With 91 young Waterski athletes from 21 countries pitched against each other in these World Junior Waterski Championships, great results were anticipated. That is exactly what was achieved ! The perfect man-made Miranda Lake in San Bernardo on the outskirts of Santiago witnessed a host of new World Junior Records. Some had stood intact for twelve years. On this basis, seeing the performances of these outstanding U17 athletes, the future for the Sport looks very bright indeed.
As the sun sank over Santiago on Sunday, the World Champions in Slalom, Tricks and Jump, plus the Overall Champions and winning Teams, received their well earned medals. Once again, the record-breaking Ski Nautique 200 boat, which has earned it’s reputation as an industry leader, added to its legendary results throughout these Junior World Championships.
In Slalom, Jaimee Bull (CAN), Brooke Baldwin (USA) and Neilly Ross (CAN), did much more than take the top medals. In the Prelims, Brooke Baldwin demolished the seven year-old 2009 World Slalom record by adding no less than five buoys for an outstanding score of 2 buoys on the 10.75m line. The old record was also beaten by Jaimee Bull in the Finals with 4 buoys on the 11.25m line. Neilly Ross was just one buoy short of the old record. Brooke Baldwin suffered from not having her rope shortened on her final pass at 11.25m. This upset her concentration and she could only score 3 buoys at 11.25m on her re-ride to take the Silver medal. Nevertheless she was still heading for Overall Gold at this stage. Although the Boys did not beat the 2015 World Record of Robert Pigozzi (DOM), Robert Hazelwood (GBR) and Arron Davies (GBR) had a fantastic British duel in the Finals in a Tie Break with 2 buoys on the 10.75m line. In the end, it was Robert Hazelwood, whose uncle Mike Hazelwood, a three-time Open World Jump Record Holder, and uncle Will Asher who has two World Slalom Records to his credit, who took the title to add even more to the proud family Waterski history !
In Tricks, the Girls set a whole new standard for the future. Team Nautique Skier Erika Lang’s old World Record of 8990 points was beaten in both the Prelims and Finals by two other Nautique Skiers. Silver medalist Neilly Ross (CAN) astonished all with a score of 10,050 in both the Prelims and again in the Finals. However, it was Anna Gay (USA) who really stole the show with a new pending World Record of 10,440 plus the title. The very consistent Overall challenger, Brooke Baldwin (USA), took third place. The Boys were less fortunate. Scoring reviews led to overnight drama and much worry for the very talented Patricio Font (MEX). Eventually, his score of 10,010 was awarded and his greatly relieved parents Sergio and Aline breathed a major sigh of relief and took home Gold. Lindsay Bordier (FRA) and Joel Poland (GBR) both broke 9,000 points for Silver and Bronze.
As Sunday afternoon closed in, it was time for the Jump Finals. Again, the Girls took the spotlight in the Prelims with a new pending World Record of 46.0m by Dominique Grondin-Allard (CAN). The twelve-year old record of 45.3 by Karina Nowlan AUS has fallen ! She went on to take Gold in the Finals with 45.1m. Sofia Maksimenkova (UKR) took Silver with 43.5m and the multi-talented Brooke Baldwin took Bronze with 42.6m. In the Boys Finals, hot favorite Conley Pinette (CAN) had a leading score of 58.0m in the Prelims and 55.9m was enough in the Finals to give him a well deserved Gold. Joel Poland (GBR) proved his Overall strength with 55.1m to take Silver and Louis Duplan-Fribourg (FRA) took Bronze with 55.0m.
As all headed to enjoy the Closing Banquet of these Junior World Waterski Championships, for consistency throughout, Brooke Baldwin (USA), a medalist in all disciplines, and Joel Poland (GBR), captured the coveted Overall titles. While the top three Teams showed strength in depth, this time the Team Gold went to Canada with dominant performances in Jump. France came 2nd through their strength in Tricks and Great Britain earned 3rdwith very strong results in Slalom.