National record holder Greg Badal on his personal progress and coaching style
We’re all unique in our journey as water skiers. For some, it’s all about the escape from everyday life and the pleasure of doing something athletic with friends and family. While other skiers are driven to the water for the challenge of leaving the lake a better skier than when they arrived. And yet many of us are a combination of both examples. No matter where you’re at on the spectrum, Ski Paradise can satisfy the needs of every skier.
To learn more about what separates Ski Paradise from other ski schools or water-ski destinations, we asked the 2016 Nautique Big Dawg champion, current men’s 5 national record holder, and Ski Paradise guest coach, Greg Badal, to share his insight.
Greg’s first visit to Ski Paradise dates back to 1998. As a passionate skier from Northern California, he had a goal of qualifying for the national championships. He was stuck at 32 off and needed some help getting through the pass. Bad habits are hard to break, but Greg was determined to apply the skills that guest instructor Jason Paredes had him working on throughout his visit. By the end of the week, he was getting really close to running the pass. With Jason’s help, he re-aligned his stance on the ski, reconfigured his gate, and began to edge with more rhythm.
Greg returned home to his private site in Brentwood and continued to work on his technique. And that’s when things really started to click. Thirty-two off quickly became a consistent pass for him, and before he knew it he was knocking down 35 off.
“I was so stoked that I grabbed ten of my friends and took them down to Acapulco a few months later,” says Greg. “They fell in love with the place, too! It’s a really laid-back atmosphere. The conditions are perfect 90 percent of the time, and Gordon and his staff make all of the guests feel like family.”
Greg’s skiing progressed exponentially with every visit to Ski Paradise. and he eventually worked his way into a guest coaching role, which he clearly savors.
“We teach people that have never skied all the way to those who are running 38 and 39 off,” says Greg. “But I tell you what, I really enjoy working with skiers who have recently been introduced to the sport. If you can catch them when they’re brand new, you can teach them so much more because they don’t have any bad habits.”
In Greg’s experience, the majority of guests that come to Ski Paradise have never skied a slalom course before. But come mid-week, they want to learn the course and enjoy the challenge of turning buoys. Then he teaches them the fundamentals of breaking the course down, making sure that their body position is in the right place, that they’re gripping the handle the right way.