This past weekend I competed at the Malibu Open Festival in downtown Milwaukee, WI. This was the 6th year this event was held at the Lagoon in Veteran’s Park. I tied my personal best in the preliminary round running 3 buoys at 41 off advancing to the semi-finals in a 3 way tie for 2nd place with Will Asher and Jason McClintock. Nate Smith was in first with 4@41off. In the semi-finals, I took to the water as the third seed and knew I needed 3@41 to advance to the finals. K.C. Wilson and Freddie Winter were currently in first with 3@41. I tied my personal best again being in a tie 4 way tie for second with Asher, Winter and Wilson and secured myself a ticket into the four man head to head final as the third seed. Freddie and K.C. had a run off for the 4th and final spot. They both ran 39 cold off the dock and ended up tying again with 1@41. Unfortunately K.C. missed his gates at 41off in the second round and Freddie secured the fourth and final spot in the final with 1.5@41off. (1) Nate Smith (USA), (2) Will Asher (GBR), (3) Brian Detrick (USA) and (4) Freddie Winter (GBR).
The head to head brackets were 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3. Even though I have been in my fair share of finals the last couple of years, this was my first head to head final. I was matched up against my HO Syndicate Skis teammate and former World Champion, Will Asher. Being the higher seed, Asher elected to go first which meant I had to beat his score to advance to the final bracket. We both ran 39 ½ off for the third time this weekend and Asher kept his skiing consist running 3 buoys at 41 off again. This meant that I needed to run a personal best to advance into the final again Nate. Unfortunately I did not get the best start and ended up rushing the turn at 2 ball. I ended with 1 ½ buoys which would have had me finishing in 3rd Place. Unfortunately judges said that I missed my gates at 41 off and was scored zero moving me down to 4th place.
Nate Smith captured the win followed by Asher, Winter and Detrick. I am very happy with my performances this weekend. My skiing was very consistent and I put myself in a position to be on the podium and go for the win. Of course I wanted to make it into the final bracket but I gave it everything I had in the tough foggy and raining conditions and I lost to a great competitor. My hats off to Will for the consistent skiing this weekend and congrats to Nate on yet another win.
I had the opportunity of announcing the women’s slalom prelims and semi-finals with Dano the Mano and Jeff Greathouse. It fun to talk skiing with them and commentate the awesome talent we were seeing from the women’s field. Prelim highlights were Regina running 1@41off, Karen Truelove running 3@39 looking the best I have seen her all year, Whitney McClintock 2@39 and my HO Skis teammate Breanne Dodd with 1.5@39. Semi finals highlights were Whitney running 4@39 securing the top spot into the finals followed by Regina 2@39, Manon Costard running 1.5@39 and Karen running 1.25@39 to squeak out the final finals spot over Breanne and April Coble Eller’s 1@39. So the pairings would be Whitney vs Karen and Regina vs Manon. Whitney ran 4@39 to beat out Karen who had a great start at 39 but fell around 3 ball. Regina advanced against Manon which set up another Whitney vs Regina final. Whitney was top see and elected to go first. She ran a big 5@39off putting the pressure on Regina but Regina hung tough and fought her way through 39off for the win!
Unfortunately I didn’t catch much of the jump event scores as I was trying to stay warm and get ready for the finals. I do know the jumpers had similar foggy and misty conditions like we had in the slalom finals and I heard it made it difficult for them as well to figure out depth perception and see where the base of the ramp is. Congratulations to Jacinta Carroll and Rodrigo “Toti” Miranda on their jump wins! It was great to see Zack Worden back on the water after numerous injuries over the last few years. He jumped a 5 1/2 and looked really good when I saw him in the prelims. He was edged out by Scott Ellis by 4 inches for second place but Zack was still stoked to make it on the podium in third place. Damien Sharman also made his comeback after two months off with a knee injury and finished in 6th. Despite some cold and wet weather, overall it was another great event in Milwaukee! Thanks again to Malibu Boats, the entire Pro Ski Tour crew, officials and volunteers for putting on another great event for us.