- October 26, 2017
Earlier this month, Neilly Ross took a trip to Paris to compete in the 2017 IWWF World Water Ski Championship and ended up placing first in the women’s tricks category. Although Ross, who competes for Canada, had competed at Worlds several times already, this was the first time she placed first.
How long have you done water skiing?
I grew up skiing. My dad was a pro water-skier, and we moved to Florida to start his ski school. My specialty now is trick skiing, and I started that when I was eight.
Why do you prefer trick over slalom skiing?
Slalom is going through the motions. But with trick, there is always something new. There’s always something to learn.
How long have you been working on your newest trick?
My front flip is what I’ve been working on for the last year. Without that, I wouldn’t have been able to win.
What’s one of the biggest challenges to competing in trick skiing?
The time allowed (to do your run). It can come down to a 1/100 of a second, so everything has to be nailed perfectly and everything has to be in time.
What’s going through your mind during a competition?
You have to let muscle memory take over. I know my best runs are the ones I don’t remember at all.
What was it like competing at Worlds this year?
The conditions weren’t what we were used to because we competed in a river they use for rowing. And the water was a lot colder than what we’re used to here. In prelims, I did an easier run to put myself in a good place for finals. In the finals, it was time to go for it. You have to put yourself out there because all of the top girls are so close.
What did it feel like to get that first place medal?
To win, I was so surprised. It felt pretty surreal.
How do you balance water skiing and school?
It’s hard at tournaments, because you don’t have the time or energy to do homework. It’s definitely been a struggle, but switching to a private school has been helpful.