Love of water skiing is a family affair

Lake Living - Summer 2018

The Brock sisters, Ally and Andi, have been water skiing for years, winning local and regional championships along the way.

The young women, who live in Toccoa, say it's not so much the winning they like about the sport as it is the camaraderie that goes along with it.

"Everyone might root for you and cheer you on," said Ally, the older of the two siblings. "It's definitely like a huge community."

Andi agreed.

"It's a close-knit community," she said.

The sisters said that their parents—who are water skiing enthusiasts themselves—began teaching them the tricks of the trade in their younger years.

"My parents taught me when I was about seven," Andi said.

Their mother, Angela Brock, said she was about the same age when she learned how to water ski.

It was a skill she and husband, Max, wanted to pass on to their daughters.

"We taught them to ski because it is something that our families had always done as a family," Angela said.

For a time, it was purely a recreational activity for Ally and Andi until one day, through Max's business contacts, they met a local water skiing champion.

"We didn't even think about competitive skiing until after we met Ray," Angela said.

Enter Ray Crenshaw of Toccoa, who has trained many a child in competitive slalom skiing — a water skiing sport that transitions down from two skis to one ski to maneuver a course weaving between multiple buoys.

Crenshaw said that the course gets more difficult as the buoys are passed.

"You increase the speed or shorten the rope length until you miss or fall," Crenshaw said.

Like the Brocks, Crenshaw said his affinity for water skiing began among his family and friends.

"Back then, there weren't a lot of places to go (to water ski)," Crenshaw said.

With more than 40 years of water skiing experience, Crenshaw's served in multiple roles – from driving the boat, to serving with the Georgia Water Ski Federation and American Water Skiing Association, coaching, and competitively skiing in tournaments himself.

He even holds his own tournament locally on a private lake. 

"I wear a lot of hats," Crenshaw said.

Crenshaw said that slalom speeds run from around 34 to 36 mph, depending on one's experience and ranking.

Ally credits Crenshaw with the success she's had in competitive water skiing and more.

"Ray has coached me since I was 10," Ally said. "He's the one that got us into competitive skiing and he's been a huge help in life and in skiing.

She explaining that Crenshaw was invested not only in the girls' water skiing abilities, but also their academic accomplishments.

"He's become a close family friend," Ally said.

Ally now competes on the collegiate level with the University of Georgia and has learned the additional water skiing sports of tricks and jumping.

Ally said she learned those to help out scoring in team competitions against rivals such as Clemson and Auburn.

But being more of an individual sport than direct one-on-one competition, Ally said they often find themselves rooting for rivals to also do well.

"Even across teams, everyone is cheering each other on," Ally said.

Andi will join her sister at UGA in the fall and said the real competition is in doing better than oneself had done previously.

"You're trying to bear your own score," Andi said.

"I like that it's an individual sport and that it's always up to me to do my job," Ally said.

Another benefit the sisters and Crenshaw noted about the sport is that age isn't so much a limiting factor.

"A lot of sports … once you reach a certain age it's hard to keep doing it," Ally said.

Crenshaw said most water skiing events were planned according to age groups.

"You've got guys that are 80 years old out there," Crenshaw said. "It's something you can do all your life."

All agreed that overall, it all comes back to making friends, meeting people at events in Georgia and elsewhere, and having fun with them and their family.

It's an activity Ally said that she planned to continue for years to come, and one that Andi said she hopes to get her future family into.

"I want to teach my kids to ski," Andi said. "I don't want it to die out."

This story comes from our free publication, Lake Living Magazine

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