Jaquess sets pending world slalom record at Malibu Open
By Jack Burden
In a groundbreaking performance at the Malibu Open in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Regina Jaquess solidified her status as one of the greatest women’s slalomers of all time by setting a new pending world slalom record of 5 at 10.25 meters (41‘ off). The professional tournament, boasting over two decades of history, returned to LymanLand in Alabama, the home site of the University of Alabama Water Ski Team, for the second consecutive year.
In an interview following her record-breaking performance, Jaquess shared her elation and gratitude, saying, “Oh my gosh, I don’t even know what to say, I’m shaking. I think getting out of two this morning unlocked a little bit of mental pressure because it was my best score, I haven’t gotten a three since my ACL [surgery] so thank you Andrews Sports [Medicine] for getting me back together … This is unbelievable and to do it at the Malibu Open behind Malibu Boats … I got mental, I should have run it … it felt so amazing.”
Jaquess, who played a significant role in organizing this year’s Malibu Open, spoke about the challenges of both competing and running the event. Despite the demanding nature of organizing such a major event, she emphasized her love for it and how it allows Malibu Boats to stay connected with the sport of water skiing. She also acknowledged the mental preparation required to achieve peak performance while juggling event management responsibilities.
Throughout the qualifying rounds on Friday, exceptional performances were witnessed across all events. Notably, all six women ran the 11.25-meter line (38′ off) in at least one round, while eight men conquered the 10.75-meter line (39.5′ off). The jump event also witnessed a display of remarkable talent, with seven athletes achieving jump scores exceeding 220 feet (67 meters).
However, amidst the achievements, concern emerged regarding the participation of female athletes. Despite an impressive prize purse of $15,200 for women’s slalom, one of the largest in the sport, only six women participated in the tournament. The situation was even more concerning in women’s jump, where only four athletes entered, and one among them had a personal best below 40 meters. Water skiing has taken significant steps in recent years towards narrowing the gender pay gap and providing equal prize money for both men and women. Nevertheless, given the limited support from female participants, it may become challenging for organizers to maintain the current prize money structure or even include women’s events in the future.
Jaquess’ record was officially approved by the IWWF on October 27th, 2023.