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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.