Ryan Dodd set a world record for the longest jump on water-skis last week in Florida. The 32-year-old Alberta man flew 254 feet and doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
It’s something he’s wanted since he was nine years old, Dodd said, “and now it’s happened. You’re like, ‘Cool, what do we do now?’” he laughed.
For Dodd, the answer was heading to Saskatoon to share his passion for water-skiing with young athletes.
It’s become an annual trip and Dodd has even helped a few locals succeed further in the sport.
“I learned a lot of stuff — how to turn, get lots of speed; he’s basically taught me how to jump,” three-time water-skiing national champion Carter Lucas said.
“He’s a really nice guy. He’s really relaxed, he doesn’t get mad at all, so he’s my favourite coach,” Josh Roberts, fellow water-skiing national champion, added.
For a first-time jumper, it can be scary being pulled by a boat at high speeds before launching off a ramp into the air.
“When I stuck the landing, I’m like, ‘Holy cow, I actually did it!’”
Like trying other new sports, water-skiing involves moving well out of your comfort zone.
“It’s just like a roller-coaster combined with an airplane taking off … you’re just getting launched,” Dodd explained. “But if you don’t trust, you’re tight, you’re nervous, you don’t get the feeling. You don’t get the distance, you don’t fly.
“All those moments when our brain tells us to freak out, if we’ve done everything right, you can [just] trust it.”