The New Zealand Barefoot Waterski National Titles were held at Piarere Waterski Club on the waters of Lake Karapiro with 26 competitors skiing in what was very challenging water conditions with strong winds and rain on day one. However by day three the winds had dropped and the finals went ahead with many skiers getting personal bests. But the weather never stopped our seven top athletes in the Open Mens division from battling for the title with Ryan Groen taking out top honours along his sister Georgia Groen taking out the Open Women title for the 12th time. Once again we saw Georgia trick well above the men scoring just under 8000. The Men’s battle for 1st was heavily contested and at end of day two Bevan Kelly was placed in first before going into the finals, with Ryan tricking over 5000 for the first time in a few years to take out tricks and Overall. William Leigh took gold in the Jump event and coming in for third overall.
In Women One Division we saw three close competitors battle together but at the end of the weekend it was Marguerite Scott taking the win overall returning back to the sport after a six-year break.
James Holden and Grayson Cooper both skied their best in Men’s One Division seeing the closest finish ever with only 2 overall points between them which eventually saw Grayson as this year champion.
Senior Men’s Overall this year was taken out by Aucklander John McTaggert who also took Gold in tricks and Slalom but had to fright hard to keep Brent Wright and Matt Slow biting at Johns toes all weekend placing them in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
James McGuire skied well to win overall in Juniors pushing back Jack Mathis into 2nd place and first-time nationals skier Mitchell Rush for 3rd overall
Junior Girls overall went to Charlotte McGuire skiing away in her first jump event in tournament making another brother sister combo overall win. Tricks and Slalom gold went to Emma McKenzie from Wellington and Madi Bourke placing 3rd overall.
Sub Junior Girls overall went to Ellie Hollands competing in her first competition behind the boat and achieving some very impressive personal best scores!
And of course our talented group of rookies stole the show. Tom McGuire taking out the number 1 spot with a late entry, Lily comes in s 2nd, and Jack Grenough takes 3rd with getting up on the 1.5m rope second shot. Not to forget Wyatt, Boyd and Zoe who all skied great too!
Big thank you goes to the Leigh family for their boat house to host the awards dinner. The Vaughan Wilson Memorial Spirit Award goes to Jo Leigh for her work and passion for the sport at all levels.
Congratulations to Mitchell Rush for receiving Most Improved up and coming skier, Most Proficiencies and Youngest Backwards barefooter for 2022 season.
Fred Groen gets the wooden spoon for engraving all his family trophies from last year but also did this years before the event started. Jack Mathis gets the Wooden Foot for his trick handle breaking during his run but it was not his handle he broke.
Photogenic Jump went to William Leigh with a 23 4m jump that showed the grace of invert jumping when done so well.
The Regional Shield again was taken out by Wellington closely contested on and off the water by Waikato.
Once again, a big thank you goes to all the Officials and helpers and the members of the Waikato Region that made this event possible The club looks forward to what will be a very busy 2023 season ahead.