Hailey Nuthals ’14 competes in a sport that some consider to be merely a leisurely summertime activity: waterskiing. Her talent can be easily overlooked because the sport is not offered as a co-curricular at Deerfield, but she and her team have been competitively ranked in statewide competitions over the past couple of years.
At age 10, Nuthals learned to water-ski from her father at her grandparents’ house on Big Hills Lake in Wild Rose, Wisconsin. She immediately took to the sport. “I’ve always loved water sports and have been able to swim since before I can remember,” she said.
Nuthals’ love for the thrill of waterskiing soon led her to develop unusual ability in the sport and also led into the realm of serious competition.
“Most people see [waterskiing] as an excuse to be on beaches and in the sun all summer,” said Nuthals, “but we practice during the off-season on sand pits and watch videos of the professionals in between classes. It’s a passion like any other sport; it just involves a different skill set.”
Nuthals’ team has been large enough to enter into Division II and III state competitions in Wisconsin for the last two summers, when they have placed 7th out of 14, and 4th out of 9, respectively. In these team skiing events, the teams put together, choreographed and costumed acts that included pyramids, jumps, footing, slalom, swiveling and even wakeboarding.
Slalom involves turning tightly around widely-spaced buoys,