Patricio Font of Mexico won his 4th U.S. Masters trick title earlier this year

2023’s Unofficial Professional Water Ski Rankings

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2023’s Unofficial Professional Water Ski Rankings

Patricio Font of Mexico won his 4th U.S. Masters trick title earlier this year

Patricio Font of Mexico won his 4th U.S. Masters trick title earlier this year, however, the event is not part of the Waterski Pro Tour (image: @pato.font)

By Jack Burden


Another season of the Waterski Pro Tour has drawn to a close, delivering a whirlwind of action across 14 events, spanning five countries and boasting a staggering $400,000 in prize money. The Pro Tour, with its mission to weave a captivating season-long narrative by uniting various standalone professional events under a single ‘tour,’ has generally been a resounding success. Much akin to the glory days of the U.S. professional water ski tour (i.e., Coors/Bud Water Ski Tour), the aspiration here is to elevate securing the top spot in the standings to one of the most prestigious titles in the realm of water skiing. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that not all tournaments have chosen to be part of this evolving movement.

For the second consecutive year, our sport’s two longest-running and highest-prize-purse events, the U.S. and Moomba Masters, have decided to stand apart from the Waterski Pro Tour. Likewise, the Botaski Pro Am, which serves as a U.S. Masters qualifier and was a part of the Pro Tour in 2022, made a similar choice this year. Other smaller tournaments, such as the Fungliss Pro Am and the California Ski Ranch Cash Prize Open, have also opted out.

Despite the overwhelming inclusion of professional events in the Pro Tour, we were curious to explore how the leaderboard might have appeared had all events been encompassed, similar to the old IWWF Elite Ranking List. Employing the same rules and methodology as the Pro Tour, we proudly present our Unofficial Professional Water Ski Rankings for 2023, offering an arguably more complete picture of the competitive landscape heading into the World Championships.

Slalom

As expected, we’re witnessing minimal changes in the slalom leaderboards, given the extensive pool of events already factored in. However, the addition of the U.S. Masters, the highest-prize-money event of 2023, has provided Jaquess with the edge she needed to surpass Bull. Besides this noteworthy shift, the top five positions in both men’s and women’s slalom remain unaltered. This reaffirms the Waterski Pro Tour’s status as an accurate reflection of the world’s premier slalom skiers, particularly due to its emphasis on slalom-only tournaments.

Men’s

  1. Nate Smith (490 points)
  2. Freddie Winter (428 points)
  3. Will Asher (309 points)
  4. Thomas Degasperi (302 points)
  5. Dane Mechler (209 points)

Women’s

  • Regina Jaquess (406 points) +1
  • Jaimee Bull (386 points) -1
  • Whitney McClintock Rini (369 points)
  • Allie Nicholson (311 points)
  • Ali Garcia (162 points)

Tricks

This is where the inclusion of non-Pro Tour events proves most insightful, as only one event, the inaugural Swiss Pro Tricks, was featured in the Waterski Pro Tour for 2023. By incorporating the three highest prize purses from the trick event, we gain a much clearer perspective on the athletes’ performance throughout the year. Notable shifts are observed with Font emerging as the biggest mover, ascending to the top of the rankings thanks to his triumphs at the U.S. Masters and Botaski Pro Am. Additionally, Bonnemann Mechler secures a spot in the top five, bolstered by her runner-up finishes at those same two events.

Men’s

  1. Pato Font (97 points) +5
  2. Dorien Llewellyn (74 points)
  3. Joel Poland (72 points) -2
  4. Louis Duplan-Fribourg (53 points) +1
  5. Martin Labra (52 points) -2

Women’s

  • Erika Lang (134 points)
  • Neilly Ross (95 points) +1
  • Anna Gay (85 points) 1
  • Giannina Bonnemann Mechler (76 points) +3
  • Paige Rini (58 points) -1

Jump

Out of the seven professional jump tournaments held in 2023, five were featured in the Waterski Pro Tour, while the legacy events, the U.S. and Moomba Masters, opted out. Our rankings typically align with the Pro Tour, the only significant mover in this category is Ryan Dodd, whose decision to only participate in Nautique-sponsored events for the year limited his competition to just three tournaments. Notably, he emerged victorious in all three, yet only one of these events was part of the Pro Tour. Including these events propels him to fourth place in the rankings. Otherwise, any changes were essentially a reshuffling of podium placements.

Men’s

  1. Freddy Krueger (271 points)
  2. Taylor Garcia (199 points, tiebreak) +1
  3. Jack Critchley (199 points, tiebreak) -1
  4. Ryan Dodd (194 points) +4
  5. Joel Poland (192 points) -1

Women’s

  • Hanna Straltsova (180 points)
  • Sasha Danisheuskaya (153 points)
  • Regina Jaquess (110 points) +1
  • Valentina Gonzalez (108 points) +1
  • Giannina Bonnemann Mechler (105 points) -2

Overall

Finally overall skiing, which is oddly not officially recognized as an event by the Waterski Pro Tour. The last two seasons have heralded in a resurgence for the discipline, with competition across four professional events on the WWS Overall Tour. These rankings, although using a different methodology, line up exactly with the final standings of the WWS Tour. It’s worth noting that while a modest cash bonus was allocated for men’s overall at the Malibu Open, it didn’t meet the threshold for inclusion in our point calculations.

Men’s

  1. Joel Poland (158 points)
  2. Louis Duplan-Fribourg (120 points)
  3. Edoardo Marenzi (99 points)
  4. Conley Pinette (33 points)
  5. Tobias Giorgis (25 points, tiebreak)

Women’s

  • Giannina Bonnemann Mechler (102 points)
  • Sasha Danisheuskaya (71 points)
  • Paige Rini (61 points)
  • Hanna Straltsova (54 points)
  • Anna Gay (26 points)
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Travis Anderson
8 months ago

So glad that overall continues to make gains. When I was a kid, I idolized the top overall skiers such as Duvall, Roberge and Hazelwood. Heck, even Mapple skied overall before specializing in slalom.