Jeremy Gaston | Sports Editor
The Pomona Lake Ski Club continued a two-decade-old practice of
water skiing on the first day of the year.
With the air temperature topping out around 27 degrees with a 15
mph breeze, and the water hovering just above freezing, there was
little competition for the lake.
Mark Weber, Topeka, put the boat in the water just after noon on
Saturday, breaking ice on the Pomona State Park No. 2 boat ramp
as he entered the water. After chopping at ice with a shovel, he
tied up to the dock just 50 feet away.
Meanwhile, his son, Derek Weber, Gardner, suited up, donning a full
dry suit, along with rubber boots and gloves – all carefully
duct taped at every opening to prevent the 33-degree water from
entering the suit.
At least, that was the goal.
Derek took a brief minute to psych himself up before jumping over
the side of the boat. He hung on to the boat’s side bar to
barefoot ski, a pair of eighth-inch thick rubber boots helped protect
his feet from the cold.
The runs were short, usually ending when Mark called out with a
warning of ice ahead. Not something you want to hit at 40 knots.
Derek took another run, jumping off the dock and pulling up on a
tow rope. With ice cold water in his face, there was a lot of encouragement
to get on his feet quickly. That lasted about two seconds before
he lost his grip on the icy handles and went back in the water.
His father came around quick with the boat, snatched Derek from
the water and sprayed him down with heated water.
Three more skiers braved the water that day, including another skier,
a wake boarder, and Adam Erickson, 13, Tecumseh, the youngest skier
to enter the water Saturday. Adam took a few runs before skidding
back to the shore.
Surely, he was the only kid in his class to water ski during the
holiday break, at least in Kansas.