Well, the Redskins amazing streak finally crashed right in front of my eyes. With the end of that season, there was only one thing I could think of to maintain the high I had been riding through the holidays and into the new year: START SKIING!
So, Sparta, Granddad and I packed ourselves up and started driving in search of sunny skies and warm water. We road tripped straight down the coast to West Palm Beach. Well, with a little stop off in Charleston to stay with my great friend Sammy. Here, Granddad had his first ever Japanese Hibachi experience, with the ‘bachi bros, which set the tone for a marvelous trip.
We then cruised down I-95, having a few great conversations and laughs. As we neared West Palm, I dialed up good friend and former Virginian, Gene Levines, figuring he was at the lake skiing. He was and told me if I came straight there, he would give me a pull. Thus, I drove straight to Okeeheelee Park. Stepped into the 80 degree air and within minutes, found myself ripping the East-West lake, among friends.
I couldn’t tell who was more excited to return to a place we once called home, Sparta or me. Either way, we both fell easily back into the happy, healthy South Florida lifestyle. In fact, I was constantly reminded of how much I enjoyed my time there a few winters ago. The great weather, parks, friends and skiing make this area the best place I can think of to spend the winter in the USA. I suppose this is why more and more water skiers continue to flock to this area. Another former Virginian, Paul Santangelo, was my main ski partner on this trip. Paul has been one of my favorite drivers for years and the fact that he recently got a 2013 Carbon Pro made skiing with him almost a little too good.
After four fantastic days of shredding one of America’s top slalom sites and catching up with friends, it was time to start heading North… But not too far! I was physically whipped, ski muscles screaming, but determined to rebound for what awaited.
Granddad, Sparta and I only had to travel a couple of hours to the North because our next stop was in Orlando, skiing with THE MAN, himself, Andy Mapple. One of the primary purposes of this trip was to test out the new Mapple 6.0 and there is no better way to do that than with Mr. Mapple. By the time I arrived at Andy’s killer site to put his eyes on me, my mind was made up: I was all in with Team Mapple!
This ski rips unlike any I have ever ridden in my life. Andy said that this was the first time he ever got to build a ski from the “ground, up” by himself, and when he said it’s not like other skis, he wasn’t lying. I will share more insight about riding the ski, as the season approaches. For now, I will just provide a couple recommendations:
1) Try this ski. If you can unlock its power; hold onto your boardshorts; you’re going to rip! 2) If you decide to try this ski, take advantage of what Team Mapple is offering. If you can make it to Orlando, schedule a set with Andy and let him help you. How could you beat this option? If you can’t, try to get in touch with Chris Parrish, Marion Matthieu, Nicole Arthur or me. There are a few key pointers that you should take into your test ride with this rip-stick. It does not ski like anything else on the market and if you try to just take it easy and see what the ski will do, I can promise it won’t do anything! This ski is made for you to beast out, get aggressive and attack the course (picture, oh I don’t know…. ANDY MAPPLE skiing!!!!). Needless to say, finding myself on Team Mapple is nearly surreal. Such a thought would have registered as a fantasy a decade ago, but I will accept it as further proof that dreams do come true and continue to dream big!
No Rest for the Wicked
I’m going to take these dreams (and my new Mapple Ski) and carry them around the world over the next 6 weeks. Granddad and I take off for Waterski! Costa Rica on Saturday. We are both so pumped to return to this amazing place and hang out with “Jungle” Jim Kilsdonk and reunite with some other great ski friends.
From Costa, Granddad and I part company, as he returns to Las Vegas to win some money and visit family, and I head to Acapulco for some time in Ski Paradise. As many weeks as I have spent at Ski Paradise, I am always eager for more. Plus hanging out with Brian Moore and antagonizing Miguelito never gets old. There were some cancellations for this week and some space opened up. If you feel like you are in the mood for:
Let me know ASAP and I might be able to work with Gordon on getting you a little last-minute hook-up.
I will check back in with some updates from abroad before the big trip around the world to MOOMBA! For all of you ski junkies who can’t make it to a warm destination. Keep doing what you can. Work on fitness, nutrition, balance, land-drills and figure out what equipment you need to upgrade this year to make it your best! I actually followed the p90x2 prescribed program this year and tomorrow is my 90th (last) day! It’s perfect timing and I am pumped! The days are getting longer and I’m feeling a warm spring around the corner.
None of us will be more excited for the change of seasons than Ms. Sparta.
To say it’s been too long would be the understatement of the year. On that note, let me say HAPPY NEW YEAR and also apologize for my lengthy absence. I can’t express too much remorse, however, as doing so would indicate that I regret the things that I was doing, other than connecting with all of you. Suspending the newsletter was not a conscious choice at first. It was simply the case that vivid life experiences were coming at me so rapidly that if I had any prayer of absorbing them, I had better commit my time to doing so, rather than trying to report on them.
The summer was full, beyond capacity, with rich happenings, along with the usual hustle of travel, tournaments, teaching lessons and kickin’ it Bumpass-style. From lights out skiing at the Bum Pass Water Ski Club TO the VA Championships and Jr. Development Clinics to “Skistock” Regionals at Pangaea TO the very emotional Malibu Open with our hero Dana Reed TO Calgary Canada and the wildest game of blackjack I ever played TO SOAKED Orlando, where I qualified in in first place, Buoy Wonder retired from pro skiing and Sparta got lost for an eternal 25 hours TO a remarkable September day, teaching a Maryland girl scout troop about the meaning of life, through skiing TO disappointment at Diablo Shores and then finally to a strong season’s finish in the south and my first but certainly not last Beaver Lake tournament, the profound life experiences just began to pile on top of one another. To try to explain any of the events, beginning with SOAKED, in any detail, could fill an entire book alone. Couple that with the constant travel and the extra attention that my wingman both needed and deserved, and there was no time to share these tales with everyone (especially through the amazingly frustrating medium of “MailChimp”). Yes, I’ll be sticking to these blog posts from now on…
With the onset of the offseason, Granddad and I began to catch up on all non-skiing matters. It’s amazing how much more there is to life! Fortunately, we have been catching up quite well. We have been spending a lot of time with family, getting our bodies healthy and strong and having some great times together. I am proud to share that I met a wonderful and beautiful gal. We met briefly, right before nationals and Calgary. It took two months to get together again, but since that encounter on October 11 – well, let’s just say life has been good. Granddad was initially disappointed that he could no longer provide his wingman services but that’s when I explained that now it was I who would be his wingman. I think I’m doing pretty well…
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. We got to enjoy all of these holidays to the tune of Redskins’ victories. RG3 is going to be back and better than ever. He is the man and I’m just glad he’s into football not waterskiing. My goal for this season is to channel my inner RG3 and become to waterskiing what he was to the Redskins this year. Thus, I’ll need to be a superhero, even if I don’t dress up as one (as often).
To say that I’m excited for the 2013 season would be the understatement of the NEW YEAR. I am fired up beyond measure. You can say you heard it here; THIS IS MY YEAR. I have many exciting changes to announce and I promise to do so as the winter bows to spring. I am going to kick of the new season and take my first sets of 2013 tomorrow! It is going to hit 70 in Bumpass this weekend and that means it is GAME ON! Then I’m going to keep things rolling, as Granddad and I road trip to Florida and then jet-set to Waterski! Costa Rica. From there Granddad will return to Vegas to look for those show girls and I will continue to Ski Paradise Acapulco. If the skiing goes as well as I’m feeling, I will book a ticket to Australia and continue the ski-a-thon to the other side of the world!
Thank you, great friends, for making this past year so wonderful and rich. I think I have finally, fully absorbed all of the remarkable events of the past half year. When I step back and look at these experiences as a collective whole, I am left with nothing but pure exuberance for 2013. If you aren’t planning for this to be the best year of your life: CHANGE YOUR PLANS IMMEDIATELY! I can’t wait to see all of you and share the three greatest things we know:
PEACE, LOVE & WATERSKIING!