American water ski jumper Brittany Greenwood-Wharton

Injury Update: Greenwood-Wharton Makes Tournament Comeback

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Injury update: Brittany Greenwood-Wharton makes tournament comeback after major knee surgery

American water ski jumper Brittany Greenwood-Wharton

“On the water, in my happy place” (image: @focus.501)

By Jack Burden


American water ski jumper Brittany Greenwood-Wharton marked her triumphant return to tournament action this past weekend at the Masters Qualifying Series, showcasing an impressive performance by jumping 49.7 meters (163 feet), to clinch a place in the 2024 Masters. After nearly two years away from competitive skiing, Brittany demonstrated her resilience and determination to overcome adversity.

“The last 1.5 years have been wild mentally and physically. Performing like myself again feels amazing,” shared Brittany, who celebrated a significant milestone in her recovery journey earlier this spring after completing a half marathon.

The Arkansas native’s journey back to the water has been long and hard. A jump crash at the 2022 California Pro Am left her with severe injuries, including a torn ACL, torn meniscuses, torn posterolateral corner, damaged cartilage, and a fractured femur. Despite these daunting challenges, Brittany remained undeterred in her pursuit of returning to the sport she loves.

“My last set before California Pro Am. We knew something was wrong with my knee. I was only able to jump every few days and maybe tolerate 1-2 jumps per set. But this is what I love so I fought through,” she recalled.

Complications during major knee surgery and ACL reconstruction further hindered her recovery, with the development of blood clots prolonging her rehabilitation process. “We are almost there, the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been a freaking year. 1 new ACL, 2 fixed meniscus, 2 blood clots, 1 cartilage defect. 365 days of thinking about how to keep getting stronger and grinding. 365 days of a lot of support from friends and family. Feeling so thankful and overwhelmed,” she shared last year.

Prior to her injury, Brittany had established herself as one of the most consistent performers in women’s jump, with multiple podium finishes and membership in the exclusive 180′ club (55 meters). Her return to competition signals a welcome resurgence for the talented athlete, who is eager to continue pushing the boundaries of her sport.

The women’s jump field has been marred by injuries in recent years, with Brittany, along with Lauren Morgan, Taryn Grant, and Valentina Gonzalez, missing substantial portions of the 2023 season. Additionally, world record holder Jacinta Carroll took time off for the birth of her first child before retiring from professional competition earlier this year. The challenges posed by injuries underscore the sport’s physical demands and the tenacity required of its athletes.

Jack Critchley broke his collarbone at the Ski Fluid Classic

Injury Update: Jack Critchley Sidelined with Broken Collarbone

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Injury update: Jack Critchley sidelined with broken collarbone

Jack Critchley broke his collarbone at the Ski Fluid Classic

Image: @robhazelwood99

By Jack Burden


Jack Critchley, one of the emerging talents in men’s jumping, encountered a significant setback this past weekend when he sustained a serious collarbone injury during the Ski Fluid Classic. The injury, which occurred after recording impressive jumps of 223 feet (68 and 67.9 meters) in the tournament, resulted in three breaks to his clavicle.

Following the incident, the British athlete underwent surgery, requiring 11 screws to repair the damage. “Massive shoutout to Andrews Sports Medicine and Lyle Cain for doing an amazing job putting me back together!!” shared Critchley after his surgery.

Despite the setback, the 27-year-old, who holds the most professional jump victories of any man behind Ryan Dodd and Freddy Krueger over the past decade, remains optimistic about his recovery. He hopes for only “a few weeks break from jumping.”

The professional jump season in 2024 is relatively spread out, with upcoming events like the US Masters and Louisiana Night Jam followed by a break during the slalom-dominated European leg. The season will conclude with the California ProAm, MasterCraft Pro, and King of Darkness later in the year.

It is hoped that Critchley will recover in time for the final three events of the year. He is among the young jumpers aiming to challenge the established champions Dodd and Krueger throughout 2024.

Louis Duplan-Fribourg Returns to Water, Sets Sights on US Masters Comeback

Injury Update: Louis Duplan-Fribourg Returns to Water, Sets Sights on US Masters Comeback

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Injury update: Louis Duplan-Fribourg returns to water, sets sights on US Masters comeback

Louis Duplan-Fribourg Returns to Water, Sets Sights on US Masters Comeback

Duplan-Fribourg spent the winter undergoing intensive rehabilitation, aiming to return to the water in 2024 (image: @louisduplanfribourg)

By Jack Burden


Louis Duplan-Fribourg, the reigning world overall champion, made his return to the water this weekend for the first time since undergoing shoulder surgery in November last year. With his sights set on the US Masters in late May, the 23-year-old Frenchman is diligently working towards regaining full strength.

During his first set back on his trick ski, Duplan-Fribourg took a cautious approach due to his still recovering shoulder. However, he expressed his excitement at being back on the water, stating, “It’s fun to be on the water,” and adding, “the feeling is unreal!”

Duplan-Fribourg underwent shoulder surgery on November 15th to address persistent issues that had plagued him over the past couple of seasons. Opting for surgery during the post-World Championships period, he seized the opportunity to resolve the issue once and for all.

The French national record holder in tricks and jump recently completed a one-month stint of intensive rehabilitation at the European Sports Rehabilitation Center (CERS) in Capbreton, France to facilitate his return to the water. Reflecting on his rehabilitation journey, he expressed gratitude, stating, “It has been a difficult and intense month of work.” He also expressed appreciation for the support received from the team at CERS, saying, “I gave my best every day, and every time you gave it back.”

Duplan-Fribourg is determined to build on his successful 2023 season. For 2024, he has set ambitious goals, aiming “to win the US Masters in tricks and the WWS Overall Tour.” Now the third highest scoring trick skier of all time, the Frenchman’s anticipated rivalries with athletes like Patricio Font in tricks and Joel Poland in overall are expected to be among the most captivating storylines of the upcoming season.

His immediate focus will be on regaining his form in the trick event ahead of the Masters Qualifying Series in mid-May, with the aim of securing his spot at Robin Lake. In 2023, Duplan-Fribourg finished third in the Master’s trick event behind Font and Poland, two athletes who have tricked over 12,000 points more times than any other active skiers.

As the eldest of three remarkably talented siblings, Louis’ younger brother Pol recently clinched his first professional jump title during the night jump at the Moomba Masters earlier this month, edging out Ryan Dodd. Meanwhile, his youngest brother, Tristan, is poised to compete in both the Junior Masters and Under-17 World Championships later this year, where he is considered a favorite in jump and a strong contender in overall.

As Louis embarks on his road to recovery, we can expect to see much more of him, as well as the entire Duplan-Fribourg family, on top of podiums in the coming year.

Jaimee Bull undergoes surgery

This Offseason Could Present Jamiee Bull’s Biggest Challenge Yet | BayToday

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This offseason could present Jamiee Bull’s biggest challenge yet

Jaimee Bull undergoes surgery

Bull may require surgery for a torn ligament sustained last Sping.

By Matt Sookram

BayToday


Two-time World Water Skiing Champion Jamiee Bull is coming off a second consecutive World Title win in Women’s Slalom at the 2023 International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) World Waterski Championships this past October, further cementing her position as a dominant force in the water skiing world.  

In a recent interview with Lisa Boivin on North Bay Echo podcast To North Bay with Love, Bull divulged that her biggest challenge may be coming up.  

“In the spring I tore the ligament that holds your tibia and fibula together, the two bones in your leg and most of my knee. I don’t know exactly when it happened. I know that I crashed, but I wasn’t like, ‘Oh my knee hurts’. But after that, it was sore and that’s when I started noticing my fibula was just moving freely. It took a while to figure out what was going on. After communicating with doctors and physiotherapists they said if I could deal with the pain and I could ski on it, I could keep going without doing more damage to it and they would just have to reattach it after the season,” says Bull. 

“I skied on it all year and just had it braced up. After the season was done, I needed to figure out what I was going to do with this and we settled on a Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injection where they pulled blood out of my arm and then spun it and took the good parts of the blood and injected it into where the ligament is stored in the hopes that it’s going to help get the ligament to create a little bond and scar tissue to hold it together. This is the first step and I’m hoping that some downtime and some extra blood in there will help stabilize it enough that I don’t need surgery, but if I do, I found a surgeon now and I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with the surgery,” says Bull.  

Read the full article at BayToday.ca

American water ski jumper Lauren Morgan underwent a second knee surgery

Injury Update: Lauren Morgan Undergoes Follow-Up Knee Surgery

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Injury update: Lauren Morgan undergoes follow-up knee surgery, spring season uncertain

American water ski jumper Lauren Morgan underwent a second knee surgery

“Knee surgery #2 let’s do it” (image: @lauren.a.morgan)

By Jack Burden


Renowned American jump skier Lauren Morgan underwent critical knee surgery yesterday in Birmingham, Alabama, aiming to overcome persistent issues stemming from an injury sustained in September 2022. The 30-year-old athlete, America’s number one ranked female jumper for much of the past decade, has been grappling with the aftermath of an ACL injury, forcing her to miss a substantial part of the 2023 season. Unfortunately, it appears Morgan will remain on the sidelines throughout at least the start of 2024 as well.

The former World Games and U.S. Masters champion finished third at the World Championships in October last year, a mere 12 months after undergoing ACL surgery. Morgan missed almost the entire 2023 season, competing only in the World Championships and a warm-up tournament at Jack Travers’ two weekends prior. Despite participating in only two tournaments the entire year, only five women posted higher jump scores than Morgan in 2023.

Expressing her joy at the podium finish last year, Morgan stated, “I really can’t believe it; my goal was to be back. I didn’t want to just be back; I wanted to be on the podium. I couldn’t be happier, and I’m excited for next year.” Unfortunately, the persistence of her injury has dashed those hopes for at least a few more months.

In the face of adversity, Morgan shared an inspiring quote before the recent surgery, encapsulating her mindset: “When it comes to doing something hard but necessary: Don’t focus on how you’ll feel in the moment, focus on how you’ll feel when it’s done.”

While Morgan faces a challenging road to recovery, she continues to stay engaged off the water. Balancing an intensive rehabilitation regimen, she is concurrently pursuing her studies as a PhD candidate at the University of Missouri – St. Louis.

The women’s jump skiing landscape has been marred by injuries in recent years, with Morgan, along with Brittany Greenwood, Taryn Grant, and Valentina Gonzalez, missing substantial portions of the 2023 season. Additionally, world record holder Jacinta Carroll took time off for the birth of her first child. The challenges posed by injuries underscore the sport’s physical demands and the tenacity required of its athletes.

Valentina Gonzalez makes her return to the water after sustaining an ankle injury late last year

Injury Update: Valentina Gonzalez Returns to Water, On Track for 2024 Comeback

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Injury update: Valentina Gonzalez returns to water, on track for 2024 comeback

Valentina Gonzalez makes her return to the water after sustaining an ankle injury late last year

“First day officially back on the water” (image: @valegonzalez)

By Jack Burden


Valentina Gonzalez celebrated a significant milestone yesterday as she returned to the water for the first time since her season-ending injury in September of the previous year. In a recent Instagram post, the Chilean athlete expressed her gratitude for the valuable lessons learned during the challenging four months of recovery and her unwavering determination to return stronger than ever.

Gonzalez, who finished 5th in women’s jump on the Waterski Pro Tour and is currently ranked within the top 10 for both jump and overall, sustained a severe ankle injury during jump practice in the lead up to the record setting Malibu Open. Since undergoing surgery back home in Chile in late September, she has undergone a rigorous routine of over 65 sessions of physical therapy, hyperbaric chamber sessions, gym workouts, and biomechanics sessions.

Reflecting on the emotional toll of missing the two most anticipated tournaments of her career, the 2023 World Championships and Pan American Games, Gonzalez emphasized her commitment to turning the page and concentrating on physical and mental preparation for the upcoming year.

Expressing her eagerness to return to the sport she loves, Gonzalez shared her heightened enthusiasm, stating that she was “more hungry than ever to get back to doing what I like most. There is very little left!!!”

In a symbolic moment, Gonzalez posted a video capturing her first set back on her trick ski since the accident last September. The video showcased her skills, executing multiple flips on her home lake, Lago Valle Maipo. Gonzalez conveyed her excitement at being back on the water after nearly four months, underscoring how much she missed the invigorating feeling of being on the lake.

This triumphant return marks the end of a challenging chapter for Gonzalez, which she has referred to as the “four most difficult months of my career.” With her sights set on upcoming competitions, Valentina Gonzalez is poised to reclaim her position as one of the most promising young talents in women’s jump.

Louis Duplan Fribourg World Water Ski Champion

Injury Update: Duplan-Fribourg Recovering from Shoulder Surgery

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Injury update: Duplan-Fribourg recovering from shoulder surgery

Louis Duplan Fribourg World Water Ski Champion

Image: @louisduplanfribourg

By Jack Burden


In a recent Instagram post, Louis Duplan-Fribourg revealed that he underwent shoulder surgery a month ago on November 15th, following the World Championships. Despite the challenging setback, the reigning world overall champion expressed optimism about his recovery and his anticipation to return for the upcoming 2024 season.

Sharing insights into his journey, Duplan-Fribourg acknowledged the undisclosed struggles he faced with a painful shoulder over the past couple of years. In collaboration with his team, he decided that the post-World Championships period presented an opportune moment to address the issue through surgery. Currently immersed in the rehabilitation process, Duplan-Fribourg assured his followers that he is fully committed to preparing for the next season.

The French athlete had an exceptional breakout season, culminating in his crowning as the world overall champion in Florida earlier this year. Throughout the season, he achieved remarkable milestones by breaking both the French national trick and jump records. His consistency on the professional circuit was evident as he secured runner-up positions to Joel Poland at every stop on the WWS Overall Tour.

Duplan Fribourg’s podium finishes included a third place in tricks at the U.S. Masters and a debut jump podium at the MasterCraft Pro. Undoubtedly, he concluded his season on a high note with an outstanding performance at the World Championships. During the preliminary round, he set the highest-ever trick score in the event’s history, only to be surpassed by Patricio Font three skiers later.

Despite an intense challenge from Joel Poland, Duplan-Fribourg secured his first world title in the overall event. His skill was further highlighted with a runner-up finish in men’s trick, coming within an equipment malfunction of the gold medal. We look forward to seeing Duplan-Fribourg back on the water in the upcoming season.

Valentina Gonzalez retuned home to Chile for surgery on her ankle

Injury Update: Valentina Gonzalez’s Season Cut Short Due to Ankle Injury

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Injury update: Valentina Gonzalez’s season cut short due to ankle injury

Valentina Gonzalez retuned home to Chile for surgery on her ankle

Image: @valegonzalez

By Jack Burden


Valentina Gonzalez, a rising star in women’s jump, has been dealt a devastating setback as her 2023 season comes to an abrupt end due to a severe ankle injury sustained during practice. The injury occurred just days before the record-breaking Malibu Open. Gonzalez underwent surgery yesterday after traveling back to Santiago, Chile to initiate her journey to recovery.

Throughout the season, Gonzalez has been one of the most consistent jumpers on the professional circuit, finishing no worse than sixth. Her consistency resulted in a commendable fifth-place finish on the Waterski Pro Tour. Notable highlights of her season include securing a third-place finish at the LA Night Jam and fourth-place finishes at prestigious events like the Moomba and U.S. Masters tournaments.

The most heart-wrenching aspect of this injury is the timing, as Gonzalez had earned a coveted spot to represent Chile at both the upcoming World Championships and Pan American Games. However, this unfortunate turn of events means she will be sidelined for these significant international competitions, putting her dreams of competing at the highest level on hold.

Despite the injury disrupting her season, Gonzalez remains resolute. She stated, “I’ll never get the answer of ‘why me’ and ‘why now.’ But something that I do know is that I’ll work as hard as I work on the water, off the water to come back stronger.” Her message: “Don’t take anything for granted.” We extend our heartfelt wishes for a swift and full recovery to Gonzalez and eagerly await her return to the water.

Dorien Llewellyn "Feels good to be back"

Injury Update: Dorien Llewellyn Makes Return to Practice, Looks Sharp on His Slalom Ski

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Injury update: Dorien Llewellyn makes return to practice, looks sharp on his slalom ski

Feels good to be back (image: @dorienllewellyn)

By Jack Burden


Dorien Llewellyn made his return to training at Sunset Lakes over the weekend as he continues his recovery from an ankle injury that sidelined him since June of this year.

A twisted ankle during a jump crash at the LA Night Jam on June 10 left Llewellyn with two torn ligaments and bone fragments in his right foot. This injury forced him to miss the entire 2023 WWS Overall Tour and all subsequent jump events on the Waterski Pro Tour.

Instead of competing, Llewellyn spent the summer undergoing intensive rehab at the Red Bull Athlete Performance Center in Austria. Unfortunately, this injury was part of a series of setbacks he faced this year, which also caused him to miss the U.S. Masters earlier in the season.

Llewellyn, the current world trick champion and former world overall record holder, plays a crucial role on Team Canada’s squad for the upcoming World Championships, where they aim to secure their third consecutive team title. With only six skiers on the squad, having at least two world-class overall skiers is essential to ensure depth in all three events. Canada’s success over the past three decades has been built on skiers like the Llewellyns (Kreg, Jaret, and later Dorien) and the McClintocks (Judy and Whitney), who have excelled across all three events.

In contrast, the U.S. has faced challenges in the team competition despite having some of the most dominant specialists in the sport, including Freddy Krueger, Nate Smith, Anna Gay, and Erika Lang. While they have an all time great in Regina Jaquess on the women’s side, the U.S. has not claimed a medal in men’s overall since Jimmy Siemers won his last world title in 2005.

Canada received encouraging signs as Llewellyn tackled the slalom course at close to 100 percent in training just four weeks before the World Championships. To defend their title, they will rely on him returning to near-full fitness by the start of the event.

Ankle Woes Pause Waterski Pro Cole McCormick's Season

Injury Update: Ankle Woes Pause Rising Star Cole McCormick’s Season

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Injury update: Ankle woes pause rising star Cole McCormick’s season

Ankle Woes Pause Waterski Pro Cole McCormick's Season

Image: @johnnyofdeepcove

By Jack Burden


Canadian slalom skier Cole McCormick, a among the top-10 finishers in the first two seasons of the Waterski Pro Tour, finds himself on the sidelines this spring due to a bone bruise on the top of his talus bone in his right ankle joint – his back foot for slalom. The injury has compelled him to take a hiatus from skiing for approximately seven weeks to facilitate the healing process.

Expressing his frustration with the situation, McCormick shared, “Injuries suck. Not skiing for almost 7 weeks during one of the busiest parts of the ski season sucks. Watching the Masters qualifiers from shore, thinking to myself ‘I should be there’ or ‘I could have done that’ sucks. Missing out on the Masters this year stings a little extra.”

McCormick, who grew up idolizing waterski legends and now competes against some of them, highlighted the emotional weight of not being able to contribute to the inspiration of aspiring skiers this year. Reflecting on the missed opportunity to compete against the world’s best, he noted, “I grew up watching waterski legends and even some of the very friends I now ski against set records and win titles in some of the most challenging conditions. They would always inspire me at the beginning of my ski season and give me something to strive towards as a Junior coming up the ranks. So not being able to be a part of someone else’s inspiration this year and missing out on competing against the best in the world definitely feels pretty bad…”

Despite the setback, McCormick remains optimistic and determined, stating, “BUT I can promise… I WILL BE BACK! One positive of this whole experience: it’s made me beyond motivated to come back stronger and better than before…” The setback may be a temporary pause, but McCormick’s resolve to return stronger indicates that his journey in the world of professional water skiing is far from over.