Get To Know Ski Paradise Guest Coach Paul Chapin
One thing is for certain about Ski Paradise guest coach Paul Chapin, the guy gets around! As a flight captain for American Airlines, Paul’s had the great luxury of traveling the world for his job, and it’s not often that he leaves his ski at home. “It has offered me the opportunity to ski at locations as diverse as Ottawa, Canada, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, Mexico, Hawaii, Acapulco, and of course, the USA,” he says. Growing up in Minnesota, Paul learned to water ski and snow ski at a young age, and both sports continue to be lifelong passions with national titles won. As president of the USA Water Ski and Wake Sports Foundation, he takes pride in preserving the history of the sport and recognizing its heroes at the annual Hall of Fame ceremonies. Paul’s also excited about planning for the sport’s future with the organization’s new Lake Myrtle Water Sports Complex in Auburndale.
How and when did you get involved in the sport?
My parents, who were among the founders of my local ski club in Minnesota, the Bald Eagle Water Club, taught me how to ski at the age of five. I remember my family being on the dock encouraging me, and how exciting it was to make it up on my first try and to ski all by myself behind the boat! My Mom and Dad, along with their many friends and acquaintances at ski shows and tournaments, were all a fun and energetic group of people and were very encouraging to me and everyone else. I developed a strong liking to all of them and have always felt that way about the people in water skiing. Because of them, I became both a show skier and tournament skier at a very young age. I performed in shows through my late teens, including a stint at Tommy Bartlett in Wisconsin Dells, and am still competing in slalom and tricks.
Have you been a long time competitive snow skier as well?
My snow skiing also began at age five on the local hills in Minnesota. My Dad, who was both a water skier and snow skier, taught my brothers and sister to ski at an early age. It has been a tremendous lifetime sport, just as water skiing has been. Beginning in high school, I started racing, was a ski patroller, and became a PSIA certified ski instructor. After college, I lived and worked in Aspen, Colorado and spent my summers water skiing, which included many professional tournaments. To this day, I compete twice a week in alpine giant slalom racing and was fortunate to have won the 2014 Nastar National Championships.
As captain of a 787 jet for American Airlines, you get to travel the world. How often do you take your ski, and please share one of your favorite destinations?
Being a 787 international captain for American Airlines has been a dream come true. Not only do I have the honor and privilege of flying up to three hundred passengers and crew on the newest and most technical Boeing airliner to destinations around the world, but my job has given me the opportunity to travel to the great cities of the world, large and small. Some of the travels have taken me to New Delhi, Moscow, London, Stockholm, Paris, Munich, Shanghai, Tokyo and Santiago, Chile. All are favorites.
How many years have you been coaching at Ski Paradise and what do you love about the set up in Acapulco?
I’ve been coaching at Ski Paradise since 2009. The water skiing, lake staff, and palapa are all world class. From the moment a guest sees the Coconut Lagoon for the first time, when they see the palm roof of the palapa, to their first set on the calm water lined with beautiful palm trees on the shore is breathtaking! They feel like they are in paradise!
How would you describe your coaching style?
My coaching style is calm, simple, and positive. Water skiing is a lifetime sport enjoyed by people of all ages, fitness levels, and abilities. I emphasize basic positioning and using the body to create good turns and a strong position through the wakes. Whether the student is a beginner or top-notch expert, visualizing their skiing helps to make that “aha” moment when it all comes together and makes sense. Most of all, slalom skiing is fun and is great exercise.
What do you find that most intermediate skiers struggle with the most and how do you help them?
Most intermediate skiers struggle with body position and understanding how to make good turns. When they learn how to be in a strong and comfortable stance, their turns and wake crossings become relatively easier and their confidence level goes up tremendously. Each speed increase and tow line shortening become an attainable goal.
Favorite meal at Ski Paradise?
My favorite meal is anything Mexican along with Gordon’s Caesar Salad. And after skiing poolside, hands down, freshly made guacamole and chips with a margarita!
What would you tell a fellow skier who is considering a vacation to Ski Paradise?
If an active vacation in one of the most beautiful locations on earth with 5-star luxury is your idea of a vacation, Ski Paradise is it. Gordon and Gabriella, along with their friendly and attentive staff, make every guest feel very special. The accommodations in their villa overlooking Acapulco Bay are luxurious, the food is delicious and plentiful, and the water skiing is the best. And most of all, the people you meet all are super friendly and enjoy a shared passion for water skiing.
~ Paul Chapin