(Above: Jason had trouble getting his slippers off in the morning)
Over the years Seth Stisher has become a fan favorite here at fifteenoff.com. Most of us have been exposed to him either through his articles in Waterski Magazine or his screen time in popular waterski videos like Edged in Water, Momentum and Evolve.
I guess a part of the history of Seth’s connection with this site starts back around 2006 when Joel first started this site. As I recall, that summer I happened to get my first boat and membership at a ski lake, then took a vacation to Kiawah Island just south of Charleston, SC the week before Memorial Day weekend and learned that Seth was there coaching at Trophy Lakes.
I signed up for some lessons - figured I would do 3 sets a day and get the discounted rate and come home running the course for the first time. Silly rabbit - trix are for kids! At the time, I was completely naive to how difficult course skiing was on the body.
I started a Ski Log on the old 15off site and wrote about my daily experiences skiing with Seth and trying to run the course for the first time. The week of skiing was pretty brutal. The warm water tore up my hands, the afternoon winds made conditions tough and I never made it around all six.
Even so, the experience with Seth was outstanding and I’ve been going back almost every year since then.
Seth has always been gracious - granting interviews, showing us how a pro skis 15off and spending as much time on the dock coaching as he does in the water.
I may have shared this before, but one of the philosophies that I run my company by is based on the book, Raving Fans, by Ken Blanchard. Seth may or may not have ever read this book, but he lives it in his business.
Seth is a true teacher - meaning he is not just presenting the information to his customer; instead, he is fully committed to and brings complete effort to making sure his students understand the concepts that he is trying to convey.
This year I have the privilege of being able to ski with Seth on 3 different occasions - first on the Bellalago Boys Road Trip, then Seth will come to Bellalago for onsite clinic and again later when I head back to Kiawah for summer vacation.
So let’s get started!
The idea for this trip originated back in the winter when we were dreaming up ways to improve on our skiing this year. I had floated out the idea of bringing Seth to our place for a clinic and Dave suggested an early season road trip down to his place. Let’s do both!
Dave has big goals this year for the Big Dawg - he wants to be able to run 39 1/2off. Eric wants to break through 35off and improve his chances to make the finals in the Big Dawg. Jason is in his last year of Mens 2 and wants to lay down an official 32off and possibly 35. I’m still working on my deepwater start.
All of us know that we’ve gone about as far as we can with each other’s help, and we need coaching to get us to our next level. So while last the last two years were big years for tournaments, this year is the year of coaching.
On Tuesday (April 10th) Eric showed up to my house in the evening to drop off his ski equipment and Yakima luggage box for the top of my SUV. It started snowing and the thought of getting in the water was not too exciting.
The next morning two of the Bellalago Boys - Dave and Jason - showed up to my house early to finish packing and head down I-77 before hitting I-26 to Charleston. We were supposed to leave at 7:00 a.m. for the 11 hour trip, but Jason had a difficult time getting his bunny slippers off his feet in the morning and didn’t show up until 7:15, so we were a little behind from the get-go.
Eric had spent the previous 9 days in Jacksonville, Orlando and Ft. Meyers skiing and visiting his parents, so he decided to work Wednesday, then fly down to Charleston on Thursday morning.
The trip down was pretty uneventful. I-26 is pretty much a drag strip, so be prepared to get passed even if you are doing 80mph. There was an accident that brought traffic to a standstill, but with a little iPhone magic we rerouted across the median to a parallel road to save time.
We were a little worried because the cold front that had come through the midwest was pushing further and further into the south. The temperature gauge on my truck didn’t move for nearly 6 hours, hovering around 42* - not warm enough to ski!
Eventually it did warm up and we arrived in Charleston around 6:00. After checking in at the Best Western on Rt. 17, the three of us (myself, Dave and Jason) went downtown to grab a bite to eat around 7:30, and that was a mistake. Every sit-down restaurant was booked and had anywhere from a 20 - 60 minute wait.
We should have just hit a bar and got back quickly, but instead we tried Anson’s and it was pretty lousy. This surprised me because every dining experience I’ve had in Charleston has been top notch. My three favorites are Hymans Seafood, Hank’s Seafood, and Mangnolia’s.
It was lights out around 10:00 (a full 1/2 hour past my bedtime!) and we were excited to start shredding the next day! More to come later.