Barefoot water ski athlete Noah Kinnaman was selected USA Water Ski & Wake Sports’ 2022 Male Athlete of the Year.
USA Water Ski & Wake Sports and its nine sport discipline organizations are pleased to announce respective award recipients for 2022. Teri Jones (Orlando, Fla.) has been selected USA Water Ski & Wake Sports’ 2022 Female Athlete of the Year; Noah Kinnaman (Lake St. Louis, Mo.) has been selected USA Water Ski & Wake Sports’ 2022 Male Athlete of the Year; and the Arizona State University water ski team has earned USA Water Ski & Wake Sports’ 2022 Team of the Year honors.
The award recipients will be honored at USA Water Ski & Wake Sports’ Annual Awards Banquet, presented by Visit Central Florida, on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, Fla. A limited number of tickets to the banquet are available to the public. Ticket includes cash-bar reception, dinner and awards presentation. Tickets can only be purchased online. Buy your banquet tickets early – $70 Early Bird (until Dec. 31, 2022); $80 regular price (Jan. 1-12, 2023); No tickets available after Jan. 12, 2023.
At age 53, Jones became the oldest woman in U.S. history to win the Open Women national overall title at the 2022 Barefoot Water Ski National Championships, while also winning the gold medal in tricks and silver medals in slalom and jumping. At the 2022 IWWF World Masters Barefoot Championships in San Marcos, Texas, she won the overall gold medal in addition to taking home the gold in slalom and tricks in the Women’s 45-54 age division.
After receiving the “Rising Superstar” award from the American Barefoot Club in 2021, Kinnaman has proven himself to be worthy of the title. This year he had another standout season. At the PGA Season Opener last spring, he qualified for the Open Men division in tricks and slalom. In August at the Nationals, he posted a new personal best tricks score of 9,550 points in winning the Open Pro Men national tricks title, and at age 14, became the youngest athlete to do so in the sport’s history. The summer of 2022 also saw him add all four one foot turns, all four feet-to-feet toe turns, and all four line steps to his repertoire - something only achieved in the U.S. by legendary barefooters Ron Scarpa, Lane Bowers, Keith St. Onge and Jackson Gerard.
Arizona State University placed fourth at the highly competitive Syndicate Water Skis 2022 Collegiate Water Ski National Championships and had multiple skiers set new regional records throughout the 2022 season. But the team’s accomplishments off the water were equally impressive – through creative fund-raisers and plenty of hours of manual labor, the team has a hugely improved dock and lift at its home site, a new Ski Nautique on the way and a financially secure team. The team accomplished all of this in addition to 200 hours of charity in the local community, hosting alumni reunions and family events, training, and attending classes.
Additional 2022 awards from USA Water Ski & Wake Sports and its respective sport discipline organizations are as follows:
- USA Water Ski & Wake Sports: Mike Mosley (Wilsonville, Ala.) and Jazmine Gagner (Pelham, Ala.), Volunteers of the Year (American Water Ski Association); Matt Heilman (Verona, Wis.) and David Rezin (Janesville, Wis.), Coaches of the Year (National Show Ski Association); Aquanut Water Shows, Inc. (Twin Lakes, Wis.), Club of the Year (National Show Ski Association); and Alexia Abelson (Holderness, N.H.), Junior Athlete of the Year (American Water Ski Association).
- American Barefoot Club: John and Ginette Garrity (Byram Township, N.J.), Volunteers of the Year; Ashleigh Stebbeings (Winter Haven, Fla.), Coach of the Year; Faith Dix (Winter Haven, Fla.), Rising Superstar; Teri Jones (Orlando, Fla.), Female Athlete of the Year; and Noah Kinnaman (Lake St. Louis, Mo.), Male Athlete of the Year.
- American Water Ski Association: Bob Harris (Paducah, Ky.), Volunteer of the Year; Alexia Abelson (Holderness, N.H.), Junior Athlete of the Year; Erika Lang (Gilbert, Ariz.), Female Tricks Skier of the Year; Jake Abelson (Holderness, N.H.), Male Tricks Skier of the Year; Lauren Morgan (Tampa, Fla.), Female Jump Skier of the Year; Freddy Krueger (Winter Garden, Fla.), Male Jump Skier of the Year; Brooke Baldwin (Winter Garden, Fla.), Female Overall Skier of the Year; Blaze Grubbs (Rio Linda, Calif.), Male Overall Skier of the Year; Regina Jaquess (Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.), Female Slalom Skier of the Year and Athlete of the Year; Nate Smith (McCordsville, Ind.), Male Slalom Skier of the Year; and U.S. 35+ Water Ski World Championships Team - Erin Kalkbrenner (Maize, Kan.)and Graham Fizer (Mooresville, N.C.), 35+; Scot Ellis (Auburndale, Fla.)and Jeff Surdej (Wilmington, Ill.), 45+; Joy Kelley (Loudon, Tenn.),Hutch Haines (Avon, Conn.),Marc Bedsole (Orlando, Fla.)and Tina Lindsey (Martindale, Texas), 55+; Janie Fausold (Pleasant Grove, Calif.) and Stephen Miller (Marysville, Wash.), 65+; and Jill Smith (New Carlisle, Ind.), Team Manager - Team of the Year.
- National Collegiate Water Ski Association: Alyssa Hinden (St. Louis, Mo.), Female Outstanding Leader; Gage Jarvis (Anchorage, Alaska), Male Outstanding Leader; Kristen Baldwin (Winter Garden, Fla.), Female Athlete of the Year; Will Roberts (Dow, Ill.), Male Athlete of the Year; and Arizona State University (Tempe, Ariz.), Team of the Year.
- National Show Ski Association: Doug Ribley (Medina, Ohio), Honorary National Director; Jeff Henke (Oconomowoc, Wis.), Official of the Year; Carter and Derek Buchman (Cameron, Wis.), Volunteers of the Year; “Trifecta Jumpers” – Craig Planton (Waterford, Wis.), Noah Leach (Aberdeen, S.D.) and Liam Klotzbach (Monona, Wis.), That’s Incredible Award; Brea Imse (Wheeling, Ill.), Female Athlete of the Year; Cody Coffey (Medinah, Ill.), Male Athlete of the Year; Aquanut Water Shows (Twin Lakes, Wis.), Club of the Year; and Cypress Gardens Water Ski Show Team (Winter Haven, Fla.) and Polk County Tourism & Sports Marketing, President’s Award.
- National Water Ski Racing Association: Ty Cheshier (Valencia, Calif.), Most Improved Athlete; Matthew Klee (Harbor City, Calif.), Athlete of the Year; and Levi Frederick (Mesa, Ariz.), President’s Award.
- USA Wakeboard: Vivienne Davidson (Westlake, Texas), Most Improved Female; Ryder Dillon (Noblesville, Ind.), Most Improved Male; Maya Ruegsegger (Maple Grove, Minn.), Female Rookie of the Year; Aidan Sievers (Gary, S.D.), Male Rookie of the Year; Kitt Smith (Orlando, Fla.), Female Rider of the Year; and Hudson Gentry (Hickory, N.C.), Male Rider of the Year.
- USA Adaptive Water Ski & Wake Sports: Katie Mawby (Grand Haven, Mich.), Female Athlete of the Year; and Connor Poggetto (Carmichael, Calif.), Male Athlete of the Year.
The 2022 award winners were selected either by the USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Awards Committee or by the respective sport discipline organization. The American Kneeboard Association and the United States Hydrofoil Association did not present awards.