Ripping along behind a boat can be an ideal way for a teen to spend summer vacation. Oak Bay 15-year-old Patricia Horwood can’t remember life before waterskiing and that longevity and love led to multiple medals last month. This summer marked her second trip to the BC Summer Games.
“It was fun. The first time I went there weren’t very many girls,” she said. Nine competitors this year about doubled the entries from two years ago. “Competition made it more fun, but also the events and the lake.”
While Nanaimo hosted the Games, towed water sports competitors took to the waters of Quamichan Lake in the Cowichan Valley.
“I did one tournament there last year or the year before,” Horwood said, adding that knowledge of the area helped. “You get one round of familiarization, I chose slalom to get an idea of the course.”
Choppy weather marred the familiarization rounds but the athletes came through according to the Zone 6 towed water sports coach.
“She worked very hard, we had some tough conditions,” said Jed Leech, coach of the Vancouver Island-Central Coast (Zone 6) team.
“Fortunately (the water) was really good for the tournament and they (athletes) rose to the occasion.”
Horwood scored an impressive four medals: silver in slalom, silver in jumps, bronze on the trick skis and a team gold.
“She was a huge role in getting our team the gold medal for Zone 6,” Leech said. “She’s a great athlete, positive all the time and really happy to be there.”
In the one-ski event she favours, he figures she was just shy of topping the podium.
“Slalom she really strives in,” he said. “She was right there to get a gold medal. She had the potential to get the gold medal… almost every time.”
Horwood loves the challenge of slalom.
“I like slalom, I think it’s my best event. It’s challenging and works you technically,” Horwood said. “In slalom skiing you have an advantage being tall and I’m tall. In trick skiing being short is an advantage. Trick skiing is very difficult for me and I do a lot of body slams.”
With a limit of two Games per athlete, Horwood won’t be making a return come two years’ time, but she hopes other girls will take up the sport.
“There’s so many boys, we’re always trying to get new girls out to try and ski,” Horwood said. “It’s really fun. There are lots of events … usually anybody can find at least one event that they really like.”
Sisters face off in provincial competition
Water skiing is a family affair for the Horwood clan, dad spends some unofficial time coaching Patricia and her three siblings. During provincials held in Abbotsford late last month, Patricia and her sister, Nicola, who enters Grade 12 at Oak Bay High this fall, were pitted head to head for the first time.
“She got all the gold,” said Patricia, who swept the silver medals.