Water skier from Lutz, 16, describes jumper mentality: “Closest thing to flying”

Since being able to stand, Connor Pauley, originally from Lutz, has been waterskiing.

“My grandfather had a boat, and he was in [skiing]”Said Pauley.” As soon as I could walk he threw me on skis and we started to go out, and we were cutting him up! “

16-year-old Pauley is no joke on the water. Having already set a state record in slalom, he recently qualified for the Masters Callaway Gardens Tour with a new personal best of 152 feet.

“It’s the toughest tournament [there is]”Said Pauley.” It’s a cut above the Olympics. “

What does it take to be a great ski jumper? Balance, coordination and athleticism help, but the will to take off is paramount.

“It’s the closest thing to flying,” Pauley said. “When you put your skis under you and get that aerial lift, your skies are your wings at that time.”

Approaching a 50 mile-per-hour ramp that will send you past half the length of a football field is not for the faint of heart.

“There is nothing else that compares to this,” continued Pauley. “You put G’s on your body that nothing else gives you. I don’t even like going to amusement parks anymore because that doesn’t matter.”

This is how the show jumping community works: reaching personal bests and pushing the limits.

“Every time we receive a [personal best] you are super excited for the first day. After that you want to start over, ”Pauley said. “It’s almost like an addiction. We just want to go there and see how far we can go. “

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