Amateur places second in water ski championships

Cody Siolka of Shawano placed second in the freestyle jump competition at the Malibu Open water skiing championships in Milwaukee last week.

“I was one of the few amateurs there and it was exciting to be able to compete with professionals,” Siolka said. “It was actually international — there were people from Australia, Canada and Europe.”

The Malibu Open was held Friday and Saturday at Veteran’s Park in Milwaukee. As a stop on the professional water ski tour, the competition included the world’s top professional athletes competing for $65,000 in prize money.

“Taking second in my first ever ‘pro tournament’ was beyond fulfilling,” Siolka said. “I went there with the intention of just being among the greatest skiers in the nation and ended up making a name for myself among the top-dogs of the sport and placing very well.”

Siolka, 21, has been skiing almost his entire life. He has been a member of the Shawano Ski Sharks water ski team since he was 8 and doing freestyle jumps since he was 13.

“Cody is our best freestyle jumper,”said Mike Mayak, president of the Shawano Ski Sharks. “It’s terrific to have him do so well in competition. We’re proud of him.”

Siolka’s father, Mick, who is also a member of the Ski Sharks, said the family was always skiing during the summertime.

“The first time he ever got on a pair of skis, one ski fell off, and he ended up skiing for a couple miles on just one ski,” he said. “As a family we grew up on the water with the Shawano Ski Sharks. It’s a great sport, physically it keeps you in shape and its a great family activity.”

Siolka had been practicing the one-ski gainer, two-ski gainer and one-ski front flip for about five years. His total score for the Malibu Open’s freestyle competition was 455.5, with points earned for distance, form and degree of difficulty.

He explained a “gainer” is a back-flip while maintaining a forward motion or gaining forward distance while doing a back-flip.

“The one ski front flip is the most difficult trick I have landed,” Siolka said. “However, my one-ski gainer scored much higher due to having great form and going a long distance, as well as landing it very smoothly.”

Tiffany Wilbert
Siolka soars in freestyle jump
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