Georgia smashes skiing records
Georgia Groen is the best women’s ‘‘tricker’’ on the planet, as well as the best junior women’s barefoot water skier by some margin.
The 16-year-old former Whitby girl, whose family is now based in Otaki, returned to New Zealand last week a world champion and multiple world-record holder after three months of training and competing at events in the United States.
Having blitzed the junior field at the world championships in Waco, Texas, Georgia backed that up with a gold medal in the open women’s tricks final and silver in the open women’s jump.
She finished third overall in the open women’s class, with Australian Ashleigh Stebbings, 20, setting the benchmark.
Georgia said it felt ‘‘weird’’ to be a world champion at her age.
‘‘It was the best tournament of my life. I’ve never done as well as I did over there. I don’t know if it helped that I’d been training every day leading up to it.’’
For two months leading into the world championships Georgia trained at the World Barefoot Center in Florida, where her cousin Ben Groen is an instructor.
After that she moved on to Texas for the American nationals, where she finished second in the open women’s international section, again behind Stebbings.
Then in the big event she smashed two of her own world records in the junior section.
With a jump of 19 metres, Georgia added nearly four metres to her previous world record of 15.5m and set a tricks score of 4660, her previous record being 4200. ‘‘I was so stoked. I won on my first round scores. Of course I kept going to try and beat my scores, but I couldn’t,’’ she said.
‘‘ I won by over 1000 points. That’s pretty big.’’
In the open women’s class Georgia finished third overall, but had her best performance in the tricks final, beating Stebbings after the Australian had a fall.
‘‘Ashleigh is 20. So I’m a bit younger than her. She is amazing,’’ Georgia said.
‘‘ I want to win the open women’s next time. I’ll have to improve on my slalom, that’s my weak point at the moment.’’
Georgia’s dad, Fred, thinks she should be a good shot at an open women’s title in 2014. ‘‘ She has smashed the junior girls’ records.’’
Georgia’s brother Tyler also competed at the worlds, coming 12th overall in the open men’s section. Ben Groen finished sixth overall.
World’s best: Georgia Groen won five golds on her way to a junior world championship title.
High flying: Georgia Groen, right, competing in the United States. She is on top of the world in tricks and
second in jump.