The Sport of Adaptive

  • Adaptive WaterSkiing

    Water skiing has been adapted so that physically disabled athletes can participate and compete. Tournaments offer slalom, tricks and jumping events for vision impaired individuals (blind or partially sighted), multiplegics (paraplegics and quadriplegics), leg amputees (above and below knee), arm amputees and athletes with both arm and leg disabilities. The skiers in the latter three categories compete with the same water ski equipment used by able-bodied athletes and have the option of using a prosthesis.

    Vision impaired athletes do not require special equipment. However, they are guided by another skier in the jumping event, although they must be released before they go over the ramp and use audible signals instead of buoys in the slalom course.

    Multiplegic athletes use a sit ski, which is larger than the ski of an able-bodied skier and includes a cage similar to that used in snow skiing.

    A narrower slalom course than that set out for able-bodied competitors is an option for those whose disability is greater such as quadriplegics and athletes with both arm and leg disabilities.

  • Multiplegic Athletes

    Multiplegic Athletes

    Multiplegic athletes use a sit ski, which is larger than the ski of an able-bodied skier and includes a cage similar to that used in snow skiing.

  • Trick Skiing

    Trick Skiing

    Trick skiing entails skiing on a short flat bottomed ski that allows the skier to turn sideways to the boat (known as a “side slide”) or ski facing away from the boat (the “180 trick” is called a “front to back” or ”back to front”). Combinations of these moves can be linked together to perform a variety of tricks with multiple turns both on the surface behind the boat or in the air using the wake as a take-off point.

  • Jumping Event

    Jumping Event

    In the jumping event, the skier skis over a ramp and tries to go the farthest possible in the air and ski away. The ramp is 14 feet wide by 22 feet long. The height of the ramp can be set at 1 meter (3.3’), 1.25m (4’), or 1.5m (5’) and is selected by the skier.

  • Ski Ability

    Are you “ski-able”? Absolutely. Everyone is “ski-able.” Thanks to extensive work done by a number of key individuals, water ski equipment and training is available for people of all abilities. Your next question should be: “Is my local ski school, camp, or club “ski-able”?

    Water Ski and Wakeboard Canada (WSWC) officially launched SkiAbility in June 2005. The program focuses on increasing participation in water skiing and other towed water sports for persons with a disability.

    There is an estimated 3.4 million Canadians with a disability. Currently, this population is under-represented in the world of towed water sports, largely for reasons of limited access, minimal programming and lack of awareness and knowledge on the part of both activity providers and persons with a disability.

    In Our Values, which you can find under Who We Are on the main WSWC website, WSWC professes the belief that

    every person has a right to participate in sport and pursue excellence. To meet that end, SkiAbility program leaders are located across the country, either working at their own schools/clubs, or ready to deliver clinics upon demand.

    A common misconception is that SkiAbility programs only cater to sit-skiers. This is simply not true. SkiAbility is a program designed to be inclusive to all members of the disabled community whether physically or intellectually disabled. Across Canada, we have athletes participating and competing in wakeboarding, barefoot and all forms of classic water skiing with visual impairments and leg and/or arm amputations in addition to sit skiers.

    For those clubs who are not yet “ski-able”, now is the time to take that step. One in twelve Canadians has a disability. Don’t be fooled by the “dis” in disability. Most individuals with a disability are not only thrilled to get involved in sport, but once involved are enthusiastic ambassadors that want to share the passion.

    You simply need to extend the invitation. Bringing water sports to all people is what SkiAbility is all about.

    We can’t do this without your support! Help us demonstrate that everyone has the right to participate in sport and get out there and ask your local ski school if they are “ski-able.”

    SkiAbility is made possible with the financial assistance of Sport Canada’s Sport Participation Development Program.

    Provincial Ski Ability Leaders

    Haliburton, Ontario

    Haliburton, Ontario

    One such “ski-able” school operates out of Haliburton, Ontario. Craig Bowker at Ski-Mazing Water Sports and his crew were trained last year and have access to equipment when needed. Craig can be contacted at craig@skiwakefootschool.com

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    Québec

    Québec

    In Québec, the Eastern Townships Disabled Skiers Foundation has been in operation since the inception of SkiAbility in 2005. Benoit Lessard, one of our adapted national team athletes, got his start with the ETDSF program. For more information on this program, please contact Peter Treacy atptreacy@fshe.org.

    Ottawa, Ontario

    Ottawa, Ontario

    SkiAbility Ottawa services the Ottawa Valley with a summer-long program. Created in 2005, the program has doubled in size each year and is excited to meet the growing demand of adapted towed water sports. For more information on this program, please contact SAOinfo@gmail.com or visit www.skiabilityottawa.ca.

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    Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

    Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

    SkiAbility was launched in Nova Scotia during the summer of 2005 and clinics have taken place each summer since then. Beginner and recreational clinics are held approximately 2-3 times throughout the summer on Lake Charles in Dartmouth. In the coming years, the goal is to expand to a more regular, competitive program, while still having a beginner component and to branch out to do clinics all over Nova Scotia. For more information on SkiAbility opportunities in Nova Scotia, please contact Shannon Bowie at bowie_shannon@hotmail.com.

    Winnipeg, Manitoba

    Winnipeg, Manitoba

    There are also excellent programs up and running in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In the Winnipeg area there are regular open nights on Thursdays (a great way to try out SkiAbility for the first time). For more info, contact Darrin Luke at dsluke@shaw.ca.

    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

    Saskatchewan also has an excellent program in Saskatoon and is planning a clinic in the Regina area. For information on SkiAbility opportunities in Saskatchewan, please contact LeRoss Calnek at leross@calnek.com.

    Training "Ski-Ability" New Instructors

    Training "Ski-Ability" New Instructors

    Chris Holden is one of our adapted national team coaches and can train new instructors in the local areas. contact Chris Holden at crholden@h-htech.com.
  • National Team

    Nolan Barnes

    Nolan Barnes

    Nolan Barnes

    Nolan Barnes is a professional water ski athlete, he is also a professional public speaker. In 2010 when Nolan was in high school, his friends and he were driving home from a party. Nolan had decided to take a nap in the back of the car and next thing he knew he woke up in the grass. The vehicle had rolled over and Nolan was thrown approx.. 70 feet.

    Nolan’s back was completely shattered leaving him wheel chair bound. Instead of viewing this as a negative, Nolan took his experience and shared the tragedies of drunk driving with teens like him. He began public speaking in high schools. Nolan then developed a love of water skiing. He began water skiing in 2011. His highlights include winning trick Nationals in 2012 and 2 gold and a silver medal at Nationals 2013.

    • Home Town: Yorkton
    • Coaches: Dave Wassil Sponsors: Northridge development, metamorphosis, Uro medical

    Pete Andrews

    Pete Andrews

    Pete Andrews has been on the National Adaptive Team for 9 years. Having always loved fast speeds and sports that kept his adrenaline going, Pete’s attraction to water ski was natural.

    When Pete was 33 when he was in a motorcycle accident which left Pete paralyzed below the chest. Pete looked for sports to engage in such as wheelchair basketball but it wasn’t until he discovered water skiing that he really found a fix for speed. Pete believes Jump to be his strongest event. His highlights include a 16.5 metre jump at the Pan Ams in 2006 and a Gold Jump Medal at the 1999 Worlds (19.3metres). Pete won a Jump Silver at the 2013 Worlds with a 19.4metre jump. Pete enjoys getting other persons with a disability involved in Adaptive Waterskiing whether at the recreational or competitive level.

    • Home Town: Saskatoon
    • Coaches: LeRoss Calnek Sponsors: URO Medical Supplies

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    Ashley Baerg

    Ashley Baerg

    Jennifer Cloutier

    Jennifer Cloutier

    Rob Gosse

    Rob Gosse

    Sheldon Kubashek

    Sheldon Kubashek

    Chris Pearson

    Chris Pearson

    Ryan Riehl

    Ryan Riehl

    Ryan Riehl was Canada`s first visually impaired member of the adaptive team and is estimated to be one of only eight competitive blind water skiers competing internationally. Ryan was 9 when he began to lose his vision as a result of a tumour growing on his optic nerves. At 22 years old, Ryan began adaptive water skiing with his coaches LeRoss Calnek and Dave Wassill at the Saskatoon Water Ski Club. He continues to train with the club today, remaining under the guidance of his coach Dave Wassil.

    In 2009 Ryan was asked to be part of the Canadian team and as a team member he participated in the Disabled World Waterski championship at Vichy, France in 2009, in the USA in 2011, and again in Italy in 2013. He competes and represents Canada internationally, consistently placing in the top five at the World level. Ryan has been a part of the Canadian Adaptive team for 7 years, and was the 2010 and 2012 Water Ski and Wakeboard Canada Adaptive Athlete of the Year. Although Ryan also competes in slalom and tricks, jumping is his passion. He broke the Canadian jumping record in both 2011 and 2012. He placed 1st at the Canadian Adapted Waterski Championships in Slalom, Tricks and Jump in 2013, and has the goal is to be the best visually impaired skier in the world.

    • Home Town: Saskatoon
    • Coaches: David Wassil
    • Sponsors:
      Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority, Wake Video
    • Accessories, Culligan, Bell, Busy Bee Web Design

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    Gord Tuck

    Gord Tuck

    Gord Tuck is a professional water skier. Gord first learned a love for water skiing at a young age, but it wasn’t until later in life that he would rekindle his passion and begin competing. When he was 18 Gord lost his leg in a forestry accident. It was his first real job and he was sawing branches off felled trees. It was then that a loader truck didn’t see him or hear him over the loud noises, and cut through Gord’s leg. Gord began a long recovery in rehabilitation. On a break from rehabilitation, Gord decided to try skiing again, a love that stayed with him since childhood. Gord first began competing in Alpine skiing where he represented Canada in the Winter Paralympic Games (1998 & 2002). After ten years of Alpine skiing, Gord switched back in water skiing. His highlights include a bronze medal in the 2003 World Championships and setting a Canadian record in 2008.
WSWC

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