Forthcoming: The Dane Mechler Interview
First off, it's been a while now since our last piece went out, so my apologies for the long pause. But in this Fall 2020 edition of Forthcoming, I had a minute to hook up with my good buddy, Dane Mechler, for a little one-on-one. Hope you enjoy:
So what's up, Dane... how are you?
I am doing great, Pete. Hard to believe we are nearing the end of 2020. I think we can all agree that we are looking forward to a fresh start in 2021. Hope you are doing great.
What are you doing right at this moment?
Just doing a bit of off-season traveling right now. Orlando last week and Europe as of this moment.
I've really respected your skiing / career / relationship balance over the past couple of years, what has motivated you to live your life this way? And how has it impacted your skiing?
Thank you, Pete. Skiing is a huge part of my life, but it is not everything to me. I love having a career to work towards outside of skiing and there are so many parallels between the two. Unfortunately so many start a career after college and fall out of our sport. For me, this was not an option, and I am motivated to work hard every day to try to be successful at both. Waterskiing is my passion and I could not imagine life without it. If a weekend tournament does not go my way, it does not matter because I am truly standing on the starting dock because I love it.
I know you fought with ski sizes a bit this year, as you are someone who falls right in between lengths. I know the struggle. What did you end up going with, and why? What advice might you have for someone going through the same issue?
2020 was a year of testing and learning for me. I spent most of the season on a 67-inch Goode XTR. There was so much I loved about riding a bigger ski but in the end it, the 66 XTR is better for me at 41. With any major equipment change such as a change in ski size, there is always a tradeoff. Understanding what aspects of a ski/setup compliment your style/technique is extremely important. Always do your best to set up your ski for your hardest pass while it may be tempting to continue riding a ski that feels great on your easier passes.
But you had a good season still. What were the highlights, and I guess, lowlights too?
2020 was somewhat frustrating because I had one of the best years performance-wise in practice but it didn’t quite translate into the results I was looking for in the events. The biggest highlight was fighting my way into the finals at the MasterCraft Pro finally turning two-ball at 41 and getting over to 3. In general, the lowlight of the season was my struggle getting out of 2-ball at 41. This happened in the semi-final at Malibu Open and then it got into my head from then on. Going down twice at 2-ball at the Swiss Pro Slalom made for a difficult drive home. It is important to know when you need a change, and this day was the sign.
20th November 2020
Maria Isabel Mancheno from Colombia was elected President of the IWWF Pan American Confederation (IWWF Pan Am) earlier today during the IWWF Pan Am Congress held virtually. Maria Isabel has been Vice-President of IWWF Pan Am since 2018 and succeeds Jeffry Armstrong from the USA who has stepped down from her role after 3 years of service.
At national level, Maria Isabel was President of the Colombian Waterski and Wakeboard Federation from 2014 to 2018. Her other appointments include being a member of the IWWF World Wakeboard Council and Chairperson of the IWWF Pan Am Wakeboard Council. She has been involved in multi-sport games as Technical Delegate for the 2019 ANOC World Beach Games in Qatar, 2017 Bolivarian Games held in Colombia and 2015 Colombian National Games.
Maria Isabel who is fluent in Spanish, English and German will join Karen McClintock, who was re-elected Secretary-General of IWWF Pan Am, as a member of the IWWF Executive Board with immediate effect.
Congratulations, Maria Isabel!
Van Dyk, Rhonda On Wednesday November 18, Rhonda Kaye Van Dyk (Wishnew), a loving mother, wife and friend, passed away due to complications associated with Covid-19 at the age of 62. Rhonda was born November, 1958, and was raised in Elmhurst, IL with her two siblings, Roger and Robin. In August of 1982, she married Dan Van Dyk and had two daughters whom she loved dearly, Jessica and Jackie. She had a passion for people that shined through everything she did. She loved her family first and foremost and never failed to step up and help. Those who were fortunate enough to meet her also knew this love and were immediately welcomed into her ever growing little family. She was one of the kindest, most generous, and selfless humans and will be dearly missed by everyone she knew. She loved her work at Mel Trotter Ministries as the Events Director and regularly volunteered for the USA Adaptive Water Ski & Wake Sports Association. Her selfless dedication to the people of Grand Rapids through Mel Trotter and her passion for the sport and people in the water skiing community was unmatched. Rhonda was preceded in death by her father, Howard. She is survived by her husband Dan; her two daughters, Jessica and Jackie; her mother Cynthia; her sister Robin and her brother Roger; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the USA Adaptive Water Ski and Wake Sports Association in her name. www.usaadaptivewaterski.org/donate. There will be no public Celebration of Life until it can be done safely, hopefully in the spring or summer of 2021.
Webster, MA - The Webster Water Ski Collective is honored to partner with Foxy Travel / FTI Coach, Wachusett Mountain and the Menard family to host the inaugural “Swaterski to Fight Cancer” event at Point Breeze, Webster, in memory of Christine (Repsys) Menard. The event will benefit the National Brain Tumor Society.
The University of Louisiana Monroe community mourns the loss of Michael Woodgate, the ULM water ski team head coach.
Originally from Boroughbridge, England, Woodgate was named head coach of the champion Warhawk water ski team in May 2019.
Prior to being named head coach, he served as a graduate assistant for the team and kinesiology department. Woodgate earned his M.S. in Exercise Science in May 2020.
ULM extends sympathies to his family, friends, and team as they cope with this unexpected loss.
Foundation Awards More Than $25,000 In Scholarships
The USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation is pleased to announce the awarding of more than $25,000 in scholarships this year to 15 young people in from different towed water sports disciplines. The USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation’s scholarships are awarded each year to individuals who show leadership abilities and demonstrate how their involvement in the sport has helped them grow both personally and academically.
For the second consecutive year, Krista Butterfield of Sherman, Texas, has won the $5,000 Barbara Bolding/Jim Grew Scholarship. Krista is a senior at Texas A&M University, majoring in nursing.
Zach Butterfield of Sherman, Texas, is the recipient of the $2,200 Banana George Blair Ambassador Scholarship. Zach is a freshman at Texas A&M University, majoring in engineering.
Anna Gay of Winter Garden, Fla., has won the $2,000 Elmer Stailing Southern Region Scholarship. Anna is a senior at the University of Alabama, majoring in nursing with a minor in nutrition.
Landon Geels of Westminster, Colo., is the recipient of the $1,500 “Big Al” Wagner Western Region Scholarship. Landon is a senior at Florida Southern College, majoring in Business Administration.
For the second year in the row, Grace Petzold of Mequon, Wis., has won the $1,500 Tim Olson Memorial Scholarship. Grace is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in chemistry/biology.
Jaxen Stabel of Chico, Calif., won the Boys 1 national overall title at the 2020 GOODE Water Ski National Championships in Zachary, La., and has been awarded the Jim Grew Boys 1 Overall Scholarship sponsored by Jim Grew in the amount of $2,000.
VENTURA, Calif. (Oct. 2, 2020)— Tilly’s Marine, the premier towboat dealership in Southern California, is pleased to announce its partnership with MasterCraft Boat Company, the premier manufacturer of towboats in the world. Established in 1985 with two locations, Tilly’s Marine is joining forces with its sister brand and current MasterCraft dealership, Cali Marine, and MasterCraft to expand its service-oriented, customer-first model throughout the Southern California region.
After more than three decades of representing previous towboat brands, Tilly’s Marine is revamping its product portfolio, partnering with MasterCraft to provide its customers with the highest quality, best performing towboats available in the market today. The switch to carry and sell MasterCraft was also influenced by MasterCraft’s customer-focused and dealer-centric values.
“We are extremely excited to combine the Tilly’s Marine and Cali Marine dealerships, and partner with MasterCraft as our exclusive towboat brand. The decision to switch to MasterCraft was one driven by a desire to best deliver our customers with the highest-quality products and service. Tilly’s Marine has always strived to provide the best products and customer service, and partnering with Cali Marine and MasterCraft to expand that offering to more customers and locations in the Southern California region is a tremendous opportunity ” said Cyrus Mazaherian, dealer principal of Tilly’s Marine.
“MasterCraft is thrilled to partner with Tilly’s Marine, the premier towboat dealership in the Southern California region,” MasterCraft Chief Revenue Officer, George Steinbarger said. “Tilly’s dedication to customers is second-to-none, as made evident by its superior reputation for service over its 35 years in business. By joining forces with our current MasterCraft dealership in the region, Cali Marine, current and future customers in Southern California will have access to superior customer service and the highest quality, best performing towboats on the water. We are honored that Tilly’s Marine recognized MasterCraft’s unmatched dedication to delivering a best-in-class customer experience, and we look forward to many years of successful partnership together in Southern California.”
MasterCraft’s newest athlete, world wakesurf champion and Orange County resident, Austin Keen, is representative of MasterCraft’s presence and commitment to growth in the Southern California region.
"MasterCraft Boats and Tilly’s Marine both have solid reputations, so the fact that they are partnering makes me excited for what the future holds for Southern California,” Keen said. “MasterCraft provides the best in-boat and on-water experience for me as an athlete and am looking forward to sharing that with my neighbors through the Tilly’s Marine and Cali Marine dealerships."
Through its new Cali Marine and MasterCraft brand partnership, the Tilly’s Marine network will be seamless across four locations (Norco, Ventura, Riverside and Woodland Hills) in order to sell, serve and deliver the best boats and service in the industry. Tilly’s Marine will be offering MasterCraft’s full family of models, from the legendary ProStar, to attainable NXTs, XTs with endless options, luxurious X models, and of course, the iconic XStar.
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About Tilly’s Marine:
Tilly’s Marine Inc. is an authorized boat dealer serving Southern California in two locations, Ventura and Norco. Since 1985, Tilly's Marine has built its legacy as the premier marine dealership in Southern California offering an extensive and respected product line and delivering the highest quality customer service. For more information about Tilly’s Marine visit: tillysmarine.com.
About Cali Marine:
Cali Marine is an authorized MasterCraft dealership located in Southern California. Founded on quality products and customer service, Cali Marine has two locations in Riverside and Woodland Hills and offers a large selection of new and pre-owned inventory. For more information about Cali Marine visit: calimarine.com.
About MasterCraft Boat Company:
MasterCraft is a world-renowned innovator, designer, manufacturer and marketer of premium performance sport boats. Founded in 1968, MasterCraft has cultivated its iconic brand image through a rich history of industry-leading innovation, and more than four decades after the original MasterCraft made its debut, the company’s goal remains the same - to continue building the world’s best ski, wakeboard, wake surf and luxury performance powerboats. For more information about MasterCraft visit: mastercraft.com.
On top of all of the struggles 2020 has brought, the Combs family has had to deal with an unthinkable tragedy during this past month. A freak accident has left JB Combs with a complete C4 spinal cord injury. As of right now, he is paralyzed from the shoulders down.
The Combs family call Laku Landing in Colorado their home site. JB, his father Hank, and daughter Ashely are all passionate in serving the west coast ski community and chasing fun on and off the water. We are hoping, through this gofundme, to help JB optimize his recovery capabilities and expand his ability to continue being part of the active communities he has loved throughout his life.
All encouraging messages, prayers, and donations are greatly appreciated!
With every year, we aim to deliver something fresh to the slalom ski market. Whether that’s building off of previous years’ technology or introducing innovative technology, we strive to meet your needs on the water.
This year, we decided to take it up a notch and bring you something bold and brand new.
Introducing, our latest high-end, competition ski for 2021, the DV8. Featuring patent pending VersaTail technology, this is the most customizable ski ever.
Throughout the years, brands have been on a quest to create a ski that checks all the boxes. However, varying styles and skills have the one-shape-fits-all designs falling short.
What if you could choose the shape that best fits you? VersaTail allows you to take your fine tuning to another level. This patent pending technology gives skiers that ability to take a step beyond the standard fin and binding adjustments and choose how they want the water to flow off the tail of the ski. This is made possible through three tail options that come standard with the DV8.
The DV8 is also our most forgiving ski ever built. It’s constructed with an increased rocker, subtle top shape and softened flex pattern that all work in conjunction to allow more room for error and less perfection on the skier’s part.
The DV8 featuring our VersaTail technology is the first and only ski that gives you even more control over how your ski performs.
Connelly DV8 featuring VersaTail — the most customizable, high-performance ski ever.
Learn more at connellyskis.com/dv8
Introducing the all-new 2021 Syndicate PRO. A new shape to take on the impossible.
The new 2021 Syndicate PRO features a Narrower Width, from tip to tail. This allows the ski to roll on to a higher edge angle to drop into the turn more naturally while holding more direction into the wakes. We took the proven, rock solid stable Omega rockerline and increased it’s maneuverability by replacing the flat spot with a Continuous Radius Rocker. The 2021 PRO employs a rounder, larger bevel package that allows the ski to roll on edge better with increased stability. See the video to learn more or come check it out in person in the HO/Syndicate booth at US Nationals.
Ellie Horton is three event and third generation competitive water skier. She grew up skiing at Horton Lakes, which was built by her grandfather Dr Jack Horton, and began competing when she was ten years old.
Currently, Ellie is a second year student at Florida Southern College. She is studying journalism and skis on scholarship for the FSC water ski team. is ranked 3rd overall in the nation, 9th in the U21 overall world standings, and has her open women’s rating in overall.
She is a member of the D3 water skis Factory Team and is sponsored by CAMARO wetsuits and NewCity Clothing.
Her recent successes have included winning Division I women’s tricks at the 2013 collegiate nationals as well as taking the tricks and overall title at the U21 2014 Pan Am Championships.