The Canadian Open is one of the highlights of my summer. Heading back to Canada where the enthusiasm for summer is through the roof. It reminds me of when I was a kid. Every chance I could ski I would take it, sunshine or a rainy day it didn't matter. A day on the lake was the best thing because before you would know it summer would be over and the long winters would set in.
The Canadian Open invites the top waterskiers from around the world to compete at this elite event. What is unique about this tournament is they invite juniors skiers to compete with the pros over the weekend. The pros and junior skiers are then divided up and put into teams. Of course, everyone has there eye on winning that cash prize, but they also have an award for best team spirit. The team aspect allows the junior skiers to meet and hang out with the pros and cheer each other on. Love it!
I caught up with a few of the pro's after the event and here is what they had to say.
What was your favorite part of the Canadian Open?
Stephen Neveu: "The Canadian Open has a couple cool elements that not every Pro Event has. Being teamed up with other pros and some junior skiers to create the ProAm teams is a fun factor to the event and gets the juniors to rub shoulders with the pros. Personally, my favorite part of the event is that it is in Alberta. Being from Alberta and my family having a lake cabin not too far away from Shalom Park makes the event pretty special for myself. We have events all over the world and often in some pretty wild places that can make everything feel so foreign and tough to travel to. So to have an event so close to home makes it very special."
Do you find there is more pressure competing on home soil?
Stephen Neveu: "Oh yeah, I definitely put some extra pressure on myself competing at home haha. A few of my coaches would be a little ticked at me for doing that, but it’s hard not to. I was born in Edmonton and still have lots of family and friends living there so many of them came to watch. Of course, I want to ski well in all events, but I really wanted to perform well in front of them at home. It all gets amplified as well when you hear the announcer say your name and lets the crowd know you’re a hometown boy. You want to put on a good show for them and show them you’re not a dud! I was pretty relieved to ski well once it was all over."
Manon, You're on fire this year! Starting the year off with a second place finish at the Moomba Masters, then taking the WIN at the US Masters and now the Canadian Open! What do you think the difference is this year to step up to the next level?
Manon: " I am not sure of what exactly is the difference between this year and the last, but I can think of a few things that I have changed. I hurt myself last September and had to spend about 5 months off the water. Since then, I've had to rethink the way I train in order to keep my body healthy, I've also had a fresh start which helped me see things through a different perspective in terms of technique, and I've been enjoying my time on the water more than ever, realizing how lucky I am to be able to do what I love. I also decided to move to Connelly skis this May and I am very happy and excited about this choice. Hoping it will help me to further improve."
Ryan, congrats on being the Canadian Open Jump Champion! How does it feel to win in your home province and country? Does it make the victory that much sweeter?
Thank you for the opportunity to be featured on your blog!
It’s a very warm and wholesome feeling to win on home territory, especially at Shalom Park. This place is very special to me and brings back a lot of memories. This is where I first jumped! My dad dropped me off for a weekend clinic with Mike Ferraro. 3 days later and with no helmet I was hooked on flying.
Winning, and even more importantly performing to my ability is always sweet! I’m just happy to be healthy and out there competing. But I’ll be honest, when my competitive spirit lights up and I get on the water in the finals. I’m a different person. Nothing is stopping me from taking it to my limit. This is always a really fun event, and I hope my performance inspired some young Canadians to fly safe and far!