Written by Clara Kieschnick-Llamas
People strapping skis to their feet and flying across the water may not be a very common sport, but it has been in junior Mollie Sampson’s family for generations.
For Sampson, water skiing became somewhat of a tradition and she skied for the first time when she was seven. However, prior to her first venture, Sampson had trained for water skiing by using other sports. “We would do a lot of similar waters sports like knee boarding, [where] you sit on a board and don’t have to do anything,” she said. “It’s a good stepping stone.”
For Sampson, there are many difficult parts of water skiing, but the most challenging part is getting back up on the skis falling over. Not only does the struggle build character, but to Sampson it’s a fight with the body’s willingness to use energy. “It takes a lot of energy, so if you struggle getting up, then by the time you actually stand up you’re really tired, and so then you can’t put as much energy in it,” she said.
However, one of her most memorable moments was when she got up on doubles for the first time, and the sense of achievement that it imbued in her. “My dad had told me, ‘Mollie, whatever happens, don’t let go of the rope.’ Because when you start going, all the water pushes against you so you feel like you’re being dragged down [and] your instinct is to let go,” she said. “It was the first time that I [had] a shot at getting up, but my skis were way too big and one of my skis fell off. My dad [had said], ‘Don’t let go,’ so I just skied for five or seven seconds with one ski and the other leg was floating in the air.”
While water skiing may be a fascinating sport on its own, it has also led Sampson to pursue other sports that are related. Because of the water aspect of the sport. Sampson has been drawn to other activities that she can tie to her love of water skiing. “Pretty much anything behind a boat, I’m down to try,” she said.
When Sampson taught her friends how to ski, she found it very rewarding, and is considering teaching on a more professional level in the future. “Teaching other people how to ski is really fun. Seeing them get up for the first time is always good,” she said. “I would love to [teach].”