Champion water-skier Nick Leuthauser of Hannawa Falls
Nick Leuthauser, 26, of Hannawa Falls, has skied to a first-place finish at the USA National Waterski Championships held in Okeeheelee Park, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Ogdensburg skier Matt Richardson took third place in the M2 event.
Leuthauser qualified for the U.S. Nationals by being one of the top ranked skiers in his division. Competing against 18 of the most elite skiers in the M2 25 to 35 age bracket, Leuthauser was the only skier to complete a perfect pass at 36 mph on a 37-foot tow rope.
During water-ski competitions, the standard 75-foot tow rope is shortened after each pass to increase the difficulty. Competitors continue skiing until they either fall or miss the turning buoy. The skier who completes the most consecutive turns around the buoy at the highest speed on the shortest line is the winner. At 37 feet. the length of the tow-rope is shorter than the distance from the towboat to the buoy. The effect of this “short-line” in water-ski slalom causes the skier to accelerate to speeds approaching 70 mph as they race from turn to turn.
On his last completed pass, on each turn, holding the handle with one hand, laying on his side with his body near parallel to and just inches above the water, and stretching so that his ski could reach around the buoy, Leuthauser completed six perfect turns to win the event and became the 2013 National Champion.