Montreal teen making a splash for Canada in waterskiing

“It's like walking on water,” says 16-year-old Montrealer whose a water skiing champion. Joining CityNews from Chile where she’s competing in the World Championships from Jan. 5th to 8th. Pamela Pagano reports.

She’s talented and passionate for a sport that we might not think of right now, due to cold Canadian winters. But 16-year-old Montrealer, Hannah Stopnicki is making waves – literally.

The two-time Pan American champion is in Chile where she’s competing in the World Championships.

Hannah Stopnicki, two-time Pan American waterskiing champion. (Photo Credit: Hannah Stopnicki)

“I’m training leading up to the worlds. You can literally see people training here right now,” said Stopnicki, an athlete with Water Ski Canada, while talking to CityNews.

Stopnicki has always been someone to go with the flow. At just two-years-old she was already waterskiing on a lake in Quebec’s Laurentians – like her older siblings – thanks to the help of her father.

Hannah Stopnicki, water skiing at a young age. (Photo Credit: Hannah Stopnicki)

“Dancing on the water, it’s like not something anybody else really gets to experience unless you do water sports like me.”

At the level she’s now at – four-time national champion – training continues year-round.

But how is that possible during Canada’s winter months?

“I stay in Florida for a good portion of the year where I train at Matt Rini’s Waterski School with Matt Rini … and yeah, so spending time down south is the way to go,” she explained.

Slalom, Tricks & Jumps are the three different water-skiing events. Stopnicki, a trick specialist.

But making a splash at the Pan American champions which were also in Chile, at the end of 2022, was tough due to injury.

Hannah Stopnicki, two-time Pan American waterskiing champion. (Photo Credit: Hannah Stopnicki)

“Leading up to the Pan Am’s, I was injured. Leading up to Pan Am’s I had a back injury. I had jammed the SI joint on my back.”

After taking three weeks to heal, she then got back on her skis and excelled.

“In the finals, I won the tournament. So I can now call myself a two-time Pan Am champion.”

Holding the provincial record for trick skiing in three different age categories, Stopnicki is proud of how far she’s come in the sport where the sport has taken her.

“Right now I’m in Chile, but I’ve skied all over Europe, States, and Canada, and I’ve met all kinds of amazing people from all over the world, which has been really cool,” she explained.

You can catch Stopnicki and the rest of the Water Ski Canada team catch a wave at the World Championships, broadcast on the Water Ski Broadcasting Company website from Jan 5 to 8th.

“I’ll be training here until then with my teammates and also competitors, but that’s the nice thing about water skiing, competitors can be best friends.”

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