WINTER HAVEN — Luci Lippelgoos is just 13 but that didn’t stop the local teen from being an important part of the Cypress Gardens Waterski Team that recently took the top spot at the Southern Regional in Sarasota.
Lippelgoos, the youngest of three siblings, is the top ranked water skier in the region and was a swivel skier in Cypress Gardens’ “Gold Rush” act that helped the group earn its accolades.
Luci will be an eighth grader Saint Joseph Catholic this fall, where she has a 3.5 GPA. Standing 5-foot-10, she also plays volleyball, but Heather Lippelgoos — her mother — says this local teen is all about life on the water.
“Everything is based around water — if she’s not waterskiing, she’s in the water,” Heather Lippelgoos said.
What was it like to be part of the Cypress Gardens Waterski Team’s championship performance in Sarasota last month?
It was very exciting. It was (the team’s) first time winning it and we’ve only been competing for about four years. It was nice.
What did you like about the “Gold Rush” routine the team performed?
It was very funny and interactive with the audience.
How did you get started in the sport?
I started water skiing when I was 8 and I just started swivel-skiing two years ago. It’s been in the family for a long time — everybody in my family does it.
Are you competitive with your siblings about water skiing?
Me and my brother (Stefan Lippelgoos) compete. He was ranked No. 1 in the nation as a junior barefoot water skier.
What do you enjoy about the sport?
It’s different than what everyone else does — not many people do it. It’s not like being a ballerina or being a wakeboarder.
What goes into becoming a better skier out on the water?
There’s a lot of falls involved and I try to go out on the water and have fun with it.
What’s your favorite trick that you’ve done?
It’s a called a 720 — you basically spin twice with the rope above your head.
Do you have any goals for the near future?
I really want to compete at Nationals next year.
What’s your dream job?
A marine biologist. I love the water and I love animals.
What’s your favorite marine animal?
What is your favorite place you’ve visited lately?
It’s kind of waterski-related, but we went out to Minnesota for about a week and went to White Bear Lake. The water was cold but the air was warm, which is different than Florida.
What’s your favorite local like to ski on?
My favorite (local) lake is Lake Winterset. The water seems cleaner there.
Have any good shows you’ve watched lately?
I don’t really watch shows, but I just finished “H2O: Just Add Water.” It has to do with the water and it’s cool.
What about movies? Seen anything good at the theater in recent weeks?
“Annabelle Comes Home.” It was scary.
What’s your favorite movie of all-time?
Probably a Disney movie — I like all of them. I really like “Mulan,” “The Little Mermaid” and “The Lion King.”