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On the Coast Magazine

Carving Out Her Dream

11/04/2013 10:34AM ● Published by Nancy Babin

When World Champion Water Skier Regina Jaquess was 13-years-old, her parents made a brave
sacrifice. They allowed her to move in with another family hundreds of miles from their Georgia
home to attend Cory Pickos Water Ski and Wakeboard School in Santa Rosa Beach. As most
parents would be, they were reluctant to let their young daughter make a grown-up decision
about where to live. However, Regina presented such an argument that they could not refuse.

Regina’s knack for trying to convince her parents that she could do things above her age level
started early. She knew at the tender age of two that she wanted to ski but her parents, wanting to
protect her, were not ready. While most two-year-olds are still learning to put full sentences
together, Regina used her words to ask family friends to let her ski. They obliged and a passion
was lit. “I didn’t even know how to swim but I had a life vest and off I went,” she giggles. She
was used to watching her older sister Renee water ski. They practically lived on the water. “I had
been in the boat since the time I was born, I think,” Regina jokes. The family spent every
weekend skiing on the lake. Once her parents saw their fearless toddler gliding on the water, they
were in. “It all built up from there.” Regina’s parents Jim and Karen Jaquess skied and taught the
girls everything they knew. Her dad had achieved success as a nationally-ranked water skier. So,
it seemed only natural for her to pursue competitive skiing.

Nine years later Regina used the same skills that got her on skis at two to attempt to persuade her
parents to let her move to Florida. Already competing globally on the Junior U.S.A. team, Regina
knew she needed more guidance to get to the next level. She had hopes of being the best in the
world so she wanted the right trainer. While training at a ski school in Orlando, she had met
World Champion Water Skier Cory Pickos. She knew he was the coach she needed so she
planned to train at his school in Santa Rosa Beach and move in with his family. She approached
her parents with her proposal. “They weren’t really thrilled about it. They were kind of shocked
that their 11-year-old was ready, willing, and able to be out on her own so soon,” Regina says.
Two years later, her family relented and let her go. Regina was excited but her family was
struggling. “My mom cried and cried and cried.”

Her parents set strict guidelines that Regina had to follow if she wanted to train in Florida. She
was to attend public school rather than online classes and get involved in the community.
Consequently, she enrolled in Freeport High School. Then she joined the basketball team,
became the prom queen, worked at a local restaurant, and water skied daily at Cory’s school.
Her parents let her go but they never stopped being there for her. “My parents would drive eight
hours to watch me play basketball. They were still just so involved.”

With the guidance of her parents, she went on a full-ride water ski scholarship to the University
of Louisiana at Monroe to study pharmacy. Later, she opened Emerald Coast Compounding
Pharmacy in Santa Rosa Beach customizing medication for patients. Explaining the uniqueness
of her pharmacy, Regina says, “We can get the right medicine with the right strength with the
fewest side effects to the correct site.”

Even with a blooming pharmacy career, Regina still skis. Thanks to her training with Cory, she
met and continues to meet her water skiing goals. She competes as an overall water skier in
tricks, jump, and slalom - her favorite. In 2005, she competed with the U.S. Open team and won
the overall world title. In fact, her growing accomplishments are numerous. Enter her name into
an internet search engine and world records pop up! For two years she has been undefeated in all
slalom events she has competed in. Additionally, she recently beat out water skiers from all over
to win a spot (out of six) on Team USA with Adam Pickos, Coach Cory’s son. They will
represent the United States competing against other nations to be the best water skiing team in
the world. This is like the Olympics of water skiing since the actual Olympics do not offer a
water skiing event. Of course, why wouldn’t she make it? It is as if she was born to ski. When
Regina takes to the water, her love for the sport is communicated through each body movement.
“You’re like walking on water,” she says with adoration.

Because of her journey, Regina is accustomed to living a different kind of life. The 29-year-old
Regina is very grateful that her parents let the 13-year-old Regina map out her destiny. She trusts
herself and her out-of-the-box thinking. She does not approach things assuming they cannot be
accomplished. “I live in a different reality,” she explains. She is always looking for more and
better. “I don’t think it ever would have been that if I hadn’t been able to go and attack my
dream.”
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november/december 2013 skiing regina jaquess
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