The Pan Am Barefoot Championships make a “Muy Caliente” Return in Mexico

By Rich Kaufman and Alex Youngblood

The Pan American Barefoot Championships are back after a generation!  And this time around it was held in Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico… the first time ever in South of the Border!

74579360_10217909114453967_964547889726488576_n.jpg

The two-day tournament loaded with fun and awesome skiing. Competition was held at the Boca Laguna Ski Club. This private lake has 15 foot gates  and a beautiful paved brick road alongside of the lake. As you look down the lake you see the tall mountains in the background which makes for an awesome view.

IMG_5686
Enrique, Andrea, Richard and Lexi!

Several people worked non-stop to get things ready, from driving 10 hours to deliver the jump ramp and boats to setting the jump course in an unfamiliar lake for the first time. The task became a bit bigger when we had to send someone to buy rope and borrow spare buoys from Boca Laguna to make it happen.

ben
Ben Groen measured, set up and ran the Splash Eye Jump Measurement Program.

Since rain was forecasted for Saturday, skiers decided to start the jump Thursday afternoon.  Brody Meskers (USA), Alexis McCauley (USA), Alex Youngblood (USA), Don Stoppe (USA), Chad Sullivan (USA), and Andrew Martin (USA) made history, being the first ever barefoot water skiers to jump at Boca Laguna Water Ski Club.

74361889_10217909117374040_3918794672733945856_n
Lexi makes history in Mexico!

The slippery water at Boca Laguna felt a little like greased-lightning, the smooth ramp surface was slightly different as it was really smooth and slick even without the slippery water. Brody’s first inverted jump at the lake was a really low inverted jump that ended with a hard crash. He adjusted a little for the slippery water and absolutely launched it!

75210131_10218111196750280_8732588443223195648_n
Don Stoppe launches in Mexico!

On Friday, Footers were ripping down the lake with the awesome mountains in the background. In this November tournament, a little off-season, skiers were scoring toe-ups, line position tricks, and multiple turns.

72203757_10218111195630252_4278068257547616256_n

In the Open Women’s division, in second place was Alex Youngblood (USA), and sweeping first place was Alexis McCauley (USA).

In the Open Men, finishing in first place and sweeping his whole division was Brody Meskers (USA), followed by Andrew Martin (USA) and Don Stoppe (USA).

Taking the first place spot for the Junior Boys was Enrique Reyes Retana (MEX).

img_5691-e1573147605417.jpg

In the Senior division, Don Stoppe (USA) won first place followed by Rich Kaufman (USA), Mike Molepske (USA), Gustavo Serrano (MEX), Patricio Alvarez (MEX), Chad Sullivan (USA) and Jorge Presas (ARG.)

Jorge and Juan Lucas Presas (ARG) showed up after a traveling a crazy 25+ hours to get there to compete. We love these guys! 

75336358_10217909115293988_7701026161597349888_n
Juan, Jorge, Juan Lucas and Benito

Saturday, the footers had free time to do some sight-seeing around the city of Chapala.  Day of the Dead Celebrations were underway making downtown an amazing place to be with flowers, music, and decorations everywhere.

Vicki Kaufman was in the full spirit and full make-up!  Wow!

74214364_10162938961855599_3729697622152183808_n
Vicki? Is that you?

Later in the day, fun skiing consisted of dual flying dock starts, dual line step turns, and even barefoot runs by the IWWF President Jose Antonio Perez Priego!

73364144_10162938960500599_6407069566056267776_n
Super girls!

Natalia Carlos (Mexico’s youngest skier), Alex Youngblood, and Alexis McCauley all did a fun set together as well. Then all the skiers finished off the last day reconvening at the evening banquet, listening to music and enjoying the Barefoot family.

73239927_10218111196070263_6804099048727904256_n
During some boat mechanical issues Carlos LaMadrid, the lake owner, and several others were enjoying some local Tequila, while hanging out in the boathouse.

The US had the largest presence in both officials and skiers.  While this was a small tournament it made it easy for everyone to interact with everyone. If you missed it you missed this one, you missed a great event.

75371741_10217909115053982_1487441801324265472_n

I want to thank Carlos LaMadrid for inviting the Barefooters come and enjoy his private lake. Thank all of the Officials who worked the tournament and did not ski: Ben Groen, Richard Gray and Andrea Formella.

75540005_10217909114733974_3592249842522390528_n
Boca Laguna!

Thanks to the officials who skied and officiated, the semi-pro mechanics Don Stoppe, Rich Kaufman, and the pro-Mexican mechanic for the work and parts.

74661768_10217909117654047_7529384562481168384_n

The Mexican Local Organizing Committee Gustavo Serrano and Juan Carlos providing the boats, barefoot jump, and connections to the lake. To all of the family members who tag along and support the Footers and all the crazy things we do!

We can’t wait for the NEXT Pan Am!

73504796_10217909119814101_6685126002202378240_n
Alex and Jorge!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s