Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

March 9, 2014

Fast learner

Cargile competing in world championships less than four years after learning sport

VALDOSTA — Less than four years ago, Chandler Cargile could only sit in the boat and watch his father and cousin barefoot ski.

Now though, all eyes are on the 17-year old from Lake Park, who will take part in the Barefoot Water Ski World Championships, which begin Monday and run through March 16 in Mulwala, Australia.

“I always wanted to try it, but it’s like the hardest thing to do,” Cargile said. “I just really wanted to learn.

“It’s still pretty, I find it amazing. In only three and a half years, I’ve gone from just getting up behind the boat to being ranked No. 2 in the world for juniors.

“It’s still kind of shocking to me.”

But watching helped motivate Cargile, who started to pick up the sport in increments. First came the Mike Seipel barefoot chair. Then came starting off the boon of the boat. Finally, he was able to start on his own with some instruction from his father Mark.

And from there, the tricks soon followed.

“I just fell in love with it,” the Valwood student said, adding that he attended a ski school in Florida. “The further I went, the more passion I had for it.”

He progressed quickly enough, that he competed at the world championships with the junior team last year in Waco, Texas, earning a silver medal in jumping. This past fall, he won the gold at the national meet in junior jumping. But that success, and his return to the world championships on the 17-and-under team wasn’t a surprise.

“I had a pretty good idea I’d make the junior team,” Cargile explained. “Most of the juniors last year, there are only six selections, are over 17 now. So I had a pretty good idea I’d be back on the junior team.”

However, when the call came with the national team results Cargile didn’t just qualify as a junior again. He also made the seven-member elite team, the best of the best.

“I spent all last summer training for this upcoming worlds, and I was trying to make the elite team as well but my priority was the junior team,” he said. “When I got the phone call that said I made both and it was finalized, it was pretty much an indescribable feeling.”

During the eight-day meet, each skier competes in three different aspects, with combined scores determining the overall winner. The three phases of barefoot skiing are trick (each participant completes as many tricks in a 15-second run going forward, and then again going backward), slalom (each participant tries to cross the wake as many times as possible in a 15-second run) and jumping (distance traveled as long as the participant lands the jump on his feet).

While each aspect are integral towards success at the world championships, Cargile admits that his favorite portion of a tournament is the jumping, inverted jumping in particular.

“I actually learned it in about a week, week and a half,” he said, adding that unlike traditional jumping skiers go higher and further in inverted, where they basically lay out horizontal as if they are flying like Superman.

“That’s probably my favorite event because last year at the worlds I took second in juniors jumping.”

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