Interview with Genadi Guralia in WaterskiSites.com
For those who don't know who you are, can you tell a little about where you were born, age, marital status and what you do when you are not waterskiing?
I am 46 years old, in March I will be 47, married and have 2 kids. My son Levani is 23 years old and already married as well. I was born in Georgia and started waterskiing there in 1984 when I was 12 years old. Now I mostly live in Italy and coach in San Gervasio Bresciano since 2007. I was coach of the Greek national team as well from 1999 till 2005 and my first experience as a coach was at 1996 in Greece, Agrinio.
Do you remember your first competition? How old were you, and how did it go?
My first important competition was in Belarus "All-Union", a classification competition among the dauphin boys in Minsk 1985 in tricks till 1.000 points. I won the first place. I was 13 years old, one year after I started waterskiing in Georgia.
Who is your idol when it comes to waterskiing?
I was a big fan of all overall skiers that time, following Patrice Martin, Jaret Llewellyn and Andrea Alessi.
Do you have a favorite waterski site?
The lake in San Gervasio Bresciano, Italy is one of my favorite sites of course. It is really one of the best places in Europe for waterskiing and it is a place where I was preparing for all my senior Worlds and European competitions - and I won 5 gold medals in Worlds and 18 gold medals in European Seniors Waterski Championships .
In which ways has your technique changed through the years?
If we talk about slalom, I was one of the classic style slalom skiers. Then like for many other skiers west coast style became interesting for me and I became a one hand gate slalom skier as well since 2006.
Technique for Jump also changed, I remember when I started jumping it was a time when skiers were aggressive and wary late in the jump cut, now skiers begin the acceleration to the ramp much more progressive and less dangerous.
In tricks also I was doing many classic tricks. Now, because of the many flips I do, there is not much time anymore for other classic tricks.
Are there any persons you would like to mention, who have made you a better waterskier?
I had a very good coach from Belarus, Viktor Melnick, who taught me first of all how to love what I do. So the waterski sport really became one of my favorite sports and I like it. Since I am in Italy, I also learned a lot from Claudio Benatti, who is coaching me there.
Your personal bests?
In slalom for Seniors 1.25/55/10.25, in the Open category 2.5/58/10.75. In tricks 9.050 points and in jump 59.5 m.
Can you take us through a typical day in your life?
Coaching Coaching Coaching Coaching, little Waterskiing, then again Coaching Coaching Coaching
Can you tell us about your worst crash ever? Have you had any serious injuries? In 1992 at the European Championships I made a jump crash were I did almost a front flip and landed on my skis and stretched my knee ligament. I recovered after 6 month of intensive gym training. Some other injuries of my ankle by doing tricks happened in my carrier, but I have recovered from this as well. It's important take your time to recover, so you can start waterskiing strong again. Now I am fine without any strong damages, trying to be in a good physical shape to avoid any serious injuries.
Can you share with us the biggest moment in your waterski career? My first 2 gold medals at the World Senior Championships 2008 in Spain and 3 gold medals at the Europeans in Spain 2008 as well were very big moments for me. I got a trophy for the EAME Tournament Male Skier of the Year 2008 as well, it was a big moment for my waterski career.
Which ambitions do you have for the future?
I would like to trick more than 10.000 points, in slalom run 10.75 at 58 and get 3/55/10.25 in the senior division.
In the future I would like to have my own waterski club and find a way to make a strong team with talented kids who can train free of charge.
What do you do to stay in shape during the winter?
Gym 3 times a week, many times I was able to ski in Malaysia in winter time which is a best.
Can you tell us a little about which equipment you are using?
My slalom ski is Sans Rival SR2 and I love it. All my personal best I did using it. I am sponsored by Sans Rival since 2012 and won 2 times European Gold medals on it in the seniors category. My trick ski is D3 and jump skis as well.
I using Reflex bindings on my slalom ski as a front binding and Animal rear. For trick skis Reflex bindings too.
Which problems do most of the skiers you coach have?
Wrong basics, when skiers start to ski the wrong way it is very hard to change their technique.
It is always easier to coach kids and give them right directions from the beginning, but it is never too late to do a step back. Slow down a speed or ski on a longer rope in slalom to have enough time to improve technique. Then go faster and shorter. Video comparing with other stronger skiers is also a good way to improve. I have a big video archive of the best waterskiers on my phone and very quick I can organize a comparison for my customers if needed and when I have enough time for it. That helps a lot for any level skiers.
Can you give us three good tips for becoming a better waterskier?
You need to like what you do, find a way to be motivated every time before you are going to ski, make a daily plan of what you need to do and follow some of the best skiers you know. Very recommended by me in tricks are Anna Gay, Neilly Ross, Aliaksei Zharnasek. In slalom Nate Smith, Will Asher, Frederick Winter and Brooke Baldwin. And in jump Freddy Kruger and Ryan Dodd.
How and where do you live?
I live in Poti, Georgia in winter time mostly, and in summer time in Italy, San Gervasio Bresciano were I am coaching and waterskiing as well.
Finally, we would like to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions, and wish you all the best for your future waterski career!