Freddy Krueger shares his insight on the most exciting jump event of the season.
By Tadd Schreiber
As the sun set behind the trees at Tri Lakes in Zachary, Louisiana, thousands (yes, thousands) of people lined the shore at Bennetts Water Ski & Wakeboard School to watch the 2009 LA Night Jam.
The lights turned on, the music got loud and the place came alive with electrifying energy. The ladies hit the water first and, in the end, June Fladborg continued her dominance with a 172-footer on her last jump that took out Angelika Andriopoulou. The men took flight next. Rookie phenom Zack Worden grabbed the first podium (third place) of his young career with a huge leap of 214 feet. But once again, on his last jump of the event, it was the Nightmare, Freddy Krueger, who knocked out Jaret Llewellyn and took home the title and the cheers from the LA Night Jam faithful.
WaterSki: What is the atmosphere like at the Night Jam?
Freddy Krueger: The atmosphere is mayhem! This is the biggest crowd of any event in the United States, and almost everybody is either a nonskier or recreational at best. They are there to have some great food and drink and be entertained by the best jumpers in the world. No crowd is louder than the LA Night Jam crowd.
WS: You qualified and won the event on your final jump. What’s up with waiting until the last jump?
FK: In the preliminaries, I was really getting frustrated. I wasn’t jumping great coming into the event, but my first two jumps were really poor. Thankfully, I got some speed into my last turn and was able to bang out a big one. The fact that it came down to my third jump for the finals was no surprise. We don’t get to practice night jumps, so I needed all three to have a chance to get my timing dialed in.
WS: What are your thoughts on 18-year-old rookie Zach Worden getting his first podium finish?
FK: Zack getting third wasn’t a big surprise to me. He has a good support team around him and he’s a strong young man. He goes hard and leaves it on the water. I think he’s going to motivate all of us to keep going harder, because as much as we all like Zack, no one likes losing to the rookie!
WS: Why do you think this event is so successful?
FK: Anyone who hasn’t attended the event and loves skiing should make the trip. I’ve heard people say if you only attend one event you should attend the Masters. I know where they are coming from, but the excitement and energy that is created when the sun goes down and the lights go on is unreal! Jay Bennett (LA Night Jam’s host) is a natural showman. No one puts on a show or a party like Bennett and his staff. With their pride and vision, you get the best event in the world – period.