COLLEGIATE ALUMNI REGIONALS IS COMING
Jeff Surdej, NCWSA chairman, notable Midwest Collegiate Water Ski Association and Purdue University water ski team alumnus, and international competitor and coach gave us the inside scoop on the exciting news that collegiate water ski reunions will be happening all over the country this year! Each NCWSA region will be hosting a Collegiate Alumni Regional Tournament this fall in anticipation of (maybe) a 2016 Collegiate Alumni Nationals.
USA-WS: Before we get down to the serious stuff, we understand that you were quite the accomplished collegiate skier (on and off the lake) back in your prime. Is there a certain moment or glorified memory from your years of collegiate skiing that you would like to relive?
JS: 1997 Nationals that we hosted at my home lake in Wilmington, Illinois. We shocked the world with this event. It was my senior year and we put in an insane amount of hours to get the site ready. But we did things that had never been done before and created an Olympic-type atmosphere with flags, banners, scoreboard, exhibitions, you name it. It didn't hurt that I skied well, placing 6th in slalom, either.
USA-WS: So, we know you've got the regional tournaments this year, do you see this as an on-going thing? What does the future of alumni events look like?
JS: The next step will be alumni nationals, hopefully next year. But I do see this on-going for years to come, maybe regionals and nationals in alternating years perhaps.
USA-WS: This is quite an ambitious (and awesome) endeavor. How are you making it all happen?
JS: Well it been talked about for years, every time we go to nationals we talk about how great an alumni nationals will be, but we just have not been able to pull the trigger. This past year at Jay Bennett's during nationals we were at dinner once again discussing it and a group of us just finally said "That's it, lets do it, no more talking about it." So we asked Jay to host Alumni Nationals and we announced it at the banquet, the room went insane. Since then we changed the format to start regionally but that's really how it started. The current NCWSA board is organizing it, getting the events started in each region and promoting them.
USA-WS: What does the NCWSA hope to achieve as a result of these tournaments?
JS: Bring back hundreds of skiers into our sport that have not skied in years. But also see old friends and just re-live the glory days of skiing for your alma mater in the ever-so-fun team format
USA-WS: We're hooked. How can alumni get involved?
JS: We have facebook event groups started for each of the four regions, outside of that all info is on ncwsa.com or contact the current NCWSA regional reps. But really just enter online and show up and ski. The Midwest has a captain for each team and more info at http://www.ncwsa.com/index.php/alumni/midwest-alumni-regionals-2015.html