Santa Rosa Beach father and son make waves in Water Ski

Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 9:05 PM CDT
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SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - In a little neighborhood in Santa Rosa Beach, there are some private lakes where you can learn how to water ski. But it’s more than that, it’s also a place that trains some of the best water skiers in the world.

Father and son duo, Cory and Adam Pickos, run Pickos Water Ski School back in that little neighborhood. At about 4 p.m. Adam was working with his last student of the day, an Australian water skier looking to perfect his craft. In the lake across the road, a young girl from South America was learning the basics.

“We do everything from first-time skiers to world champions,” said Adam.

Pickos Water Ski School was started 30 years ago by Adam’s dad Cory. He decided to buy the two lakes that were made perfect for water skiing.

“They are long and skinny and they have buoys everywhere specifically designed for trick, slalom and jump course.”

A perfect spot for those looking to perfect their craft. With athletes all across the world choosing this spot.

“Day by day you see a lot of me and my dad’s faces as well as some really friendly skiers who have grown up and spent their whole lives here with us,” said Adam.

But these water skiers aren’t just skiing there for the lakes, they are really there to learn from Cory and Adam.

Adam is one of the best to put on water skis. He has achieved multiple world championships. He most recently won gold in the trick ski discipline at the World Games in Birmingham, Alabama in July. The latest accolades from a guy who grew up at a ski school.

“I would go to school, run home, ski as much as possible and maybe get some other sports and playing with friends in but skiing was the main,” said Adam.

The 30-year-old racking up the wins, spending all those years practicing on the lakes with his dad.

“He has done it all and I am kind of following in his footsteps so when I was really little it was you want to be like dad,” said Adam.

However, being like dad has been no easy task. Cory is also a multi-time world champion, 10-time U.S. Open Champion, 10-time Master’s Champion and a 24-time world record holder, just to name a few.

“He really was like in the frontier. He invented tricks, he pushed the sport to new levels time and time again. So people come from all over the world to get his expertise as well as mine. I have skied and built my resume as well.”

“It is really satisfying and it is fun doing something you have a passion for,” said Cory. “It’s less like work and a lot of gratification and a lot of fun.”

Now, these champions are using their skills to teach others and also using their home for world championships.

“We get the coolest people here. We held the world championships last year, we had 26 countries show up,” said Adam.

And it’s even better doing what you love when it’s with those you love.

”It’s great, it’s a great time. I spend so much time with my son. He runs a lake I run a lake. He’s been in water skiing a long time and I also have, so it’s a great family business,” said Cory.

“It’s fantastic and I hope we have many many more years of this going,” said Adam.

A life on the water, and for them, that’s impossible to beat.

If you’d like to take classes at Pickos Water Ski School click here.

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