Results of the Latin American Championships
Bogotá Colombia, 1998
Latinos - Finished in a Downpour, Domingo, Abril 12/98
The 16th Latin American Championships are now over and I can say,
we completed the event with a crowd closing in on 20-30 thousand
people lining the shores of El Lago de Simon Bolivar cheering
every jump and, hissing every pass!
Sr. Slalom went great and Larry Gisler took the gold.
Tricks bogged us down a bit but we completed the finals by 1pm.
Some notables included Javier Julio with a beautiful 9000 plus
trick run that stole the show in the Open. Luisa Botero upset
favourite Mariana Ramirez to take the trick title in the Open
It was the Julio/Ramirez show as they dominated the open events.
Ramirez also swept the Sub-21 category as well.
Jumping was spectacular against the backdrop of, appropriately,
a crucifix and many, many spectators lining both sides of the
shores cheering and having a great time. It was wild as no less
than 4 categories where the muy importante overall event was hotly
Javier Julio, Adan Botana, Jorge Renosto (Arg) and Christian Siegert
(Col.) in the Open Varones. In the Sub-21 it was Emiliano Botana
(Arg), Esteban Siegert (Col) and Francisco Miranda (Chi). In Juvenile
Varones, Rodrigo Miranda (Chi), Camilo Andrade and Diego Delgado
(Col) were all in a tight race leading to the finals. As well,
Margarita Delgado and Natalia Hernandez (Col) both awaited the
jump event to decide the overall title in the Juvenile Damas.
To speed up the event, Larry Gisler took the controls of the boat
and smoked the first 3 divisions. We knew we had no time so, we
dropped the number of jumps to two in the finals. Then, I got
out of the "somewhat animated" judges tower and "steered"
and computer modulated the rest of the tournament. Little did
I know the RPM cable had rattled loose and triggered things at
the weirdest of times! It was like riding a wild horse!
But, "even with all these problems, we make it the rest of
the tournament" say Larry!
In Juvenile Varones, no-one could top Rodrigo Miranda (Chi) -
"Tiempo Correcto, salta valido" spoke Jorge Renosto
Sr. (Arg.) as I tried to translate the times to Spanish whilst
dodging the island at the end of the course, making sure I didn't
dump the skier and park the boat on the beach of the narrow channel
after the jump. The evento was marred by a small accident where
Camilo Andrade of Colombia pile drove it into the muck and smashed
his face on his stiffy's breaking his nose pretty good! I've got
a picture (of course) and will put it up on the web page when
I get home.
Hey, he won a medal!
Next the hotly contested Sub-21 Varones, where little Esteban
Siegert (with the purple hair!) showed the partisan Colombian
crowd how to wail on a jump sending the audience into a roar that
you could hear over the straining 330 hp engine, which at this
altitude probably lost about 100 hp.
Then, the Open, the stars of the show:
Christian Siegert was up and as we approached the course, I noticed
those Patos (ducks) sitting in the jump video grid so, I had to
pull back just as Christian was starting his turn. The crowd roared
yelling "Patos, patos". We chased them to the other
shore with the boat and continued. When Christian jumped, the
crowd noise was deafening from his counter to his landing and
Javier Julio occupied the pin position and yelled "Cinquenta
y siete (57) as wide as you can go - wide wide wide" On his
first attempt he passed which anyone would do if the stupid driver
pulled a normal split instead!. Rerun! I gotta admit tho, it was
right down the center! On his next jump, a booming lift, and he
just about parked it on the beach turning just moments before,
spraying a few individuals too close to the action. That was the
As the jump was at 1.65m, we inverted the Senior Varones division
and Larry Gisler went out first. Man, he pulled hard and I had
the jump switch setting too low but the times were okay. Next
jump something happened and the speed control system shut down
on mid-cut so I punched the throttle and felt it go limp. Yikes!
I broke it and it is stuck at wide-open! Larry jumped anyways
and to my relief, the throttle came back - really bad ride so
we gave him a re-run after tightening that stringy thingy in the
On the re-ride, Larry kicked a huge jump to take the title. Next
was Mauricio "Pato" Quintero (Col) who passed the first
jump bringing about a roar of hisses from the crowd. His second
jump was better but no match for Larry who eventually won the
Then, the rain came - 2 guys left and 1/2 hour to sunset. They
had to lower the ramp as well. It wasn't too bad as Daniel Vargas
(Col) went out but, when Robert Ritter (Chi) hit the skids, it
was absolutely pouring. And, of course, the radio quit!
All he needed was about 27 meters to take the silver. Jorge Renosto
and I were soaked but I told Robert, "Look, take a jump,
grab the silver and come home. I'll give you an optional reride
anyways and DO NOT do anything stupido."
With that, his eyes lowered and his face turned to a scowl as
he prepared to fight the elements, finish the tournament and grab
the silver ring. I had to sit above the windshield to see. I don't
know how he found his way but he dropped it in right on the button.
"Tiempo Perfecto, Salta valido". I stopped the boat,
yelled in the times, and asked if it was silver. It was really
pouring! Silver! I looked back at Robert and he said, "I'll
take another". And, I wasn't surprised at the tenacity of
this Bolivian of German descent now living in Chile. On his last
jump, he jumped a few meters farther and so was the legend of
the 16th Annual Campeonato de Latino Americano de Esqui Nautico.
It is difficult to describe the sportsmanship, comraderie, friendships,
courage and exemplary attitude of these athletes on and off the
water in only a few short narratives. They encourage and help
each other and are not afraid to assist in the duties of running
these tournaments and take a great deal of pride in the result.
I cannot imagine a tournament in the "developed" countries
where the skiers/team managers would accept some of the conditions
that we have had to operate under including using duct tape and
chicken wire to hold boat parts together, props that are bent,
jumps like a washboard and, jumps that aren't exactly 6.7 m long
out of water. The Latinos are a Water Ski Competition and, as
long as the conditions are the same for each athlete, a winner
is determined. It does not matter how far they jump, or how short
the line in Slalom or the final trick tally, all that matters
is the competition....
Next year we will again hold the Latinos during Semana Santa (Easter)
in Lima, Peru - I will be there and, of course will take in the
famous Incan ruins of Machu Pichu afterwards. Care to join us?
Sabado, Abril 11/98 - Jump Eliminations/Slalom Finals
This is a bit of a mess but it's all I have the energy for right
Except for the many delays, we didn't quite finish as the sun
set and the tropical rain flooded the lake. The slalom course
is now under water (ie the buoys). Hope we can find it in the
morning so we can finish 20 hours of skiing in 14 hours.
Ever tried to run an international tournament with 2 radios!
There was supposedly 70,000 people in the park today and quite
a few watched some spectacular performances in both the jump eliminations
and the slalom finals.
This is tough slugging - anyone wanna come to Peru next year?
I may have a plane ticket...
CAMPEONATO LATINOAMERICANO 1998
SANTAFE DE BOGOTA - COLOMBIA
ABRIL 9 DE 1998
FEMENINO JUVENIL(13-16 AÑOS)
PTO NOMBRE PAIS ELIM FINAL OVERALL
1. DELGADO, M. MARGARITA COL 30.50 40.00 1,000.00
2. HERNANDEZ, NATALIA COL 34.50 39.00 975.00
MASCULINO JUVENIL (13-16 años)
PTO NOMBRE PAIS ELIM FINAL OVERALL
1. MIRANDA, RODRIGO CHI 45.00 50.00 1,000.00
2. ANDRADE, CAMILO COL 45.00 46.00 920.00
3. DELGADO, DIEGO FERNANDO COL 43.50 45.50 910.00
4. TORRES, ARTURO MEX 40.25 44.00 880.00
5. MARISCAL, DIEGO MEX 33.50 41.00 820.00
6. MIRANDA, FELIPE CHI 29.00 33.50 670.00
7. CARRIZO, JUAN PABLO ARG 20.00 400.00
8. TORRES, ALVARO MEX 5.00 100.00
FEMENINO SUB-21 (17-21 años)
PTO NOMBRE PAIS ELIM FINAL OVERALL
1. RAMIREZ, MARIANA MEX 46.25 53.00 1,000.00
2. JARAMILLO, MANUELA COL 33.00 38.00 716.98
3. MEJIA, NATALIA COL 32.50 5.50 613.21
MASCULINO SUB-21 (17-21 años)
PTO NOMBRE PAIS ELIM FINAL OVERALL
1. BOTANA, EMILIANO ARG 52.50 50.50 1,000.00
2. MIRANDA, FRANCISCO CHI 51.00 50.00 971.43
3. VISCONTI, JOSE ARG 44.00 45.00 857.14
4. SIEGERT, ESTEBAN COL 39.50 45.00 857.14
5. RAMOS, JUAN CAMILO COL 38.25 42.50 809.52
6. GUZMAN, RODOLFO CHI 43.00 38.50 819.05
7. GONZALEZ, HECTOR MEX 26.50 504.76
OPEN FEMENINO (22 en Adelante)
PTO NOMBRE PAIS ELIM FINAL OVERALL
1. RAMIREZ, MARIANA MEX 46.5 50.50 1000.00
2. VIÑUALES, VERONICA ARG 41.50 44.00 871.29
3. BOTERO, MARIA LUISA COL 48.50 38.50 960.40
4. HERNANDEZ, NATALIA COL 39.00 38.50 772.28
5. HERNANDEZ, JUANITA COL 26.50 4.50 524.75
OPEN MASCULINO (22 en Adelante)
PTO NOMBRE PAIS ELIM FINAL OVERALL
1. JULIO, JAVIER ARG 49.00 53.00 1,000.00
2. BOTANA, ADAN ARG 51.00 51.50 971.70
3. CHICHARRO, CARLOS CHI 44.50 50.00 943.40
4. RENOSTO, JORGE ARG 50.00 49.50 943.40
5. LOPEZ MARTIN ARG 45.00 40.50 849.06
6. MEJIA, MARCO AURELIO COL 38.00 39.00 735.85
7. SIEGERT, CRISTIAN COL 37.50 34.50 707.55
8. CAILLAUX, RICARDO PERU 39.00 4.00 735.85
9. URIBE, FEDERICO COL 33.00 622.64
Good Friday at the Latinos, Abril 10/98
Tengo una problemma? Si, mucho problemmas...
Never ever say everything is going well - ever. It's the kiss
of death at the Latinos.
Woke up this am at 6 with a touch of the Gene Davis Medellin flu.
Tip-toed out of the room so as to not fully awake mi bonita esposa
and of course forgot my hat - you know, the one that covers my
Got on the 7 am bus which left at 7:30 and headed to the site.
Alvado from Argentina lent me some 60 sunblock as it was yet another
high altitude clear Bogota day where the suns rays act like laser
Okay, ready for an 8 am start - not. The ski trailer was locked
until 8 am so we tried to get a guard to shoot the lock off -
Eventually we got tricks started at 8:30 and things ran fairly
Natalia Hernandez (Col) leads Margarita Delgado (Col) in the Juvenil
Feminino division by a small margin but both fell.
In the Juvenile Masculino division, it was Rodgrigo Miranda leading
his younger brother Felipe (Pepe) of Chile by a score of 5160
Mariana Ramirez of Mexico dominated the Sub-21 Division by doubling
her nearest rival with a score of 3710 but she was not finished.
A few categories later, she ran 5050 and has a good
lead over Maria Luisa Botero.
In the sub 21 Masulino division, Emiliano Botana (Arg) with 6720
pts., leads both Esteban Siegert (Col) and Francisco Miranda (Chi)
who eached scored 4240 pts.
In the Open Masculino, Javier Julio (Arg.) had a great run and
scored 9190 pts followed by teammates Adan Botana and Jorge Renosto.
And finally, Larry Gisler holds a slight lead over Mauricio (Pato)
Quintero (Col) in the Senior Masculino division.
As the day wore on, the crowd began to assemble to watch the event.
Eventually they lined both sides of the ski site and it got a
tad difficult to move about the area.
So, we go to jumping. It was 1 PM and I have 18 jumpers to finish
off the afternoon. So, I said, 10 minutes per skier ought to give
me a huge safety margin - I mean huge.
So, we set up the video system, plug it in, doesn't work! Cable
impedance too high or something like that. So, we pack the whole
whackeroni up and move it 100 meters up the shore. 45 minutos
later we are again ready. (Lot's of time I though - no problemma).
Okay, bring out the first skier and away we go. I thought I should
check how the measuring was going and was a tad shocked when I
watched the juez place the cursor on the skier and record the
jump! Not on the point of first contact, but his concept of the
point of first contact. A short but terse argument ensued and,
problem solved (so I thought).
Juvenil damas y varones went off fairly well with an incident
of a Colombian skier doing a half back flip onto her neck after
which the totally inexperienced safety crew mucked up and the
towboat came to the rescue. This eventually chewed up 45 minutes
but fortunately, the skier was not hurt. By this time the crowd
on the shoreline was swelling, cheering every move and jump.
So, I thought, I will jump in the boat to make sure the Jump Switch
settings on the speed control systerm were correct. After one
particular skier came out, a war erupted in the Video Judge tent.
Now, Bob Corson's rules say that both judges should agree on placement
of the cursor. Well, this is all fine and well except when they
disagree, they are Latin Americans, and neither has a lot of experience
with the system. We are talking a war! Lines were drawn on the
screen, armies were dispersed, and words exchanged. So, I came
back to shore - separated the warring factions and went back to
being peacemaker, chief judge, video judge, shore judge yada yada
In the meantime, the power crashed at least 10 times, the video
system wouldn't save the Initiation file and we had to re-input
everything. More delays and the crowd was getting restless.
In the meantime, the replacement Boat Judge accidently ripped
something out of the speed control box and we were back on reride
mode. Fixed that and the power failed again. If that wasn't enough,
those stupid Pato's (ducks) decided to mate on the other side
of the lake and so, I sent Mauricio (Pato) Quintero to chase them
in a MasterCraft of which the male duck must have thought was
the mother of all hens and promptly started to chase the boat
which had the huge crowd roaring with approval. Eventually we
got them separated and away we go again. Esteban Siegert, beauty
of a jump - bingo - power failed again - missed it.
Then it dawned on me, while the power was supposedly out, I kept
hearing the announcer continue on as if nothing happened. "Why
aren't they affected" ,I asked. "Oh, they have a generator"
was the reply. "Our generator?", I responded. "Si!"
Aaaarrrrrgh! Does anyone have a prozac? (By the way, we found
out the problem with the electricity, the extension cord had a
short! Go Figure!??)
Now, it is nearing 5:30 and 3 skiers to come with one on the water.
At 5:50, it is dark. With a few team captains breathing down my
neck, and the full moon rising over the Andes, we moved on and
luckily, finished. What a nightmare! Great skiing, huge crowd
who stayed until the very end, an ulcer, no fingernails left and
I is pooped.
Andres Botero, gave us a ride back to the hotel and we had an
enjoyable dinner plus some fine Chileno Wine to sooth the nerves.
What brings tomorrow (oops, this morning)?
Stay tuned - tomorrow I'm buying an Uzi...
April 9th/98 - Slalom Eliminations
This is a new one, finished the first schedule that we planned
and still had time to watch the sun go down (6 PM). However I
forgot to grab a copy of the resultados as we had a heated argument
on how the overall was to be scored.
Not only that, we started on time, the bus was on time - what
can I say?
In the busy waters of Lago de Simon Bolivar, everyone took a shot
at glory and surprisingly enough, the most contested event was
the senior men's where Larry Gisler broke a Latin American tournament
record of 3 buoys at 11.25 meters. Marian Ramirez of Mexico, the
number one IWSF ranking list slalom queen in the junior division,
leads both the 17-21 division and the Open Women.
In the Open Men's event, Adan Botana from Argentina powered his
way into the lead and Rodrigo Miranda of Chile leads in the Juvenile
event - watch him at the upcoming World Juniors
Latino Slalom Juvenile record holder, Emiliano Botana (ARG) took
advantage of a couple of fast re-runs to edge out Francisco Miranda
of Chile in a closely fought battle in the Sub-21 Division.
But these are only the eliminations and the best is yet to come.
Manana, we have Figuras y Salto.
After all the preparations of the last few days, things are starting
to work for us. Even the weather let up and with cloudy skies
I didn't burn so bad today. We did have a few foul-ups like the
knob on the servo-motor of the speed control falling off in the
middle of a run where the skier got about 4 re-rides and when
he finished, they clipped one of the buoys causing another delay.
After 1 hour, we took the next skier...
Also, it must be mating season here in Bogota as many of the Patos
(ducks) seem to be chasing each other around the middle of the
slalom course - more delays.. But, entertaining.
Then, the one hour Opening Parade took a couple of hours because
I mistakenly told the people to shut off their radios to conserve
the batteries. Yeah, they forgot to turn them on again and, the
starting dock is about mile from the Judges stand. When we finally
got hold of them, they said they were having a siesta and to wait
a bit more!
Only in Colombia.
Oh yeah, Sherm, I wouldn't allow them to build a floating tower
because my swimming buddy Glen Raimey wasn't here to share the
quick dip in the pool we had in Argentina.
April sumthingorother, must be the 8th.
Got up at 6:30 for a 7:30 ride which showed up at 8:30 but they
phoned first. Arrived on site with a new generator, and every
spare part I could think of in my bag.
Arrived on site and organized the building of a slalom tower plus
a test of the video jump system. "Hey, man, it works - no
problemma!" Not... Cables were screwed up. Never got to fully
test it because the new Honda generator blew up (is that why there
was gas in the oil reservoir?).
Then to the afflicted boat to fix the speedo's. Not a speedo problemma
as we found out, the declogger was clogged! Ripped that sucker
out. Bingo - speedos - Eureka! Now we can do jumping. Now get
this, we tore out the Colombian speed control system, re-chipped
it, replaced the motor, cables and other parts, calibrated the
unit (with care) and were up and running in less than 30 minutes!
Of course, Larry Gisler did he calibration.
Now, I told the skiers, you can ski. In the meantime got the jump
waxed and the pump fixed plus moved two buoys in the slalom course
that were a bit narrow. And, the relentless Bogota tropical sun
was burning me thru my jacket and sweatshirt and 45 sunblock...
We are almost ready to go except that nobody has RPM skier adjust
charts for 2600 meters so we winged it! A little off at first
but, we figured it out in a hurry.
So, did lunch... This time I took the Pollo (chicken) because
the beef I had the day before was tougher than that barking rottweiller
I heard every nite except last (Hmmmm???). Maybe I ordered wrong
Nobody jumped as they were more concerned with the trick event
now that we had speedos. Then, my good Argentine knee plant buddy
from last year, Martin Lopez said he would be the guinea pig and
test the system. Grabbed the Colombian Jump Switch and it was
broken. Did a test run down the lake and someone removed the magnets.
Looked for the manual timer - missing!
Okay Martin, let's just go out without it? Sure...
Longest jump so far! Go figure!
Finished at sunset, and headed home with Mauricio (Pato) Quintero
who promptly got lost in a somewhat unseeming neighbourhood in
Bogota but finally made it to the Hotel for the 8 O'clock quite
animated Team Captain's meeting plus another animated officials
meeting, supper at midnite, write this drivel whilst watching
Monty Python on TV wait for mi esposa to arrive from Miami (2
Day 3 - Homologation Day at the Latinos - April 7/98
Yeah, like for sure. They rented out the site all day so about
the only homologation we got done was watching the weed monster
cut weeds from under the towboat.
Still no speedometers which makes setting up the speed control
a tad difficult although it is working great for slalom. Haven't
seen a judge's tower anywhere nor a lot of judges so, I just relaxed
and totally baked in the hot tropical sun at 2600 meters above
sea level. Those rays baked thru a 45 sunblock, hat and a tee
shirt and I forgot the aloe. Ouch!
Kind of a rare day in Bogota, clear skies and a beautiful view
of the Andes backdrop which tower over the eastern edge of the
city. On the top of one high peak, there is a monastary which
overlooks the city. Maybe I'll find the time to get up there one
day. Since 92 when I was last here, the smog has significantly
decreased and the streets are much cleaner. The city is one big
rush hour and traffic is incessant. However, it was clear enough
to see the extents and breadth of this massive city as it sprawls
into the valley and climbs like ivy up the shear walls of the
You wonder why people make this home but, I suppose in contrast,
they wonder how I could live in a place where the temperature
regularly hits -40 C in Winter! It is home...
The altitude is a killer for our athletes as it saps the oxygen
from the blood and leaves you breathless after each pass in the
course. There is a backwash problem on one buoy that I can easily
fix however, I think not. A simple setdown at the end of the course
will not only resolve the problem but also give the athletes a
chance to gain some strength.
The Latin American Championship is an important event that these
countries take a great deal of pride in entering. Competition
to make the team is a fierce battle and they all represent their
countries with a great deal of sportsmanship and honor.
The Peruvians have entered a 5 member team and they will be a
force in the future as young stars are developing in that country.
The Argentines have a number of new faces and they are rebuilding
the great talent that they showed at the Pan Am Games in 95. Many
new faces from Colombia as well and shows that the sport is growing
and getting stronger in South America. As well, their Olympic
Committees are taking note!
However, I digress. Tomorrow is familiarization day and, as it
is at many latinos, there is still much work to do.
Bogota, April 6th/98 - Site set-up day
Bogota, Colombia - not much has changed since I was here last
in 1992 except that it seems a lot cleaner and, they have electricity
all day now (and thus traffic lites although most people ignore
them). Driving is still an experience as they pack 5 lanes of
traffic in 3 lanes of road where the white lines basically mean
that is the general direction of the street. Signal lites are
useless but if you don't have a horn you better park your car
because you will be run over.
Slept in, missed my ride, had an $8 muffin and coffee and grabbed
an $8 cab ride to the site. Wrong side of the lake of course,
dead center. Started jogging to the starting dock but found out
quickly about 2500 meter altitude! Watched as this HUGE floating
dredge played cat and mouse with the towboat as it was harvesting
the thickest weeds I have ever seen.
The lake is great, a bit short but great for spectators. They
had 10,000 watch them practice on Sunday and expect at least 100,000
for the weekend. Yikes!
end of the jump course is quite abrupt - a concrete wall! Imagine
this, you lift off the ramp looking directly at this huge 30 meter
crucifix, you land facing the wall, bounce on your back up to
the shore to the right of the wall, turn REAL sharp and you are
back on the lake (that is a 46 meter jump)! Actually it's not
that bad however, one ground rule I am looking at is that if you
can ski up the shore and back onto the lake, it will count as
a jump. I don't know the the rule's state that you actually have
to finish on water as long as you are in skiing position.
Slalom Course: You wing by the shore so close you can slap people
as you pass by, sharp right and into the pregates. Then it's out
the exit, play chicken with the weed harvester and plunk your
skier into a mass of freshly harvested weeds. Shorten the rope
and pull out what resembles a weed monster from the lost lagoon
who spends most of his time removing them right up to the pre-gates!
Hey, no problemma!!
The jump is a sight to behold. Ever see a washboard? Well it's
not that bad but it is a bit bumpy and real slick!
Just got back from a lovely $8 lunch (crepes).
The weather? Well it can be hot, it can be cool, it can be damp,
dry, windy, rainy, misty, sunny, and cloudy and, that was just
the last 10 minutes. Time for a siesta...Oops I'm back, a car
alarm went off - you know what that means in Bogota? Someone is
stealing the car alarm (and stereo and parts off the engine!)
Abril 5/98 - A primer: Today after 15 hours of flying,
3 stops, I arrived in the newly renovated Bogota Airport at 10
pm with 3 overweight suitcases.
I left Edmonton at -1 C, arrived at Toronto +6 C, then Miami
26 C and then Bogota 10 C so; so, what?
During the next week or so, I will report on what I expect
to be the first International Tournament of the year in the Pan
Am Region and because it is a holiday in Colombia, AND, the event
is DownTown, we should get a good turnout.
The Colombian Airport was fun because my buddy, Mark Kabierschke
picked me up - right in the immigration area and talked us out
of any problemmas! Thank goodness! For those that know me, you'll
understand. We are now loaded with 3 new speed control systems
and about 30 kgs of medals. And, surprisingly, I've realized that
I forgot to pack clothing!
So, the hotel is right downtown and the little instruction
they give you is that you should not travel outside after 6 pm
(eh?) and if you are confronted by a person saying they are a
policeman, you should come running back to the hotel for safety.
Whoa! Sounds like New Orleans!
Tomorrow, I visit the lago de Simon Bolivar where the action
will happen. Everything is set up and Larry Gisler (big time tech.
dude in Latin America) says it's okay - not Santiago, Chile but
definitely not Salta Argentina.
Tonite, I overlook downtown Bogota from the 10th floor of
the Tequendama Hotel (Ph.: 011571 - 2861111) and see a modern
city in transition. I await sunrise. Below me is a man in the
middle of the street wearing a cardboard overcoat waving at traffic.
God, I love this place...
I am on my way - leaving at 7 am on Sunday, April 5th and arrivi