Top 10 NCWSA Instagram Posts of Fall 2016

Many collegiate water skiers return to school either this week or next for the upcoming academic term. While everyone deals with the doldrums of winter, we prefer to look back on the amazing 2016 Fall season and remember the warm weather and amazing skiing! So without further adieu we look back to the top ten NCWSA Instagram posts of the 2016 Fall season.


10. San Diego State University – Ski Love

San Diego State - Ski Love

Ella Casillas skis for San Diego State University. At the Western region’s opening tournament hosted by California State University, Chico she ran the slalom course for the first time ever! She is showing some love to her ski for a job well done. She received the ski as a present for her 18th birthday from her dad, who also loves to waterski.


9. University of Kansas – Jump Dock Shenanigans

University of Kansas - Pump up for jump!

The University of Kansas girls stick together on and off the water! Here, they are pumping up their teammate, Mikaela, while waiting for her turn in women’s jump at NCWSA Nationals. Mikaela was really nervous so all the girls went to the dock to show their support and get her excited to jump at Nationals with some general goofiness and of course dock dancing! Mikaela worked really hard throughout the season to attempt to land successfully, and her team wanted to perform the best she could but enjoy being and skiing at Nationals in El Centro, CA.  Pictured (left to right) are Kelly Reeve, Helen Wehner, Abby Hetlage, Mikaela Steutermann, Ellie Staver, Allison Thomas, and Abby Hamilton; we will see more of Allison later in the countdown!


8. University of Georgia – Never Let Go

University of Georgia - Never Let Go

This iconic picture is of Cole Burgess who skis for the University of Georgia Bulldogs and this is from his first NCWSA tournament at Whitestone in 2013. As Cole states: “I learned later that the third jump is always for the crowd. I got the the infamous instructions ‘Knees, trees, freeze!’ and then I held on for dear life. The picture makes the crash worth while, and jumping is and forever will be the best event.”  Cole’s dedication to his team and leadership within the NCWSA community earned him the 2016 NCWSA Male Leader of the Year award.


7. Arizona State University – Homecoming Parade

Arizona State Homecoming

The ski season may have been over, but the weather stays warm at Arizona State University for awhile longer. After skiing at Nationals, the ASU Water Ski Team returned to campus and were very grateful to be able to pull a “float” in the homecoming parade. Melissa Hayhurst, an ASU skier, noted being “in the homecoming parade of such a huge school with so many extracurricular clubs is a blast. So [few] people know we exist, and we were announced over the loud speaker as placing second in the Western region, a huge accomplishment.” The ASU team decorated their boat and maximized their opportunity to advertise for their team, it what appears to be amazing late October weather. Pictured: Melissa Hayhurst, Mallory, Hayhurst, Dylan Sullivan, and Ty Johnson.


6. Western Washington University – Flip to Air Five

WWU Flip High Five

Joe McIntyre skis for the Western Washington University waterski team, and had never 3-evented prior to college (like many collegiate skiers). Joe says that his lack of prior experience has lead him to “rock doubles” (two trick skis) at many collegiate tournaments, and the photo is from his “end of run flip attempt at Borderline Lake [and] the flip is a work in progress that [he] has been working on for three years now.” Joe is certain that he will get that flip down one of these days! After tossing the rope, Joe appears to be air fiving someone or possibly himself for a job well done as he made his pass to attempt the flip and WWU was doing an amazing job hosting the tournament.


5. Michigan State University – Thinking Warm Thoughts

Michigan State - Thinking Warm Thoughts

Several ladies of the Michigan State Waterski Team were channeling warm thoughts during the early a few boughts with winter and 3 degree temperatures in Michigan. The MSU waterski team says the girls on the team “love to waterski and be outside on beautiful warm, sunny days” but also “love snow and all the beautiful various seasons Michigan has to offer! [From] water beauties and beach babes to snow angels” MSU loves showing off its fun side on Instagram. Despite loving all seasons, when the temperatures initially drop to well below freezing and waterski season is clearly over the MSU team is like all other teams and thinks warm thoughts about the previous season and the great times that they had on those sunny days.


4. Missouri State University – Slow Motion Jump Crash

A video posted by NCWSA (@thencwsa) on

Alex Krause skis for the Missouri State Waterski Team, and she is featured in this slow motion jump crash. As of this writing the NCWSA repost of the Missouri State video had 608 views and the initial post has 358 views.  This slow motion capture is certainly worthy of a top five spot in our 2016 Fall Top 10.  At the time of this video, Missouri State Waterski says, Alex “was a year or so into her trying to jump. She said she was feeling pretty confident about [the] jump and that she would land it.” According to Alex, the only true harm that came from the jump was a concussion and she has said that this jump ended her jumping career. We are sad to hear that the jumping career has ended, but we are glad everything turned out okay for Alex.


3. Sara Nicely (Missouri State alum) – Slalom Blowout

Sara Nicely Crash

Sara Nicely is the only alumni to break our top ten, and the photo of her slalom crash is beautifully captured. During her collegiate days, Sara skied for Missouri State University. This picture was of 6 ball at 28′ off, and Sara’s lifetime personal best was 5 at 28′ off. Sara walked away from this crash with only rib injuries and set a tournament personal best of 3@28′ off when skiing at a tournament in California just five days later. On this set, Sara was skiing on her home lake, Lake of Dreams, in Jerseyville, IL. She was being driven by Dave Krohne and the “rescue swimmer” (spotter) was Dana Grubb. “Proof that there is skiing after college” is what was noted, and we looked forward to seeing great pictures from our alumni when they take to the water after the off season!


2. Iowa State University – Bad Girls

Iowa State Water Ski - Bad Girls

The Iowa State University golden girls were hard at work at regionals pushing to make the 2016 NCWSA Nationals. The ISU Waterski Team notes that “every girl on the Iowa State team waits on the starting dock with their next teammate to compete” and that their team is “young and ready to keep working hard to keep improving.” Team spirit, hard work, and perseverance helped earn the Iowa State team a spot at D2 Nationals and solid skiing placed them in 7th at 2016 D2 Nationals. In this picture from left to right are Tiera Salitros, Jess Dwyer, Yuuka Sasaki, Erin Vespestad, Jade Jensen, Maki Koep, Kristy Dertz and lying in front is Amber Aho.


1. University of Kansas – Bloody Jubilation

Now for the top Instagram post in our top ten countdown! We return to the University of Kansas Waterski Team with Allison Thomas’ post jump bloody photo. This photo took off like crazy and led to her “bloody Instagram fame” at 2016 NCWSA Nationals. As of this post, 1211 people had seen the NCWSA Instagram repost of the bloodied KU waterskier. The KU Waterski Team said:

Allison was just learning to jump and had only previously landed a couple jumps. That day she was landing her jumps at 24 mph really solid so we asked her if she wanted to go a little faster and she agreed. She nailed her jump at 26 mph so on the next one we took her a little faster, and she went out the front into a face plant that broke her helmet.

The piece of the helmet that broke was what cut her nose. The fact that her face looked like a crime scene barely seemed to phase her. She took a break to get cleaned up, and then got back out there and skied later that afternoon and at nationals the next weekend.

From recollection, some members recall Allison saying that “she had heard that everyone who jumps takes a few hard crashes and she figured it was her time.”



That’s a Wrap on Our Fall 2016 Top 10

So that is it, our top 10 NCWSA Instagram posts of the 2016 Fall season! In the coming weeks we will continue to escape the cold temperatures of the off season by looking back at some amazing moments from the 2016 Fall season. As for our collection, it certainly seems that everyone loves a great crash photo! Additionally, team spirit is alive and well, which we love to see because team is the core of the NCWSA.

As we move into the depths of winter, we may not see as many new beautiful lakeside pictures, but we look forward to off season photos and greatly anticipate the photos as our skiers slowly get back on the water in 2017.



Adam Koehler

Skied with the Illini Waterski Team and the Marquette Waterski Team. Past winner of the NCWSA Outstanding Leader Award. Former NCWSA Operations Committee Chair and current NCWSA Secretary.