Fifty-two water skiers from around the province, and even the U.S., stormed Chimney Lake last weekend for the BC Water Ski Provincial Championships.
Parnell Pinette, sons Conley Pinette, 12, and Lucas Pinette, 6, Brian Doering and Brent Graham represented Williams Lake — each posting top finishes at the event.
Skiers competed in slalom, trick and jump to determine overall winners in categories based by age.
“We had the biggest turn out for provincials there’s been in 10 years,” Parnell said. “We had skiers from six years old, which was the youngest, all the way up to 70 years old.”
Skiers came from the Okanagan, Prince George, the Lower Mainland, the U.S. and even Chile to compete.
Conley, the current Canadian record holder for his age group in jump at 117 feet, finished first in all three events in the U14 boys category. His jump of 112 feet Saturday gave the large crowd in attendance reason to cheer.
Conley said he felt he skied fairly well Saturday, but added he could have improved his score in trick.
“In trick I didn’t do so well,” Conley said. “I fell on my early tricks. But in slalom I was just one pass away from my best ever. In jump I did better with 112 feet.”
Parnell skied in the men’s 3 category taking second in slalom, first in trick and first in jump.
Lucas finished fifth in his age group — competing against kids much older than him.
“He just wanted to participate and wanted to ski and we told him this is his chance to ski a tournament this year,” Parnell said.
Graham, competing in the men’s 4 division, took third in slalom.
Parnell said overall the tournament went very smoothly.
“We’ve had an amazing group out here,” he said. “We had tons of people from town come out, which you don’t always get. A lot of places they hold these tournaments are so remote so it’s been really nice to have spectators out to see what’s going on.”
Sunday the top 10 jumpers on the weekend were paired together for a money jump. Skiers were paired inversely from the top jumper to the 10th jumper for a combined distance total.
Coincidentally, Parnell and Conley wound up paired together and finished in second place. The top jumpers, Jed Leech and Dick Horwood, took home a $500 prize.
Prior to provincials a week-long water ski camp was held from Monday to Friday for all the skiers.
“That was probably the highlight for me,” Conley said. “I skied pretty well in all the events during the week and learned quite a bit.”
Participants were treated to some extremely high quality instruction from BC team coach Cory Bate of Victoria, along with former Canadian national team member Clint Baikie of Campbell River.
“The kids were really lucky to have that high quality of coaching this week,” Parnell said.
He added the support and sponsorship from community businesses was phenomenal.
“We’ve just been overwhelmed,” he said. “The sponsorship and support was just great.”
For complete results from the BC Water Ski Provincial Championships visit www.wswbc.org/water-skiing/results-records.html.