Legend Kris LaPoint
Icons of the sport return to compete at Diablo Shores. What are you doing September 11 – 13?
By Jim Frye
If you want to see the biggest legends of water ski’s not-too-distant past, then either get to California’s Diablo Shores in Discovery Bay that weekend, or catch all the action on the live webcast as Andy Mapple, Lucky Lowe, Kris and Bob LaPoint, Carl Roberge and other retired skiers return to the water. (webcast at www.diabloshores.com)
It’s the very first Legend’s Tournament, a chance for fans to see the famous skiers they grew up watching on ESPN. The brainchild of Andy Mapple, the tournament is being managed by Greg and Debbie Badal, who also run the regular-season Diablo Shores Pro/Am. “Me and Andy have been talking about a way to recognize the legends from the past,” says Greg. “This is kind of an experiment. We didn’t go through the rules committee, and we’re going to talk more with the skiers this year to hear what they’d like to see in the future.”
Greg’s main goal is just to get people out to support these guys, either in person or on the webcast. Greg’s wife Debbie says that reaction to the Legends event has been overwhelmingly positive. “Everyone we talk to gets real excited and can’t wait to see these guys on the water again,” she says.
Participation at this year’s inaugural event is by invitation only, and the qualifications are pretty steep: Each competitor has won either a Master’s Championship, World Championship, or been a world-record holder (or some combination thereof). Competitors will be pulled at 35 miles per hour. “Andy approached me late last year and asked if I’d participate,” says Bob LaPoint. “I told him I’d try to get in shape and do my best.”
Kris LaPoint, though, was eager to get this chance. “This is kind of like the Seniors Tour in golf,” says Kris. “It’s a place for some of us to compete again, but it’s also a way to get people out to watch the sport. Hopefully they’ll want to come out to see the skiers they grew up watching. There’s a little bit of name recognition.”
Legends Fantasy Camp
And as if that’s not cool enough, a few lucky souls can hang out on Monday with these legends – plus some soon-to-be legends like Chris Parrish and Will Asher – for some one-on-one training and instruction, and lots of time on the water. It costs $2,500 a person, with all proceeds going towards prize money for future tournaments. It may sound like a lot, but when’s the next time you’re going to be able to rub elbows and skis with these titans of the ski scene? For more information, or to sign up for the Legends Fantasy Camp, check out www.diabloshores.com, or email Greg Badal at email@example.com.