Llewellyn makes waves at water-ski worlds

TODD SAELHOF, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:18 AM ET

It used to be about putting on a show for grandma and grandpa.

But Dorien Llewellyn is all grown up now and taking his water-ski skills seriously.

Given the 13-year-old's performance yesterday at Predator Bay, the competition may also want to take heed of his burgeoning talent -- especially on the slalom course.

"I wasn't totally surprised by it," Llewellyn said of his thrilling second-best run yesterday in front of friends and family during men's slalom preliminaries at the 2009 World Water Ski Championship.

"I wasn't shocked, but I'm happy just because it's open competition, so all the other people are six, seven and eight years older than me.

"I first put on skis when I was four, and I never took it seriously -- I didn't see water-skiing as a career," Llewellyn continued. "When grandpa and grandma came, I'd put on the skis for them.

"But when I was nine, it became a competition with my cousins, and I started to take it seriously."

The son of Albertan and world water-skiing kingpin Jaret Llewellyn was the talk of Predator Bay yesterday.

While his effort likely won't earn the young Llewellyn a spot in Sunday's slalom final -- the top 12 of 90 skiers qualify -- it's a day nobody can take away from the phenom.

Only South African Travis Wentzel out-performed him, managing to get around one more buoy in the allotted time.

Twenty of the event's 90 competitors were on the water on the first day of the worlds.

"Dorien didn't want to embarrass himself or go away upset -- and he was way away from doing that," said his proud dad, who hails from Innisfail and is among the men's slalom favourites set to make waves Friday when the 30 top-ranked skiers compete.

"For Dorien to do so well under the pressure of a world championship is pretty amazing. And to do a personal best is even more amazing."

Dorien followed it up with a personal best later in the day in tricks, placing seventh.

Great Britian's Jason Seels leads after the first set of tricks prelims with 7,480 points.

"It feels really good because I feel like I skied the best I could," Llewellyn said.


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