Geist’s National Champion

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Water skier Noah Vieke talks goals and dreams on and off the water

By Michelle Williams

Noah Vieke is an Indianapolis native who took the 2010 National Champion title in the Men’s 1 water skiing division. Now 27 years old, he got started in the sport on Geist as a teenager.

“Noah is a bit of an anomaly in that he is a rare Indiana boy in the midst of many other states and nationalities,” said Chet Raley, former World Champion in men’s water skiing and owner of Palm Beach Training Center.

Growing up on Geist, Vieke inherited a love of water skiing from his father, Andy. “Ironically enough, Noah was the last one to be able to get up out of the water. If I remember right, it took him almost a year and a half to get out of the water with one ski,” said Andy. “It was like he was born on the ski once he got up. You could tell just by his body position on the ski that he was going to be good.”

A mere three years after learning to water ski, Vieke was introduced to the slalom course by a family friend. “I fell in love with it, and I just wanted to get better at it,” he said. That is exactly what he did — putting a regional, state and national title under his belt by 2011.

The U.S. is the most competitive country in the water skiing world. “I don’t think there is another country that has a higher expectation of their athletes to be an open level skier,” said Vieke. He believes that this expectation stems from the sport being more abundant in the U.S. in comparison to other countries. “The U.S. had more people compete at the Midwest Regionals in 2010 than the entire country of Australia had at their Nationals — and Australia’s not a small country.”

When Vieke first went to Florida to search for colleges where he could compete on a collegiate ski team, he happened into two free training sets with Raley.

“I ended up really, really enjoying Chet’s coaching, and decided I wanted to move to Florida so that I could continue to be coached by him. On the collegiate level, I didn’t feel the coaches would be able to take me very far in this sport, and Chet is just world renowned. I knew right away I wanted to train with him,” said Vieke.

Vieke earned an associate’s degree from Florida Atlantic University and now works with Raley as the assistant coach at PBTC in Boca Raton. His long term plan is to take over PBTC once Raley retires, and the team has already started grooming Vieke for the responsibility.

“Noah is a blend of moral integrity mixed with a Midwest work ethic,” said Raley.

Vieke aspires to spend the rest of his life coaching.

“Ultimately, we’re responsible for the skier’s performance, and that’s what we want people to know us for. We want to be known as the guys who will work hard to make you better,” he said. Raley and Vieke currently operate a full training schedule, coaching many up-and-coming athletes in the sport.

Although he has taken a break from the competitive world since winning the National championship in 2010, Vieke always intends to compete. He says he will compete in the professional league as long as possible — and then as an amateur when he is no longer eligible as a professional. “The last three years I have really worked on perfecting my craft. I didn’t want to be the guy who won five national titles in my division. I want to be competing with the best guys in the world.” said Vieke. He plans to return to the competition life in 2016, and says at that point he will be skiing against the most elite competitors in the world.

About Noah

Favorite pastime: Studying music (play drums and guitar), surfing (now that I’m in Florida) and going to the gun range.

Favorite local restaurant: Goodfellas. I can’t get enough of the rigatoni ala vodka.

Favorite color: Red

Age: 27

Birthplace: Indianapolis, IN

Favorite vacation location: Australia

Family: Fiancé Vennesa Leopold, also a professional water skier from Australia (to be married July 18th, 2015)

Place of work: Palm Beach Training Center


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