By Terri Jones | Tournament Date: October 2, 2021 | Location: Pearl River, Louisiana
On October 2, 2021, a time-honored tradition in barefoot waterskiing known as the “Monster Mash” was held in Pearl River, Louisiana. The Monster Mash is an annual event that started in the 1990s and over the years drew large numbers of skiers from the South and South Central Regions because of its reputation for good fun and great skiing conditions. The 2021 Monster Mash marked the second time the tournament had been held since 2016 when one of its core founders, David Harper, tragically lost his battle with cancer on September 1st that year. In 2020, the tournament was officially resurrected in David’s honor, and this year it continued to live up to its reputation.
To say the Pearl River offers great skiing conditions is an understatement. Having skied the tournament myself, I can tell you the first word that popped into my head after my first pass was “magical.” Something about that water, and that site, is absolutely magical! As the LOC Chairman Dicky Robertson puts it, “if the Monster Mash ski site was a golf course, then it would be Augusta National or Pebble Beach. Eight miles of glass protected by 80-foot-tall trees on both sides.” He’s not kidding. The skiers at the event enjoyed epic conditions all day, and spectators enjoyed great views of the skiing.
One of the highlights of the tournament included a tournament debut by Eli Wagner who competed in Boys B. Eli impressed the crowd by slaloming a 1.48 and tricking 90 points. He did a great job, and we look forward to seeing what he can do next year! David Harper’s son Nick, and brother Michael, also skied in the tournament, cheered on by David’s 6-year-old grandson.
And then there’s the fun factor. Brad and Marnie Ripp graciously hosted a Friday night social, offering amazing Louisiana hospitality and unbelievable Cajun cooking. All I can say is: Best. Jambalaya. Ever. The laid back, fun atmosphere at the Friday night social carried throughout the tournament and into the Saturday evening banquet.
After reading this recap, you might be tempted to ski the 2022 Monster Mash. If so, you’d be attending one of the friendliest record capable barefooting events with guaranteed great water. In 2022, Dicky Robertson also plans to host a week-long barefoot clinic leading up to the tournament if you’re interested in coming early. According to Dicky, the Pearl River is “one of the few sites in the world that can run 2 or 3 ski clinics simultaneously and have guaranteed glass water all week long.” In other words, they can accommodate tons of skiers! But, with or without the clinic, this event needs to be on your barefooting bucket list.
Finally, a huge thank you to the Austin Barefoot Club for putting on the tournament, and to LOC Chairman Dicky Robertson for a spectacular weekend!