Having FUN Today...Building CHAMPIONS For Tomorrow

Barefooters Enjoy Mills Pond March Madness

Eric Coryer qualified for the 2020 Barefoot Water Ski World Championships.Sometimes barefoot water ski tournaments don’t go as planned. The 2020 Mills Pond March Madness started as a way to hold a “Neighborhood Tournament” for the SoFlo barefooters at Mills Pond Park in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. New Gold Coast Water Ski Club member Eric Coryer wanted to host the tournament with his newly purchased 1994 Malibu Flightcraft outboard with the custom “Franken Pole” Super Fly High. 

“We thought it was a great way to give barefooters one final chance to qualify for the world championships and bring the local crew together,” says Coryer.

What he didn’t expect was winds of 30 miles an hour blowing from the north all week. And then… it got interesting.  Several barefooters had to drop out of the tournament due to injury, the chief driver had to bow out for family commitments, and on Friday, the decision was made to move the location to Hillsboro Park in Deerfield Beach.

But it still was an incredible day!

Nine people ended up skiing the 2020 Mills Pond March Madness Tournament on March 7 and nearly as many local skiers showed up to cheer on the local crew during a frigid South Florida Morning. Legendary boat judge Dale Stevens got in the boat with newbie tournament-rated boat driver Betsy Gilman and Lenny T. handled ropes and video in the boat.

The skiing kicked off with a bang…  Men’s A barefooter Eric Coryer scored a 14 in wake slalom, qualifying for the 2020 World Championships and the Men’s Open Division. 

The Dynamic Duo of Master Men’s competitor Matt Ellis and Senior Men’s competitor Gene Burrish were last minute adds but still posted some of the best scores of the tournament. “Gene the Barefooting Machine” posted an 8.3 in slalom and 580 in tricks. Matt scored 6.6 in slalom and a 900 in tricks.

Veterans Men’s competitor and star dock starter Al Hager scored a 3.23 slalom. Rich Kaufman made the trip from Pennsylvania to tune up for Worlds in Tricks with an 1170 and a 9.6 in Slalom and help with driving.  And Chief Driver Duane “Captain Intensity” Godfrey, scored a 13.3 in slalom and a 3430 in tricks.

ABC Southern Regional Director and Open Pro Men’s competitor Mikey Caruso scored a 15.2 in slalom and chatted with his adoring fans on the dock including barefoot celebrities Dave Callahan, Kevin Keith, Zenon Bilas, Beau and Mom Caruso.

For all the scores, go HERE.

Massive thanks to Dave Callahan for supplying the back-up boat and hanging with us. Richard DiCarlo of the Gold Coast Ski Club for rolling with the site change and being the best safety director ever, Jack of the Gold Coast Ski Club for coming out to cheer and Eric Coryer for donating the boat and gas!

Check out the photos Rich DiCarlo took at the Tournament HERE.

- Betsy Gilman


















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