New Zealand Barefoot Waterski Team - 2023 World Barefoot Championships, Mulwala, AUS
After a hot 2 weeks in the Australian sun, the New Zealand team has returned home with plenty of silverware from the 2023 World Barefoot Waterski Championships held in Mulwala, Australia. The event saw upwards of 100 skiers from around the world battle it out on the water in the Junior (U17), U23, and Open Divisions.
Our Individual success stories include Ben Groen becoming a World Champion for the very first time taking home Gold in Open Men tricks with a massive score of 11480 pts. Ben also achieved a silver medal in open jump with 24.8m and finished up with the silver overall with Australia's Keenan Derry becoming the Open Men World Overall Champion for 2023.
Georgia Mathis (Groen) retained her Open women world jump title taking gold in the event with a 20.8m jump. Mathis also took silver in slalom, missed the podium in tricks due to 2 early falls but finished up with the silver overall with Australia's Ashleigh Groen (Stebbings) becoming Open Women World Overall Champion for 2023.
In the very competitive Junior Division, Charlotte McGuire brings home our only individual medal posting an 8.0m jump in the finals giving her the bronze medal. Emma Mckenzie managed to ski her way into the junior girls trick final but narrowly missed out for a spot on the podium, ending up 5th in junior girls tricks with a score of 900 pts.
New to the World Championships this year was the introduction of the Under 23 division. In an exciting ski off after scoring the same amount (6300pts) in the U23 men trick final, Kiwi William Leigh and Australia's Connor Rogers were to ski again in tiebreak for the Gold. Both skiers managed to stand up their passes with Connor resulting in the gold with a massive 8600pt run and William taking home silver with 7700pts. New Zealand's Toby Kelly was just shy of the podium finishing in 4th place for U23 men tricks. William Leigh finished up the tournament with the bronze medal in under 23 men with Australian Connor Rogers taking silver overall and USA's Brody Meskers taking out the Overall U23 Men World Title.
In the teams event our open team returns with silver medals around their necks, defeating a strong USA team (bronze) but losing out to the dominant Australians who took open gold. In the Juniors our crew made it to the podium earning bronze in the teams event with the Australian Juniors placing second and the Junior USA team taking out the Gold.
In addition to the World Championships, invited skiers were selected to compete in a night jump event to further promote our sport too a massive crowd. The New Zealand skiers the participated in this event were Sarah Linton, Bevan Kelly, Ryan Groen, Fred Groen, and Georgia Mathis.
Congratulations to all the New Zealand Representatives and a massive thankyou to team manager Ross Linton.
Mitchell Rush (Reserve)
Sarah Linton (Reserve)
Tom Mathis (Independent)
Rob Groen (Judge)
Claire Mowday (Scorer)
View Official Results Here.