My favorite waterski spot by Nancy Chardin
Nancy Chardin - 27th October 2016
My favorite waterski spot is without a doubt Sunset Lakes in Groveland, Florida. I am from France and there are a few pretty places to waterski there, but we all know that Florida is THE place to go if you want to become a pro waterskier. The state of Florida has more than 30 000 lakes. Some of them are really shallow, weedy and not big enough for waterskiing unless you enjoy skiing around in circles. There are also some excellent waterskiing lakes and ski schools in Florida. Sunset Lakes meets all the criteria that I am looking for in a training site.
It is family owned and operated by Jack, Lelani, Chris and Jon Travers. It is a great place for skiers of all levels. You can meet a lot of pro skiers there, Jon Travers himself is one of the top slalom skiers in the world. I also love to train with his wife Natallia. Jutta Lammi, another top jumper from Finland, trains at Sunset Lakes as well. I find it really motivating to train with girls that I compete with, we ski together in a good atmosphere. We are all friends, we hang out outside the lake but then when we are on the water we ski our best and it does not affect our friendship.
They also do summer camps for kids with all sorts of activities aside from skiing. They can paddle board, play volleyball, ping pong or go wake surfing on the week-end on the big public Florida lakes. Wake surfing is my favorite activity! We all hang out on the boat for the day. It’s super social, you’re right up against the back of the boat so you and your friends can cheer each others. You try to catch a wave and let go the handle. It’s really fun and you don’t need perfect conditions to go wake surfing. It’s a really good way to relax when I’m not waterskiing.
I usually train at Sunset lakes before every big event because I know that I will get good coaching and that the conditions are perfect. There are 3 man made lakes, each of them have a slalom course and there is two jump ramps facing different directions so we can always get a nice head wind. Sunset Lakes usually organize 3 tournaments per year and they are always full really early. Skiers from all over the world come to their tournaments because it is one of the best waterski site in the world.
For the housing, I like to stay in the cabins but families can also rent villas that are on site. They are fully equipped and some of them also have hot tub’s. If you don’t have your own equipment, it’s not a problem, they have everything you need. They also have a proshop if you are interested in buying your own gear. Attention ladies! They carry GlideSoul, my favorite wetsuit brand specifically designed for girls. I am a Glidesoul ambassador and I absolutely love their products. The quality is amazing and they make bright and fun colors, so you never get bored of your outfit!
Text and photos by Nancy Chardin
Nancy Chardin is a professional waterskier. She lives between Crest Voland in France and Groveland, Florida. She is currently ranked 1st in Europe and 5th in the Elite World Ranking list in the jump event. For more information check out her website: www.nancychardin.com