The Canadian Open

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.

 Shalom Park - Edmonton, Alberta

Shalom Park - Edmonton, Alberta

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! 

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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."

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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."

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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." 

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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? 

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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!

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WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS - PARIS, FRANCE

Waterskiing has taken me around the world and given me the opportunity to represent my country.  I have gone on many epic adventures that have stemmed from traveling to a waterski event. Australia, Reunion Island, Greece, Mexico, Chile, Russia and last week in Paris, France representing Canada in the 2017 World Championships.

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While the worlds did not go as I envisioned,  I am reminded of how lucky am to be able to do what I love traveling the world turning slalom buoys.

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Congrats to my teammates Whitney, Jamiee, Jason, and Neilly on your podium finish you guys rock!!! And of course, to my husband for taking the Gold in Men's jump.  What I way to end the summer!  

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When our schedule allows us, we try to add on a few extra days to be a tourist and see more than the ski lake.  Time for some rest and reflection. 

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HURRICANE MATTHEW

As Hurricane Matthew headed for the East Coast of Florida, the tension and stress of locals started to rise.  Contrary to the laid back no hurries no worries attitude, as the storm approached people were starting to realize things could get serious.  

I went back and forth from watching the local news and the weather channel.   Matthew could make landfall in Florida as a Category 4 and I was tracking it's every move.  

By Tuesday ( 3 days before the storm was scheduled to make landfall) stores were already running out of bread and water.  I stocked up on the hurricane essentials (water, candles, batteries, flashlights and canned goods) we had plenty of food,  being an athlete your never short of supplements or protein bars, so we planned on weathering the storm.

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We live 10 miles from the ocean, so when we built our house, the builder provided us with hurricane shutters.  These shutters have collected dust and sat in the corner of the garage until last week.  Wow, what a process!  The shutters are an all day process, and you realize how much stuff you have when you start having to get everything inside.

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As I continued to track the storm and ask our neighbors and locals what their plans were, I decided we needed to leave, and later convinced Ryan as well.  The storm was intensifying, and Florida was under a state of emergency! 1.5 million Floridians already had been evacuated and when Florida Governor Rick Scott said this could be catastrophic, and if you don't listen to authorities you could experience immense human suffering!  Red Flag LET's LEAVE!   With hotels being sold out we were very lucky to have numerous friends reach out and offer us a place to stay.  So thank you, everyone, and especially Kerry and Mike Morgan who brought us in! 

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As we anxiously sat in Tampa, we waited to see what destruction Matthew was going to do along the coast. Palm Bay and Melbourne got extremely lucky.  What looked like was going to be a direct hit to our coast, Matthew stayed just far enough off in the ocean that there was no serious damage.  We arrived home to inspect the damage the next day to find only a few branches in the yard and everything else just as we left it.  With that, we headed to off to Melbourne beach to inspect the damage and to our surprise it looked great.  Ryan and Igor even managed to fit a surf session in.  : ) 

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Chevron Gas Station Beach Side 

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As I continue to track and monitor the aftermath of the storm, my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who has been affected and especially North Carolina. 

 

U.S MASTERS

The U.S. Masters... it's the event that every skier dreams of competing in.  Known as the most prestigious event in all of waterskiing, pulled by Nautique boats, who has been hosting and sponsoring the Masters for 57 years. 

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My first ever U.S. Masters was 14 years ago, back in 2002.  I was 17 years old when I received my first invitation to compete in the Junior Masters.  So excited and honored to be among the top junior skiers I happily accepted.  Even if that meant skipping my Grad, which is Prom in America.  It was an easy decision.  Ski at the US Masters or Grad?  Plus my Grad date was also going to be competing in the Masters.  For those of you who don't know Ryan and I were high school sweethearts just growing up in different provinces.   : )

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There is so much history surrounding the U.S Masters tournament for many water ski families.  From the beautiful gardens of Callaway to the infamous Robin Lake, and an iconic Pavillon, the excitement throughout the weekend, is something that we all look forward to. You've probably seen photos of the pavilion or images that are shot by photographers from the roof.  The skiers take off and finish right from the pavilion so you can get up close and personal to all the action. It's a unique place for spectators where they can actually feel the emotion and energy of the athletes.

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Unfortunately, this year didn't go as planned.  I skied 2 @ 38off which fell short of making the cut to the finals.  As an athlete, you always want to compete to the best of your ability, so I was a frustrated with myself.  They say you never lose you win, or you learn! It's your choice to turn a negative result into a positive outcome by being mindful. #BalancedB

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The Master's is very special for Ryan and I because we get to compete as a family, so as I mentioned before I have to be mindful throughout the whole weekend, not just for myself and my skiing but also for my husband.  After I clear my mind and reset from my own skiing, I switch gears into my other role, Wife.  It's a great experience to be able to support someone else through the Master's event, and switch roles from skier to supportive wife for Ryan as he prepared to compete in the finals on Sunday.  

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Sunday is finals day, and this year all the athlete sure did put on a great show! Starting with men's tricks, all the skiers absolutely killed it by all standing up their runs and putting on a fun show to watch.  Aliaksei took the win with a score of 12,020!  Jacinta (aka Rabbit) leaped 188 feet breaking the course record by 4 feet! Then came the Men's Jump Finals and Ryan's attempt to capture the win, it came down to Ryan and Freddy tying in feet. In this case they go back to the meters and in the end, Freddy took the win with 71.1 compared to Ryan's 70.9, even though Ryan jumped the winning distance in feet (233) twice ... the rules are the rules and Freddy won in meters. So, as the story goes the battle between Freddy and Ryan continues which makes for a fun year of friendly competition that any athlete would welcome.

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Overall it was a great weekend.  I am forever grateful to be able to do what I love with the guy I love!   We will be back next year Callaway!

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MOOMBA FESTIVAL

The Moomba Masters, there is no event like it!

It is the first event and the best event of the year. Well, in my opinion.  For those of you that are not familiar with Moomba Masters, it's held the first weekend of March in Melbourne, Australia. Yes, Australia! Maybe that's why it's my favorite event : )

We compete on the Yarra River, which runs straight through the heart of Melbourne. One minute I'm skiing and the next minute I am downtown Melbourne ordering a flat white shopping at my favorite Aussie stores. Shopping counts as a rest day, right?

I have a love-hate relationship with the Yarra. The conditions are constantly changing and you never know what each day will bring. I have missed my gates multiple times, came second one year, and had my fair share sitting on the banks watching and cheering for the other girls. This year it showed me some love with a third place finish. YEAH! : )

One of my highlights from this years Moomba was seeing Will Asher win his first Moomba Title. Crazy, right! I had no idea.  Will Asher won his first World Championships back in 2005 and again in 2009, so I assumed he had already been crown Moomba Champion at some point in his career.   Everyone who saw Will's reaction to his win last weekend saw how special this victory was, congrats on adding Moomba Champion to your list of great accomplishments. 

I love Melbourne, and I love Moomba. The energy of the city and the friendly Aussies make Moomba an unforgettable time, and I can not wait for next year!

 

THE LAKE LIFE

Every summer my family would uproot from the city life and drive four hours east to Osoyoos Lake, where my parents have a cabin.  Those four hours I would spend dreaming of how my first ski ride in 9 months would feel.  As we drove down the hill into Ossoyos, the mood in the car shifts we are all relaxed, excited, and ready to live the lake life.  

With three slalom courses to choose from and miles of open water, it was any skiers dream. Growing up in Canada, you had to learn to embrace the cold and enjoy the short summer we were given.  The serious skiers, my Dad, Uncle Don and myself would wake up bright and early to get that glassy water.  That smooth slalom water was all mine at 6:00 am.  

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If someone had given me a crystal ball that said someday you will live in Florida on a man-made lake, I would have thought they were crazy.  A man-made lake?  What the heck is that?  Now, any body of water I see I think, is it long enough to ski?  I will never look at a retention pond the same ever again. lol  

People always ask, how did you get into competitive skiing? Well, it was by luck!  Steve Bush, Canada's National Team Coach, was vacationing on the same lake where my cabin was.  He stopped my parents and had a long chat telling us all about competitive skiing.  I was twelve years old at the time, doing my own thing.  The thought of competitive skiing was extremely appealing to me, so my parents signed me up for the next local event. 

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I skied my first tournament at thirteen and made my first international competition at sixteen, where I competed at the Junior Worlds in Greece.  That did not go so well.  I fell around ball 1, but hey I got that out of the way right from the start! :  )  

I am so grateful for this wonderful sport!  The friendships I have made and the places I travel are incredible.  The quality time I spent with my family growing up on the lake are memories I will cherish forever.  And the best part about waterskiing is, I met the love of my life, my husband, Ryan. 

 

WELCOME TO THE BALANCED B

Welcome to The Balanced B!  The Balanced B is designed and built on my love for waterskiing and living a healthy and active lifestyle.  Fitness, nutrition, travel, and of course, waterskiing tips will be featured on my blog.

You are probably wondering why the name "The Balanced B"  Well it is of personal significance.  I strive every day to live a balanced life.  Too much of anything in life can throw us off balance.  B is my nickname! My dad started calling me B when I was a little girl.   I was a busy kid  a "Busy Bee" and the name stuck.

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