Boating writer and competitive water-skier takes gold at national barefoot championships

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Zenon Bilas, a boating writer and professional barefoot water-ski champion, has won a gold medal at the 2018 USA Barefoot water Ski National Championships. Bilas is 56.

The longtime medalist beat competitors half his age in the Open Men's Slalom division, a category where all ages compete against each other. The three-day event in Polk City, Fla., event drew over 60 competitors from around the world. Here is a video of his winning run.

Bilas won his first of eight national championship gold medals at the age of 20. In 1985, he set the highest-ranking score in the world for the slalom event in barefoot water skiing.

In 2017, he returned to national competition after an 18-year hiatus. Last year, he won silver in the Men's A Trick category. Bilas has also been a long-time boating journalist, with articles and media presentations on wake sports, the boating lifestyle and fitness in a range of media outlets, including television.

Bilas trains year-round in West Palm Beach, Florida. He also coaches athletes and presents lectures, seminars and clinics worldwide.

"Back in the 80s, the vigor of youth was on my side, but I didn't have the mental edge I have today," said Bilas in a statement. "I'm much more disciplined now and have learned to draw upon my decades of experience. What I achieved at the 2018 Nationals I couldn't have done those many years ago." 

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