Amara Bruns jetting to international waterskiing prominence

Karl’s TV & Appliance Athlete of the Week
Karl's TV & Appliance Athlete of the Week
Published: Jul. 17, 2023 at 10:12 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Since she’s been old enough to swim, Amara Bruns has been in the water non-stop. That’s been easy to do with her family’s involvement at Catfish Bay in Sioux Falls. And growing up, it’s been a friendly competition with her older brother James that’s made her fall in love with water skiiing: barefoot in particular.

“When he was eight, he made a long line deepwater at age eight. So I wanted to beat him, and I wanted to do it at age seven. So I pushed my dad that whole summer, and I made it at age seven,” Amara said.

Fast forward to 2018, and a group of waterski competitors from Australia making a pit stop in Sioux Falls to meet the Bruns, letting Amara know the possibilities of competing internationally.

“They met Amara, and said, ‘Geez, if you can do some of this stuff, you would be able to compete in the world championships in Australia in 2020.’ Well that lit up her eyes, they gave her a poster and she put it up in her room. She kept bugging me about it, we had never competed,” Amara’s father Jim said.

Amara started entering barefoot waterski competitions, advancing through regionals and nationals here in the United States and eventually qualifying for the 2020 International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation Junior Barefoot Championships in Australia.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic ended up cancelling that opportunity, Amara kept at it and made it back to the championships “Down Under” this year.

“It was so amazing just to get to meet other people that actually did this sport across the world, and to get to know that there were people that did that. But it was just a great environment,” Amara said.

Bruns competed with the US national team, and lit up the standings. She’d win the tricks event and finish second in both the slalom and jump competitions, finishing first in the overall standings to become the Junior Girls world champion.

“It’s nerve wracking, but just say a little prayer before you go out and you’ll be fine,” Amara said.

For her father Jim, seeing both Amara and James competing has been a dream come true, taking his love for the water and surpassing his own waterski abilities.

“They went from being a student, to now they’re literally a teacher. They are better than me, and that is crazy cool,” Jim said.

Amara has her sights set on next year’s world championships, having to get through both regionals and nationals again first. She’s been getting help with training from her brother as well...

“I love skiing with him. I love seeing how much he can do, how much I can do. We’re about at the same level. He’s pushing me to be able to do back-to-fronts and front-to-backs and stuff like that, because he’s starting to be able to do them,” Amara said.

...and with the folks out at Catfish Bay.

“You get to swim all day, you get to ski all day. You get to do whatever you want basically. Hang out with people, everyone you know. Everyone is friendly, everyone loves being out here. If there’s a bad day, it makes it good just by coming out here,” Amara said.

Setting her sights again on becoming world champion.