Barefoot and talented team
They operate best when in barefeet, skimming water off the back of a boat.
So it’s only fitting that South Waikato’s William Leigh and Kathy Duxfield were a part of the 2014 New Zealand Barefoot Waterski team that returned from the world championships with the biggest medal haul the country has ever won.
The extreme sport’s biennial competition was held in Australia, where New Zealand brought home two overall firsts, two overall seconds and a handful of top placings.
Among the Kiwi talent was Tirau’s young skier William Leigh.
Leigh fought hard to make it in to the semifinals for tricks and jump, and took out an impressive 11th overall.
For the young contender, the experience of meeting and skiing against top barefoot skiers from around the world was only surpassed by the bronze medal he won in the team event.
The other South Waikato skier representing New Zealand in the week-long event was Piarere Ski Club member Kathy Duxfield.
Duxfield competed in the Senior Women division against competitors up to 15 years her junior.
This was Duxfield’s fourth world championship, but her debut skiing as one of the world’s top five contenders.
consistently throughout the competition to contribute strongly to the silver medals brought home by the New Zealand Senior team, edging out the competitive Americans in doing so.
She decided to compete in jump this year, to give her team that extra edge. ‘‘I actually had an American competitor who came up to me and said, ‘you know don’t you, that your jump score was the difference between bronze and silver for your team’.’’ She said the support crew can take just as much credit for the awards.
HAPPY SKIING: James Leen, left, skis alongside South Waikato’s Kathy Duxfield and William Leigh for New Zealand.