Over the last several weeks Team Nautique jump skier Zack Worden has simply been on fire. Beginning at the Nautique U.S. Open, Zack had everyone on the shoreline screaming as he took first place in dramatic fashion with a surprising and intense jump-off round. Tied with a jump of 204 feet, Zack and Jimmy Siemers went head to head behind the Ski Nautique 200 with Zack boosting 201 feet to win the round. This would be an emotional win for Zack that set the pace going into the Rocketman Night Jump the very next weekend where he boosted another 201 foot jump into the darkness landing him on the podium in third place. A mere three days later, Zack hopped on a plane to Santiago, Chile to do it all again and scored another 3rd place podium finish. When Zack returned we caught up with him to get some insight on his whirlwind leading into the last event of his 2014 contest season.
What can I say about the last three weeks, it’s been nothing shy of an absolute joy ride! This last year has been quite the uphill battle for me. It’s my first season back after tearing my ACL for the second time in my right knee so I felt like I had a lot to prove coming into it. I also lost my father in July, a man that deserves a lot of credit for where I am today.
My crazy three weeks of skiing kicked off at the Nautique U.S. Open of Water Skiing on Lake Ivanhoe. This tournament was very close to me as it was a site that my father set up the previous year. This year it was up to Jon Travers and I to get the site ready to go and after several long days and nights we had the lake dialed in and ready for the event! I skied well in the finals, but I didn’t think my score would hold up, and to my surprise in the end Jimmy and I were tied for first place and getting back on the water for a Jump off to determine the winner. Someone was looking down on me that day because I came away with the win! It is something I’ll cherish for my entire life. My first win after my knee surgery; my first win for my Dad; and a win in my hometown of Orlando!
The next weekend we took off to Andy Mapple’s ski lake in Orlando for the Rocketman Night Jump. The morning of the event temperatures dropped to the mid 50’s and wind was gusting up to 30 mph’s. We didn’t think the event was going to happen, but low and behold come 8 o’clock that night the conditions turned to our favor and we had a jump event. I advanced into the Final 4 and was able to boot 201 feet to finish 3rd. Finishing back to back podiums both behind the Ski Nautique 200 was pretty sweet!
Running on fumes I flew out Wednesday after the Rocketman to head to Santiago, Chile to compete in the Chile Night Jump, my first time at this event. Prelims got off to an awesome start, I went 214 feet in the first round and was seeded 7th in the event. Everyone was going huge! In the night finals I was one of the first off the dock and I posted 215 feet at night. Sure enough my score held in there and I ended up with another 3rd place finish!
Three Podiums in three weeks was absolutely amazing, and hopefully I can keep the ball rolling into our last event of the year in Columbia, and then into next year in Australia for the 2015 Nautique Moomba Masters! – Zack Worden