When the rooster tails had calmed Sept. 23, Will Asher, Regina Jaquess, Andy Mapple and Todd Ristorcelli emerged victorious in the three-day extravaganza that featured about 100 competitors from around the world.
This is a great place,” said skier David Miller, who traveled from Canada for the event. “Greg Badal and the group put on a great event, and we’re having a lot of fun.”
The event was broken into divisions for men, women, amateurs and legends. Asher won the Open Men division while Jacquess took home the title in the Open Women division. Ristorcelli gave the crowd flashes of excitement Sunday in his successful pursuit of the Masters Men title, and Mapple’s victory in the Legends division proved he still has talent in the late stage of his career.
Regardless of age or gender, the sight of spectacular waves trailing speedboats punctuated by blurs of skiers was a sight to behold for the thousands of spectators that lined the shore. “We were really surprised that something like this was so close,” said spectator Bud Fuller. “When I found out about it, I thought I might as well check it out. It’s amazing here.”
In its tenth year, the Diablo Shores Pro Am is the largest professional waterski event in the United States, according to Badal – and there’s no charge for admission.
As kids and a few dogs dipped their feet in the water, others enjoyed the competition via webcast. Between stints on the water, skiers walked the shorelines and signed autographs. Waterski, wakeboard and boat vendors, and several car companies were also on hand. And the crowd never ran out of food.
The spectators gave competitor Matt Brown an extra boost of energy. He parlayed the feeling into a fourth-place finish in the Masters Men division. “It’s great, it’s awesome,” Brown said as he exited the water with Miller. “We wish more people would check it out. We did pretty well – we made it to the top four.”
On his home course, Diablo Shores owner Badal fell just short of taking home the title in the Masters Men division after finishing second. A three-time national champion in the sport, Badal managed to impress spectator Cynthia Zerlin – but it had nothing to do with his performance on the water.
As skiers zipped by, Zerlin gazed out onto the private lake surrounded by vineyards and spacious living quarters. “I felt like I ate breakfast at MJ’s,” she said, “and came to a resort.”