After four rounds and the elimination of 14 skiers, the 2017 GOODE Bracket Challenge came down to No. 1 seed vs. No. 2. Dave Miller vs. Greg Badal.

The two faced off in the first round of last weekend’s Imperial Lakes Skiers Choice Record in El Centro, Calif., to determine the champ. Watch the video above to find out who won.

Fan contest won with perfect bracket

Kyle Kuykendall is the winner of a brand new XTR, thanks to his perfect picks in the 2017 GOODE Bracket Challenge.

With the bracket submission named “Winner!,” Kyle correctly picked both of the two upsets during the four round event – his uncle (No. 13) Todd Kuykendall’s win over No. 4 seed Jay Leach and (No. 2) Greg Badal’s victory over top seed Dave Miller.

Nine brackets – Gloerson, June 2017, Kevin’s Bracket, LLUSA, Malibu Dave’s Picks, Mary’s Picks, Rich’s Bracket picks, Skicm777, and skidawg – tied for second place, with each only having one mark against them.

To see where all 385 bracket submission placed, click here.


Warhawks win 28th national title since inception of event in 1979

POLK CITY, Fla., Oct. 21, 2017 - The University of Louisiana-Monroe water ski team won the Division 1 national title at the 39th Connelly Skis Collegiate Water Ski National Championships, Oct. 19-21, at Bennett's Water Ski & Wakeboard School in Zachary, La.

The Warhawks tallied 12,165 points in winning their second consecutive and 28th overall national team title since the inception of the tournament in 1979. Louisiana-Lafayette finished second with 11,930 points. Alabama, which tallied 11,880 points, placed third. Florida Southern College finished fourth with 11,240 points and Rollins College was fifth with 9,150 points.

The Nationals included 12 teams in Division 1 and 12 teams in Division 2. National team champions were declared in both divisions. Individual medals for slalom, tricks and jumping were awarded based on athletes' placements within their division. Overall titles were awarded in each division to athletes competing in all three events. Athletes finishing in the top-five in each event of slalom, tricks, jumping and overall in Division 1 earned All-American honors.

The Division 1 field was comprised of: Alabama, Clemson, Florida Southern, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Michigan State, Ohio State, Rollins, San Diego State, Texas A&M, Western Washington and Wisconsin.

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Most Waterski Spirit 2017 HO Skis Instagram

HO Sports will be sponsoring the 2017 NCWSA Spirit Award that will be handed out at the Connelly Skis 2017 NCWSA National Collegiate Water Ski Championships! Additionally, HO Sports will be on site with games and prizes, and has agreed to sponsor of the post-banquet festivities!

Spirit Award Winning Team will receive:

- Spirit Award Banner, to commemorate the team’s epic spirit and to hang in their ski-house
- 15’ HO Play PAD
- Girls and Guys Team Development HO Ski Setups (Ski + Boots)
- The team will be featured in the upcoming Collegiate Nationals FlowPoint TV Episode!

How to Compete?
On Site Spirit!

Just bring your team’s spirit and #sendit, just like every other collegiate water ski tournament!

Social Media Tags
With two lakes of skiing and a ton of cool activities on site, the contest judges may not be able to see every single display of spirit in person, so when your team is sharing their spirit with the world, don’t forget the hashtag and tags!


@hosports on Facebook and @hoskis on Instagram

@thencwsa across all social media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook


Terry Winter won Head2Head final for $1500

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Gary Wallace took top honors for in the Handicap final for $1500 and a custom trophy by DB Skis

A huge thanks to NorCal MasterCraft for these awesome ProStars

This event happens because of the officials who do all the work. Kevin Bishop is my partner in crime for this event and I could not do it without him.

Last but not least thanks to Nikol, Steve, Jana and Blazer Grubbs. No one worked harder to make this event happen. Coffee! Coffee! Coffee!

DB Cup Color 


The Queens Cup will return for its second season at Little Mountain Lake near Charlotte, N.C., aka the Queen City, on Sept. 16-17, with more than $10,000 in cash and prizes on the line. "The Queens Cup was well-planned, well-executed and provided exceptional ski conditions," said Jennifer Leachman, a former world record holder and a member of the USA Water Ski Hall of Fame. "I don't know how they could have made it any better.” Leachman won't be able to ski in the Queens Cup this year because of ankle surgery, but she encourages others to experience the event. Women of all skill levels enjoyed the camaraderie and inclusiveness of the 2016 Queens Cup. The goal for the tournament is to bring national and international women skiers together at a world-class site for a slalom championship with a significant number of competitors. Tournament director Jeff Gilbert has goals he sets and meets for the Queens Cup.

“This tournament provides a great value for the entry fee -- a great site, a top-quality tournament, a minimum of two to three rounds, and multiple opportunities to win cash and prizes for all levels,” Gilbert said.

Joy Kelley of Tennessee validated the scoring system -- and made skiers over 40 smile -- by finishing second last year as a 50-some-year-old skier.
“There is something truly unique about this event,” Kelley said. “Today, there is no other opportunity like Queens Cup for women. It is an event that inspires, challenges, and allows us to simultaneously pull together our physical, mental and emotional strength -- with a (scoring) system that provides appropriate and unlimited competitive opportunity for women 30 to 70-plus years of age.”

The Senate’s ability to carry speed is unmatched in the industry. This speed allows the skier to maintain width on the boat ultimately giving a sense of freedom sought after by those that ski in the course as well as those ripping open water turns. By taking our competition shape and adding two tenths of an inch in extra width we have created
a stable riding platform. This platform creates the balance needed for a skier to feel at home, while the pro le of the ski allows the skier to feel the speed and angle sought after at any level. Go for a spin on the Senate and you’ll leave with a smile on your face and a new ski under your arm.

The Water Ski World Championships concluded Sunday in Paris the same way that three previous championships have: with Regina Jaquess clutching a Women's slalom gold medal.    
Riding her GOODE XTR, Regina (United States) came out on top of two tie-breaker run offs against eventual runner-up Whitney McClintock (Canada) to claim her fourth career World slalom title (see video above).  The win sets the all-time mark for Women's world slalom championships, breaking the record of three that she previously shared with legends Liz Allen, Cindy Todd and Helena Kjellander.  Regina's four World Slalom titles came in 2005, 2013, 2015, and now, 2017.
She also claimed the Women's overall title, completing an unprecedented slalom/overall three-peat (2013, 2015 and 2017).  The overall gold is the fifth of her career, the most ever for a Woman and second only behind Patrice Martin all time.  She also earned a silver medal in jumping to go along with her team gold, giving her four medals during the championships. 
Joining Regina atop the overall podium on the Men's side was Team GOODE's Felipe Miranda (Chile), who advanced to the Men's slalom finals on the way to claiming overall gold, his second career World overall title. 
Additional highlights: 
  • Thomas Degasperi (Italy) just missed out on claiming his fifth World championships medal, finishing fourth, a half buoy behind bronze medalist Jason McClintock (Canada).  Brando Caruso (Italy) entered the finals as the top seed, finishing fifth.  Additional GOODE skiers advancing to the finals were Felipe (8th) and Marek Mlynek (Slovakia - 10th).  
  • In Women's slalom six of the 12 finalists were on GOODE, as Clementine Lucine (France - 4th), Karen Truelove (United States - 6th), Celine Detry (Belgium - 7th), Alice Bagnoli (Italy - 8th), and Ambre Franc (France - 9th) joined Regina in the final round. 
  • Natallia Berdnikava (Belarus - 2nd), Giannina Bonnemann (Germany - 4th), Anna Gay (United States - 5th), and Brooke Baldwin (United States - 8th) all landed in the top-10 of Women's overall, while Adam Sedlmajer (Czech Republic - 4th) and Dorien Llewellyn (Canada - 5th) did so on the Men's side. 
  • With Freddie Winter (Great Britain) claiming gold in Men's slalom, both World slalom championships were won on PowerShells.  
  • The United States earned it's first team world title since 2013, with France and defending champion Canada finishing 2nd and 3rd, respectively. 

For complete results, click here

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Joy Kelley is somewhat of an ageless wonder in water skiing.

She’s a three-event skier who breaks records and raises the bar almost every time she gets on the water. Kelley surprised probably everyone except herself in 2016 when, at age 58, she advanced to the head-to-head final of the Queens Cup women’s slalom tournament near Charlotte, N.C.

 The only disappointment was a fluke fall on her 28-off pass in the final against Sweden’s Josefin Hirst of Florida.

 Kelley, of Tennessee, will return for the 2017 Queens Cup at Little Mountain Lake on Sept. 16-17, likely still riding high from the event’s 2016 debut. Her Facebook post after the inaugural event summed up her feelings:

 “Wanted to show much gratitude to the sponsors of the Queens Cup! Since the weekend I have been in awe of the cash and prizes awarded, over $10,000. For a first ever event to reach such heights is a direct reflection of the passion, belief and support for women in water skiing and the daily, behind the scenes, focused efforts of the tournament organizers in securing sponsors who also share the same dedication to our sport! Hopefully, we gave the sponsors a good return on their investment by skiing our best, positively influencing others, sharing their product/service with others, and just being an overall strong woman of integrity and character!”

Hers was a popular opinion shared by many of the entrants after last year’s event. Year 2 is just around the corner with an even larger field to share the wealth. As Kelley posted:  

“From t-shirts to goody bags to prizes of ski lessons, ski bags, skis, gloves, etc., and cash awards, I have never experienced an event like this! Thank you so very much to all the sponsors! May the Queens Cup live on in ways that continue to exceed the expectations of everyone involved!”

For information on the Queens Cup, which draws support from area Nautique dealer Race City Marine, contact tournament director Jeff Gilbert at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or look for the tournament at It's also on Facebook at Little Mountain Lakes Waterski.

Obrien Logo

Snoqualmie, WA – September 1, 2017 - O’Brien Watersports announced today that they have acquired substantially all of the assets of Nash Mfg., which produces watersports products under the Hydroslide brand name; pool and lake leisure products under the licensed brand name of Margaritaville, and rotational molded coolers under the brand name Sub Z. Nash began making wood water skis in 1954 and is the oldest watersports manufacturer based in the United States with factory and headquarters in Fort Worth, TX.

Pete Surrette, General Manager of O’Brien commented, “We are very excited to welcome Hydroslide, Margaritaville and Sub Z brands to the O’Brien family. We believe these products will fit well within our existing dealer and consumer base as well as open up new sales avenues for the O’Brien brand in the pool and cooler businesses.”

“I am very excited to see the Nash brands turn the page on the next chapter.” Said Keith Parton, President of Nash Mfg. “It has been a great 50 years at Nash and I believe the new partnership with O’Brien will be even better. I believe this is a great opportunity for all of our customers.”

O’Brien is committed to the Hydroslide, Margaritaville and Sub Z product offerings. The acquisition of these brands also supports O’Brien’s strategic transition into other segments of the sporting goods industry.

O’Brien has been making quality Watersports products since 1964 - Providing fun on the water for the entire family!


The 2017 Malibu Open has been rescheduled for the weekend of September 29-30 at Trophy Lakes Sports in John's Island, South Carolina, just outside Charleston. Trophy Lakes boasts a world-class slalom course and promises to be an ideal location for the long-running skiing championship.

Originally scheduled for this weekend at Veterans Park in Milwaukee, Wis., the discovery of a blue algae bloom led the Milwaukee Health Department to cancel all activity on the Milwaukee Lagoon due to health and safety concerns.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. For more details, please visit

We regret to inform all the skiers, volunteers, and sponsors that the Malibu Open this coming weekend must be cancelled due to an unforeseen algae bloom at the Milwaukee Lagoon. The county has pulled our permit and will not allow the event to take place.

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this will cause everyone. We attempted to work with the county to no avail. We have attempted to locate an alternate site near the area, but due to this being a last minute occurrence, a site has not come to fruition. Tony Drake worked tirelessly to help with a solution, however we have been unable to make other arrangements that would be acceptable to Malibu and our many sponsors.

We are planning on rescheduling the event at a later date to be determined soon.

Attached is a copy of the mail I received yesterday evening from the county.

Waterski Events LLC

Find Your Flow is a leadership program for adventurous executives and business owners. Since it’s being run by two water skiers (David Benzel and Lynn Carnes) we are sharing it with our Ball of Spray friends. The intention for the program is to take concepts like “hitting the target” and “navigating turbulent waters” from metaphor to real life (we are going to shoot guns and go whitewater rafting) to become even better at handling pressure as a leader. While this program is going to be fun, we are both experienced executive coaches who have helped our clients make substantial progress in their leadership practices. In other words, it will be a meaningful investment in yourself if you want to level up at work, in life and maybe even in water skiing! Entry in the program is by application only. You can hear more about it in the video above. Email Lynn Carnes at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are interested in attending.

FindYourFlow DetailsBox

The Syndicate Omni is where precision meets efficiency.  Developed to enhance ski progression in the slalom course at the 30-34mph speed range, this hybrid-width crossover shape is built with our ultra-high performance Carbon Fiber/PVC Core Construction. The Syndicate Omni’s Flex-Frame provides increased torsional flex for the maneuverable feel of a traditional ski with the added speed & stability of a wideride ski. This allows the ski to twist creating tighter turns while added width provides the stable platform skiers need. The Omni was designed with a Hybrid Waist Width, halfway between those typically found in traditional skis and those in wideride skis. This provides for smooth instinctive turns at a wide range of speeds. See it first at the 75th GOODE Water Ski National Championships this week in San Marcos, TX. 

Jeff Rodgers made it a bookend finish at the Nautique Big Dawg World Tour stop at Little Mountain Lake in Maident, N.C., winning the fourth and final qualifier of the series on Aug. 6. Rodgers won the season-opening stop in Miami in May, and skipped the middle two events as they moved overseas to France and Spain. 

Next up is the series finale in Rio Linda, California on Aug. 25-26.

The Little Mountain Lake stop, with support from area Nautique dealer Race City Marine of NASCAR hotbed Mooresville, N.C., drew a season-high 35 skiers from coast to coast. The Big Dawg tour is for 34-mph male slalom skiers ages 35 and older. 

Rodgers, of Ninety-Six, S.C., ran 4 at 41 off in the first round of Saturday qualifying at Little Mountain Lake, then backed that up with 3 1/2 at 41 in the second round and advanced to Sunday's Sweet 16 as the No 1 seed. There, he opened with head-to-head wins against No. 16 Mark Brandt and then No. 9 Jodi Fisher. 

Rodgers faced No. 4 seed Seth Stisher in the semifinals, after Stisher won head-to-heads against Scott Larson and Clay Neill. No. 12 seed Neill, whose family owns and developed Little Mountain Lake, was an upset winner against No. 5 seed Chad Scott in the round of 16 before meeting Stisher in the final eight.

In the semifinals, Rodgers topped Stisher's 3 1/2 at 39 by getting 6 at 39, then met Greg Badal, the No. 2 seed, in the final. Both ran 39 in the final, and Rodgers got 2 at 41 to Badal's 1 1/2.

Next up for Little Mountain Lake is the Queens Cup for women on Sept. 16-17. Little Mountain and came together for the inaugural Queens Cup in 2016, with cash purse and prizes totaling $12,000. The event provides a Big Dawg-type tournament for women 30 and older, whose maximum boat speeds are 30, 32 and 34 mph. The format mirrors the Big Dawg, with two qualifying rounds on Saturday and Sweet 16 head-to-heads Sunday.  

Reigning champion Josefin Hirst will return to defend her title, and runner-up Joy Kelley is also returning to challenge.

by Kirk Lee

The International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation is the international governing body for all things waterski, but what do they actually do? We're all invested in the future of waterskiing, so it's time we spoke up.

When leaders speak behind closed doors, those on the outside are left only to stare at the door and wonder. The Dalai Lama says, “A lack of transparency results in a distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.” While it is not fair to compare the IWWF to the Chinese Government, many in the waterski world are left with a feeling of deep insecurity over what actually happens within the IWWF, and where the money is going.

The International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the international governing body for towed watersports. Its Mission Statement is to “advance and service all Towed Watersports through education, promotion, and administrative support as part of the Olympic movement.” Its overall priority is “to increase public awareness of Towed Watersports through major events at sites in urban or highly populated areas and through sustained media exposure of those activities.” Basically, if it's a waterski tournament that has “World” in the title, it's sanctioned by the IWWF.

There are three main criticisms of the IWWF: Over-regulation, detachment from skiers, and financial mismanagement.


 The fourth stop on the 2017 Nautique Big Dawg World Tour will be at Little Mountain Lake in Maiden, N.C., on Aug. 5-6.

It will be the Tour's second visit to Little Mountain Lake, with support from area Nautique dealer Race City Marine of Mooresville, N.C.

Little Mountain is the largest and last of four qualifying tournaments leading up to the Big Dawg season finale in Rio Linda, Calif., on Aug. 25-26. With some 40 skiers, Little Mountain will host the largest field of the season.

Chad Scott won the 2016 event and will return to defend his title. World record holder Jeff Rodgers will also be in the field, along with top competitors Ben Favret and Greg Badal. Little Mountain is the home site for another Big Dawg challenger, lake owner Clay Neil.

Rodgers won the season-opening Big Dawg stop in Miami in May, defeating Favret in a runoff after both Americans ran two buoys at 41 feet off in the final. He ran six at 39-1/2 in the runoff, to Favret's 3-1/2 at 39-1/2. Rodgers, a former Open Men world record holder, currently holds the 34-mph world record.

The next two Big Dawg stops moved overseas, with Frederic Halt of Switzerland winning in France, where he defeated Jeremy Newby-Ricci in the head-to-head final by one buoy, scoring three at 41.

Newby-Ricci of Great Britain was runner-up again at the third Tour stop, in Spain, as Ivan Morros won in his home country with two at 41 off in the final. Newby-Ricco scored a half at 41.

The Big Dawg World Tour is in its 12th season and is pulled exclusively by the Ski Nautique 200. The Tour features the world's best 34-mph men slalom skiers ages 35 and older. Each two-day stop includes two qualifying rounds, followed by a bracketed 16-skier head-to-head finale.

Little Mountain Lake will also offer a Big Dawg spinoff event for women, the Queens Cup on Sept. 16-17, for the top amateur female slalom skiers 30 and older. As with the Big Dawg stop, it will be the second season for the Little Mountain Queens Cup, sponsored by, after a hugely successful debut as a $10,000-plus cash-and-prizes event in 2016.

The Queens Cup, which drew 24 entrants last year, follows the same format as the Big Dawg, including the bracketed 16-skier head-to-head finish on Sunday. Unlike the Big Dawg, the Queens Cup uses a handicapped scoring system to include skiers whose maximum boat speed is 30, 32 and 34 mph.

In addition to its support of the Little Mountain Big Dawg stop, Race City Marine of Lake Norman, located 15 minutes from the world record lake, is also an integral supporter of the Queens Cup.

The Little Mountain Big Dawg event will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 5 and 10:30 a.m. Aug. 6.

For information, go to For Queens Cup information, go to the tournament schedule. Or contact tournament director Jeff Gilbert at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for information on either event.



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.