Wind and rain from Tropical Storm Ophelia marred the opening round of the 2005 U.S. Open Water Ski Championships Friday at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
The six white, black and blue World Water Ski Pros flags that lined the starting dock spent much of the day whiplashed by strong winds that blew across the slalom course on Village Lake, creating miserable conditions for the skiers.
World record holder Chris Parrish shrugged off the tough conditions though, running 3 at 39 off on the final pass of the opening round to lead the men into the slalom semifinals.
“I was kind of lucky,” Parrish said. “I've been skiing in these conditions for the past couple weeks. I kind of like rough water skiing, so for me the conditions were no big deal.”
Steve Cockeram, who ran 1 at 39 off, and Jamie Beauchesne, who scored a .5 at 39 off, followed Parrish. Jodi Fisher, Jeff Rodgers, Wade Cox, Marcus Brown, Will Asher, Javier Julio, Jason Seels, Drew Ross, and Felipe Miranda also advanced to Saturday's semifinals.
Michelle Simpson ran 1 at 38 off to lead the women into the slalom semifinal round. Karen Truelove, who ran 3 at 35 off, and Jill Knutson, who ran 2.5 at 35 off, finished behind Simpson. Natalie Hamrick, Regina Jacquess, Whitney McClintock, Danyelle Bennett and Carly Clifton also advanced to Saturday's women slalom semifinals.
Rain showers twice stopped the men's jump event Saturday afternoon, and the poor conditions finally forced officials to scratch the opening round of the women's jump event. However, all seven women jumpers will advance to the semifinal round Saturday.