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Some of the world's most exciting water ski artists are expected to compete in the North American Water Ski Championships opening today on Lake Lashaway in East Brookfield.
The pro-am tourney will offer competition in slalom, tricks and jumping in men's, women's, girls', boys' and senior men's elasses, but most attention will be on the men's trick event. An old duel will be revived, and several newcomers to world prominence will challenge the veterans for top honors.
Each trick has a value assessed by the American Water-Ski Association much in the same way as diving stunts are awarded different degrees of difficult. The skier has two 20-second passes in which to perform as many difficult and high-valued tricks as he can.
Al Tyll, the men's National champion and recent winner of the Masters, will be striving to better the current world record of 3432 points. So, too, will Larry Korb, who has been out of competition for the past two years. In practice he for the past two years. In practice he has been amassing point totals beyond 3500 points. Korb has never lost to Tyll.
Despite their past performances, however, both men could be beaten by challengers Bob Lilly and Jim McGraw.
Fresh from her 2893 point woman's world record trick run is Dicksie Ann Hoyt, who should have little trouble winning the girls' Overall crown. Tom Chatham, who can run 2800 points, should run away with boys' trick honors.
In the slalom event, the skier attempts to swing around six buoys staggered on either side of the boat wake. In the men's division, the skier enters the course at 30 m.p.h. for his first pass and at 32, 34, and 36 m.p.h. after that until he misses a buoy. Any skier who has successfully navigated the course at these speeds continues to pile up consecutive buoys by running through on tow lines shortened in six foot increments.
Top contenders in the men's slalom division, after the retirement of last year's North American champ Warren Witherell include Skip Charles, last year's Overall North American winner, and Jim Brunell, winner of the Yankee Open slalom title last weekend.
The best slalom skier in the tourney should be Skip Smaha in the boys' division. He has run through the course at 34 m.p.h., the top speed in his division, with 24 feet off the 75 foot line.
In the girls' slalom, Dicksie Ann Hoyt could very well break a world record in her class. She has run through the course at 34 m.p.h. with 18 feet off, picking up five of six possible points. She will, however, be hard pressed by Suzanne and Barbara Bonin.
The most exciting event from the spectators' point of view will be the mens' jumping, which will take place Sunday afternoon. The top contenders are Jim Perry and Larry Korb, who have both jumped over 130 feet. Other 100 foot jumpers include Phil Murray, Bob Lilly, and Skip Charles.
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