for the inaugural Queen’s Cup. “I hope this continues to grow. It's such a great event! The people, the quality of the skiers -- just so much fun! Just really cool!"
The Queen’s Cup was recently recognized by the Women’s Sports Foundation, which once counted among its board of trustees the legendary three-event skier Camille Duvall Hero, a member of the USA Water Ski Hall of Fame. The WSF is onboard as a major sponsor of the Queen’s Cup.
The Queen’s Cup plays out on a made-for-slalom lake that has produced world and national records by Nate Smith, Jeff Rodgers and others. Joy Kelley (Women 6) and Cyndi Benzel (Women 7) took home U.S. records from the 2017 Queen’s Cup. In 2016, Leeza Harrison also broke the Women 7 record, and Mosteller and Rhonda Powell played tug-of-war with the Women 5 Canadian record as both topped the national mark in qualifying rounds.
This year’s event promises more of the same in terms of quality and quantity. Each skier is guaranteed two qualifying rounds on Saturday, with the top 16 advancing to Sunday’s head-to-head finals. There is also a way to win a prize without advancing, as the qualifying rounds will use a handicapped scoring system that allows a skier of any skill level to win by beating her average -- even if it’s her first tournament.
The top 16 and prize winners will be announced at the Saturday night on-site banquet, which will also feature ageless wonder Joy Kelley as the keynote speaker.
Women 30 and older (who have not placed in top 7 of an Elite points event in the past 2 years excluding Worlds) are eligible to enter, and all compete on equal footing, as boat speeds are not a factor. Women whose maximum boat speed is 30, 32 or 34 are scored equally for each line length.
Slalom skiers are an interesting breed. They are never fully satisfied with their score, constantly in pursuit of one more buoy and usually have some sort of gripe about lower back issues. Lower back pain plagues our sport as much as fin tweaking and spray leg. Maybe even more. And you likely have even experienced it yourself. Slalom skiing puts a rather complicated and heavy toll on our body every time we ski. We might not even be aware of it but the position is unnatural for the human body and our stance screams for compensation in our body.
This compensation, to make up for the unnatural stance, is necessary for us to ski our best and continue to gain more buoys. It is part of the game! But we have to understand that those compensations while we participate in our sport slowly cause the body to shift which more often than not results in bad posture and a myriad of other subconscious compensations.
So what do we do? It’s easier said than done but the concept is relatively simple: We must bring the body back to it’s neutral position.
Looking at a typical slalom position, we notice that we really try to resist the pull from the boat by pushing or holding the pull from the boat to create speed, torque and angle. As a matter of fact, waterskiing is one of not too many sports I see where you have two different sources of energy input. One is your upper body and the pull from the boat forward and the other input is the water where you resist against with your ski and lower body.
So you will notice that those two energy sources/inputs will meet somewhere. Ideally it should happen right in the middle of your body. Then you will feel “connected” to the boat as we like to say! But that’s also where we feel the most amount of pressure.
When we talk about a “normal posture” we mean that our hips are neutral (they feel tucked) straight under the center of our bodies and our back looks somewhat flat. This an ideal position.
In order to achieve a natural “normal” position, you need:
1. A really well-functioning core with substantial core strength
2. A mobile spine and a mobile yet stable hip.
As soon as any one of these areas begin to lack, you will subconsciously compensate in your day-to-day life which can result in long-term issues or can go completely undetected.
Where the two energy sources meet behind the boat and in the middle of our bodies, we create a ton of pressure and exaggerate those areas in which we are weak by leaning on the areas of compensation. So any slight compensation you had before will just get more pronounced and made worse. It’s a habit game because the muscles which are already causing the compensation in the first place will get activated even more and will exaggerate this compensation.
As an example, if you are lacking in core strength you are prone to do every single move you do over the day in hyperextension of your spine, shortening the distance between each vertebrae and in turn, shortening those muscles. In this instance the decreased muscles pulls your hips backwards causing the pelvis to sit at an anterior tilt or drop. This means that your pelvis falls forward, which decreases the space between vertebrae in your lower back even more. Muscles therefore continue to get tight and you will feel pressure in your lower back. Many people assume this means you have “lower back” issues when in realty it is a merely a symptom of an area of weakness.
So like I said before, you can go on without noticing, but putting it into the slalom skiing where we live in a slightly hyperextended and exaggerated environment, under an intense amount of pressure, for our spine to resist the pull forward, this compensation will wreak havoc.
The way to get out of this habit is pretty simple. If we already have this compensation, we work on relaxing / stretching and mobilizing the muscles in the lower back and hip and afterwards work on loosing the habit of our improper posture. Only after these first two steps are accomplished, we then train to strengthen the core and hip muscles (This includes your glutes, flexors, abductors and adductors).
By doing so, we have a chance of decreasing the pain and issues we bring upon ourselves through slalom skiing.
What's better than a week of intense waterski competition from the top amateur skier of all ages from all over the country? How 'bout a Pro Event festival featuring the country's top pro skiers! This year's Waterski Nationals was a BLAST for everyone. Check it out, share it with your friends, get them signed up for next year! #hoskis #mostfunwins #flowpointtv
The last hurrah of summer vacation is (sadly) creeping around the corner. To help make Labor Day weekend one for the books, we’ve curated a list of epic essentials for the entire gang. So before you trade the summer for the fall, smash the link provided to get the goods necessary to go out with a bang.
On August 2nd and 3rd we threw the best Waterski party on the planet for the man that started it all! Herb O'Brien instilled in us a passion to push beyond the norm, to create and push boundaries and for that reason we created the most unique format around town. Skiers are given 6.5 minutes to run as many buoys as they can with as little rope as possible, high score wins. Skiers can fall, skip passes or do whatever they want, the only thing that matters is that they throw down and post a huge score! This year Big Nev, Stephen Neveu, took home his first Herb's Cup with a score of 4 @ 41 Off!! Antics are in full effect both on and off the water, check out some of the fun we had at the third annual Herb's Cup.
The 2018 Syndicate Hilltop Pro-Am kicked off bright and early Saturday at magnificent Hilltop Lake in Arlington, Washington. With the sun out, temperature mild and water bluer than you can imagine, dozens of skiers pushed themselves to test their limits in search of that elusive personal best. Pro skiers in attendance included last year’s Pro-Mens Champion Nick Adams, two-time winner Will Asher, Jon Travers, Terry Winter, Benjamin Stadlbaur, Zane Nicholson, Dave Wingerter, last year’s Pro Womens Champion Jaimee Bull and Allie Nicholson.
Check out the HO Blog for a recap, photos and more! http://www.hosports.com/blog/?
There’s something about that feeling - as the sun creeps over the horizon and you slip into your boots. You're in the water, the line comes tight, you smile at the boat and utter those two simple words – “Hit it!”
We live for that feeling, we wake up every day and build beautiful waterskis because we love to be on the water. We design what we design because you live for that feeling too. We make the best skis on the planet because it’s in our blood, it’s what we live for. We create so you can enjoy.
You know what to do. Just go ski.