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Skiing in the sunshine
Doug Peshina and his family take their talents to the water to wow spectators.
As the only competitive water skiing team in all of Ohio, the Chippewa Lake Water Ski Team has won many awards, including coming in 5th in a national competition. These performers combine strength, skill and artistry to dazzle viewers.
Doug Peshina is both a long-time water skier and a team member. He is not alone on the water; in fact, the entire Peshina family strap on their skis and perform with the team. “It’s a fantastic thing for our family to do together,” he says. “And the adrenaline that you get from performing, or accomplishing a new trick, is [great for] everybody.”
Pershina learned about the team through a fellow water skier in the late ‘90s. Since then, he has been excited to continually perform with the club. “I’m surprised that more people aren’t in the sport because it’s such a fun thing to do.” How did you get involved with water skiing?
DP: I probably started skiing around 8 years old. When I was a little kid my parents always had a boat and we would go to West Branch and Portage Lakes and ski. At that time, the Sea World in Aurora had a professional water ski show and when I was a kid, the schools went on field trips there. I was just enthralled by [the water skiing shows] and wanted to do that someday.
We heard you’ve won a lot of awards, especially with your daughter. What have the two of you won?
DP: My nine-year-old daughter Paige and I been competing since 2011 and we’ve been two-time regional champions. Our highest placement at the national competition has been 5th place.
Have you ever dropped her?
DP: There have been a couple of occasions. We do a lot of work on land to practice all the moves so we can minimize the risk of falling in the water, but over the last few years we’ve fallen a couple times on the water. You get a little nervous about it, but it’s sort of a calculated risk that seems worth it.
After a fall is there any tension at the dinner table?
DP: No, it’s just part of the sport. Neither of us likes to fall, but it happens and it really doesn’t happen too often. Everybody is going to fall at some point. She and I are doing some pretty difficult things, so once you get the difficulty level high enough it becomes more risky.
What do you do when you’re not waterskiing?
DP: For six months of the year we’re very busy skiing if we’re not at work or school. Then in the off-season we try to recuperate. My kids are involved in other stuff and we’re chasing them around to basketball games and gymnastics and music lessons.
What are some of the most challenging tricks you’ve ever done?
DP: It’s probably been the backwards barefoot step off. You have to learn how to turn a ski around on top of the water and you have to step off of that ski on your bare feet. That was probably one of the most challenging things for me to learn. The other trick I’ve had problems with is a front flip coming off the ski jump. It’s a six-foot-high ski jump and coming off of that can be a challenge to learn. The five-tier pyramid has been a real challenge for the team and we’re right on the verge of perfecting that.
Do you think the children will continue skiing as they get older?
DP: I’m not sure but I think they will. They seem like they’re hooked on it. There are a lot of families that are a part of the ski team and their kids are involved right up until they leave for college, and sometimes in the summer while they’re in college. I’d be surprised if they didn’t continue because it’s something you can do your whole life. We have members here that are in their early 80s.
Most children refuse to do anything with their parents. How did you get your children interested in something you do?
DP: They really didn’t have a choice in the matter. We’re out in the boat all the time. They were probably six months to a year old and I would take them out and ski while carrying them. They’ve been on the water since they were really little. Once you are exposed to it, it’s kind of an addictive [activity] and now they can’t get enough of it.
/ Ashlyne Wilson is an editorial intern who is working on her journalism degree at Kent State University.