The Earl family, consisting of Doug Earl and his talented children Isla, Billy, and Piper, recently represented Queensland at the 61st Australian National Barefoot Water-skiing Championships held in Canungra from May 7 to 13. The family’s remarkable performances garnered significant attention, with each member achieving impressive results across various divisions and disciplines.
Billy Earl, an exceptional young talent in the U10 Boys division, emerged as a formidable competitor, his skills in Slalom and Trick earned him silver medals in both categories.
Isla Earl brought home a bronze medal in the Slalom discipline after stepping up to Sub Junior Girls this tournament. With a commendable 5th position in the Trick category, Isla demonstrated her versatility and ability. Furthermore, her outstanding performance secured her a respectable 4th place in the overall Sub Junior Girls division.
Piper Earl made a significant impact in her respective categories in the Sub Junior Girls division, securing a silver medal in the Slalom discipline and a gold medal in the Trick category. Piper’s accomplishments were further recognised as she was named in the Australian squad, marking a significant milestone in her promising career.
Doug Earl, proud father and competitor in the Senior 1 Men’s division, delivered outstanding performances that earned him gold medals in Trick, Slalom and Overall categories. In an interview with @ The Coalface, Doug shared his thoughts on the family’s outstanding achievements.
“It feels really awesome to ski for our state and wear maroon,” said Doug. “Queensland had the biggest team there, so it made us really proud hearing all the cheering.”
Reflecting on the preparation leading up to the championships, Doug highlighted the kid’s rigorous training routine. While the kids ski most weekends, before Nationals they skied for a week straight. The family would perform multiple sets per day, focusing on a mix of trick and slalom techniques.
When asked about the overall experience at the championships, Doug emphasised the enjoyable yet challenging nature of the competition.
“The competition was really fun, but the weather was not very kind, with one morning being -1.4°C, and ice covering everything. We had to heat our wetsuits up beside the campfire!” said Doug.
Despite the unfavourable conditions, the family persevered and adjusted to the circumstances and the results speak for themselves.
When asked about inspirations, the Earl children all spoke of the role their dad plays as their coach and mentor.
“We all look up to Dad, even though we didn’t get the best water for our final trick round we just had to adapt to the conditions. Dad did an awesome trick run. We love watching him ski and cheering for him.”
Doug’s coaching, performance and medals serve as motivation for his children, who aspire to ski as skillfully as their father. Isla and Piper also found inspiration in Ashleigh Groen, a highly accomplished bare footer from the Mackay area.
Talking about the significance of barefoot skiing to the Earl family, Doug spoke about their shared passion and familial connection to the sport. The family’s involvement in barefoot skiing stems from their deep-rooted history, with Doug and his siblings representing their state and country and traveling across Australia and internationally for the sport.
Doug expressed how their love for barefoot skiing was passed down through generations, with the family continuing to improve and compete. Piper also mentioned the joy of having Uncle Dan, Grandma, and Grandad present at the championships, creating a memorable experience for the entire family.
Looking ahead, the Earl family has ambitious goals and aspirations in the sport of barefoot skiing starting with participating in the upcoming Nationals in Perth and achieving new personal bests. Additionally, Piper’s inclusion in the Australian squad has fuelled her aspiration to secure a spot in the Australian Junior team, aiming to represent her country at the 2024 Worlds. The family is committed to continuous training and improvement as they work towards their future objectives.
When asked for advice to young athletes aspiring to excel in barefoot skiing, Doug emphasised the importance of learning to ski first and then venturing into barefooting.
“A boom bar and Seahorse are great for training and learning. Get as much time as you can on the water and practise, practise, practise. The stacks can really hurt but you’ve just got to keep trying.”
Billy’s favourite saying is, “If the water is rough, you’ve just got to get rough with it.”
As these talented individuals continue to make their mark in the sport, the community eagerly awaits their future accomplishments. With their extraordinary talent and relentless pursuit of excellence, the Earl family has left an indelible imprint on the Australian Barefoot Water-skiing Championships, solidifying their place among the sport’s rising stars.