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Cornelius News

Go jump in the lake, barefoot, on New Year’s Day

Barefoot skiing at the Lake Norman Marina

Jan. 4. Although choppy conditions affected performances, the 46th annual Lake Norman New Year’s Day Barefoot Tournament wowed those who turned out on a sunny 50 degree day.

The wide range of competitor’s ages and abilities made this year’s event particularly interesting.

From five-year-old Lydia Harrington of Davidson to 81-year-olds (Ted Eisenstat and Fred Steinbaum, both from Hopatcong, NJ), every age group was represented.

Boom Division

In the exhibition Boom Division for beginners, contestants hold onto a boom protruding off the side of the boat, adding to their stability.

In this division, Lydia was joined by Will, 19, and Wesley Blair,17, brothers from Mooresville; Carter Reese, 19, also Mooresville; and Dane Mechler, 28, of Charlotte.

Mens Division Winners Kyle Arend (left), Logan Harrington (center), Jackson Tigner (right)

Men’s Division

Age and water ski experience didn’t seem to make much difference in determining who would win the Men’s Division.

Ten-year old Logan Harrington—Lydia’s brother—normally competes in the Junior Division, but because he was the only junior contestant this year and is a proficient barefooter, he dove into the Men’s Division.

Logan surprised everyone except his dad in winning the Men’s Division and posting the longest time and the third highest total score of the entire tournament—185 seconds, 60 points for his dock start for a total 245 points.

Second place in the Men’s Division went to Jackson Tigner, 15, of Tega Cay, with 196 points (66 seconds and 130 start/tricks points), and third place to Kyle Arend, 28, of Savannah, with 186 points (37 seconds and 110 start/tricks points).

Open Division

Open Division Winners (John Garrity (left), Van Jantzen (center), Jeff Blair (right)

In the Open Division, Jeff Blair of Mooresville has won nine of the 10 New Year’s Day tournaments in which he has competed. His only second-place finish to date was when world renown barefooter, Peter Fleck, won the tournament in 2014. Jeff held the course record for over 12 years before World Barefoot Champion Keith St. Onge broke it in 2019. But this year he fell early with a score of 351 (36 seconds and 315 start/tricks points).

That created the opportunity for 17-year-old Van Jantzen of Tega Cay—the only other contestant who began  with a flying backward dock start to beat Blair with a score of 387 (47 seconds and 340 start/tricks points).

Ed Billick of WBT radio assisted with the announcing of the event, which was also live streamed on the American Barefoot Club YouTube channel.

Charles Canady of MovingPictures4werd and Michael Barrett of Neighborhood TV created a video of the event they posted on instragram: https://www.instagram.com/reel/C1nhXOnIPPz/?igsh=Z3Q2aTR6bnRkMmx6

The Lake Norman New Year’s Day Barefoot tournament is organized by the Carolina Show Ski Team and hosted by Lake Norman Marina