SPOTYS Recap – Jack Silver
Story courtesy of College Sport Media
Jack Silver and his family have always had an affinity for water so when they purchased a beach house with a private lake near Otaki a decade ago they struck the jackpot.
Swimming was already popular, but when Jack was introduced to water skiing it quickly became irresistible.
The 16-year-old from Hutt International Boys’ School is the top ranked Men’s Under-17 water skier. At the Nationals in April he won the boys overall title, which measures the skiers across all three events (trick, slalom and Jump).
In the Open field he finished fourth in slalom, and for the tournament he achieved the highest trick score for any skier aged under 21 – winning a third Nationals trick trophy.
In November he was selected as a supreme finalist in the College Sport Wellington Awards. His ranking for each discipline at present is Slalom (23), Jump (8) and Trick (16)
“My dad (Richard) was into water skiing and introduced me to it when he brought a boat off a mate. Dad makes his way up and down the lake pretty good, but these days he spends more time driving me,” Silver said.
“I competed for the first time in 2016. I was 12 years old and unsure about entering until persuaded by Dad. I got third and the feeling of being on the podium was surreal.
“We were so lucky to find the lake near Otaki. It’s quiet and I’m up there as often as I can be, sometimes three or four times a week after school. I’m in the gym every day and training my butt off to become the best I can.”
At the 2018 Nationals he medaled in the Slalom and has kicked onto hold all Wellington Under-17 region ski records. This is unusual as typically competitors will specialize in a specific discipline. So what is his best event and why?
“I’m not sure but Slalom is exciting because it tests agility and we only use one ski with feet oriented forward, one in front of the other. Slalom skis are narrow and long and the trick is to go between a multi-buoy course as quickly as possible. The shorter the rope, the better the skier as they have less time and space to manoeuvre.”
“Jumping involves riding two long skis over a jump and the competitor able to travel the longest distance landing safely wins, it’s as simple as that.
“Tricks is awesome because skiers are given two 20-second runs during which they perform a series of their chosen tricks. Tricks include hand tricks, surface turns, rotations over the wake, flips and toe tricks often done with only a foot attached to the handle. My favourite trick is a back flip with a 360-degree rotation
A top five finish in all categories at the 2019 Junior Oceania Championships in Australia further demonstrated Silver’s superior trickery. This year he was set to go to Florida to compete in the World Championships, but couldn’t attend due to Covid, despite the event going ahead.
“The best water skiers tend to come from North and South America, places where the climate is hot enough to allow them to train and compete all year round. I don’t think there is a financial future in the sport, but you can make some money by winning competitions and getting sponsors.
“The sport can be high risk. I’ve had a concussion and strained muscles, but so far my luck’s been pretty good.
“I move up the Under-21 division next year and that’s like going straight from primary school to college. Your ranking starts again, but I’m determined to become the best.”