After being nearly shut down by dwindling participation five years ago, the Cal Poly Water Ski Team is back on the water and leaving the competition in its wake.
The team closed out its season last weekend, placing No. 2 at “Paradise Found,” their home tournament held in Bakersfield. The team defeated 12 competitors from California, Washington, Oregon and Arizona.
Noteworthy performances were turned in by Amanda Willson, taking 4th place in women’s slalom and 5th in women’s overall; Jamie Hastings, 6th in men’s slalom; and Patrick Wyatt, 7th in men’s jump.
The Western Collegiate Water Ski Association’s All Star Qualifiers were also held last weekend, where ten Cal Poly team members made the cut to compete in the National Collegiate Water Ski Association’s All Stars competition.
Four of the qualifying athletes will be attending the competition in Iowa this weekend. Matt Bettencourt will compete in men’s slalom, Patrick Wyatt in men’s jump, Amanda Willson in women’s slalom, trick and jump, and Liz Seman in women’s trick and jump.
“They’re all really good skiers,” said water ski team president Colin Gibbs. “Liz is a first year, so it’s pretty amazing that she’s already getting to go; Amanda will be in all three events, which is pretty unusual.”
The team is currently up to about 40 members and is looking for more.
“The cool thing is the camaraderie in the sport,” said Gibbs. “It’s not necessarily a competitive atmosphere; it’s really laid back.”
“All the teams really connect together,” he said, “you go to tournaments every weekend and see the same teams, it’s a lot of fun and a good way to meet people.”
The team practices a few times a week at Lake Nacimiento in Paso Robles and competes in the fall and spring quarters. There are skiers from a variety of skill levels, ranging from beginners to the more advanced that are comfortable competing.
In the end though, “we’re all about going out on the lake and having fun,” Gibbs said.
For more information, visit the team’s Web site at www.calpolywaterski.com.