Peace, Love & Waterskiing

The Lost and Retyped Acapulco Wrap-up

Amigos y Amigas,

We’ll call this take two for the Acapulco newsletter (1 of 2).  I really don’t know what happened to that email because nobody got it and I couldn’t locate it anywere!  Anyway, I’ll try to recapture its essence and highlights.

It was a busy busy season in Acapulco and so much happened since my last newsletter that I stand no chance in recapturing all of it.  Thus, I will limit my focus to the fantastic final week at Ski Paradise and share some information on what is in store for the future of Ski Paradise Acapulco.

After a long season, it would be easy to let the last week wind down slowly to end another great chapter in Ski Paradise’s strong 22 year history.  However, Gordon, is far too wise to let this happen.  Instead, he brought in veteran guest coaches Bob Hardeman and Scott Rabeneau to end the year with an exclamation point.  Bob and Scott have been deeply involved with all aspects of skiing (judging, driving, coaching and ski testing) since homo sapiens took over skiing from homo erectus.  More than their extensive knowledge of skiing, however, these two guys are a two-man comedy team.  I seriously believe that they could go on tour and leave audiences anywhere clenching their sides with laughter.

The coach-student relationship on and off the water is paramount in a sport like waterskiing in which confidence is so critical.  Between Scott’s unrelenting quick wit and Bob coming to the dinner table dressed in drag (posing as Gabriella while Gordon and Gabriella went on a date), any insecurities that the guests had went out the window.  I would say it put everyone at ease but the sight of Bob in a dress was anything but soothing.  I’ll also say that there were a couple of “firsts” at the dinner table that night and just leave it at that.

The dynamic duo were also effective on the water and produced numerous personal bests.  Bob Hardeman also effected the most radical change I’ve ever seen by a coach anywhere.  Imagine being a recreational skier for the better part of 20 years only to travel to Ski Paradise and have a coach tell you that he thinks you might ski better if you switched your stance from Left to Right foot forward.  I think I would flat out refuse and ask for a new coach.  Wade Holbrook, who is about as laid back as they come, took this challenge in stride.  To everyone’s amazement (especially mine), the switched stance WORKED!  As a right foot forward skier, Wade’s body position and form improved immediately.  Wade’s son, Dagan, also tried the switch and experienced similar improvement.  I can honestly say that I would never have dreamed of asking a student to make this transition and am still blown away by Wade and Dagan’s success.  They both came to Acapulco as lefties and left as righties, ready to ski through the summer and improve upon their newfound form.  I am not saying that this advice is for everyone nor can I exactly explain why this worked for them.  However, it was a great reminder to always be thinking outside the box.  In a sport with so many variables, experimenting with new ideas is almost always beneficial.

In the race to improve, we often times box ourselves in and create our own limitations.  It takes courage to try new things but most of the time, coloring outside of the lines helps us learn.  In this case, Bob, Wade and Dagan colored right off the page and it paid off.  If it didn’t work out, the skiers could have easily gone back to their left foot forward and at least would have had a story about some crazy coach.  The lesson learned is simply not to be afraid of trying new things, even if they seem outrageous.  You just never know what change, simple or significant, may make you a whole new skier.

As the year went out with a bang, it reminded me of why I love what I do.  The skiing was great and the company was greater still.  I met some fellow east-coast tribesman, Marc and Rachell, who I plan to see later in the summer in New York and got to hang out with Virginia friends, Rob and Michele Sterne, who always remind me that Acapulco really is my second home now.

So what is to come from the world’s number one water ski vacation destination next year?  Well, in fact, there will now be two top destinations.  Ski Paradise is expanding and will be opening a luxury water ski getaway in Puerto Escondito.  PE is straight down the coast from Acapulco and from what I’ve heard, it’s a totally groovy city.  Where Acapulco is loud, flashy and touristy, Puerto Escondito is quaint, quiet and more remote.  After kick starting the season for three weeks in Acapulco, Gordon and Gabriella will be moving down to PE to host water skiers from across the globe.

So what does this mean for Ski Paradise Acapulco? It means the same great vacation that has kept skiers coming back year after year, only I’ll be the one there to show everyone a great time and make sure the fun never stops.  After this past season, I know the ropes and feel prepared to make next year one of the very best.  Of course, I’ll have to start collecting jokes for the dinner table.  Well, either that or get Scott and Bob to come down a bit more to “perform.”

That’s the word on Acapulco.  Now I need to shift gears and focus on my personal ski paradise – the one that is entering full swing in Bumpass!



P.S. I forgot how I worked it in in the original newsletter but the final group at ski paradise took one of the best group photos of the year.  I’ve attached it to this email to show everyone that Acapulco is safer than the American media would have you believe.  The police are the good guys and they are on our side, as this picture clearly shows.

P.P.S  For those of you who came to Acapulco and visited the Marsh Children’s Home, we had a terrific party with them on the last Friday.  I had been leading guests there all year, bringing ice cream and tortillas to the kids.  Since that fun would be ending, we thought it best to have a blowout for the final Friday.  With many thanks to Dan, we were able to organize a DJ, 2 pinatas, and a boat load of tamales for the kids.  We had a blast dancing on the beach with the kids and the piñatas were literally a hit.


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