A Williams Lake family waterskied to gold Aug. 12-16 in Sherbrooke, Que., at the National Water Ski Championships.
Parnell Pinette and his two sons, Conley, 15, and Lucas, 9, proved to be some of the best waterskiers in the country at the event, held on Lake Magog.
Conley began his bid for a national title in the 17-and-under division.
There, he finished second in slalom, first in trick and first in jump for an overall first-place result. He also sailed 162 feet to tie his personal best in jump.
“Then they have an open division, the top four in Canada qualify for it,” Conley said. “I had qualified for trick the past two years, but this year I qualified for all three events.”
In the open division, Conley was competing against some of the top-ranked waterskiers in the world.
Despite the stiff competition, Conley finished first overall.
“There were six pros there in total,” he said.
“I got to jump against the world ranked no. 1 in jump.
“I was super nervous, but once I got through the first bit it was good.”
Lucas, who started waterskiing when he was 4, competed in the boys 10-and-under division.
He placed first in jump (60 feet), second in slalom and second in trick to win the silver medal overall.
“This was my second time at nationals,” he said. “It was a really good site — probably one of the best nationals we’ve had.”
Lucas posted a personal best in slalom and in jump.
Parnell, meanwhile, in the men’s 3 division, was first in trick, first in jump (116 feet) and fourth in slalom to win the men’s 3 overall.
Conley will now travel to Florida to train for two months with renowned waterskiers Matt Rini and Ryan Dodd. Meanwhile, he’ll be continuing his education through online classes.
“I’m excited for that,” he said, noting his goal is to ultimately become a professional waterskier.
“Me, too,” Lucas responded.
The brothers will continue to train for the upcoming 2016 Junior World Champions, to be held in either November of 2016 or January of 2017.
Another goal Conley has set his sights on is to qualify for the Junior Masters Invitational, an event where only the top five in the world rankings list get to go.
Conley is currently ranked seventh in the world in jump, 10th in the world in trick and 10th in the world overall.
– Inset photo Lucas Pinette