The top water skiers of the continent competed to qualify for the Lima 2019 Pan American Games in Chile’s capital, but the big surprise of the tournament was the outstanding performance by 16-year-old Patricio Font that earned him a gold medal in the men’s Open Tricks competition.

Names like Adam Pickos, Regina Jaquess and Taylor Garcia from the United States, Felipe and Rodrigo Miranda from Chile, and Dorien Llewellyn from Canada, among others, were just some of the world-class athletes who participated in the Pan American Water Skiing Championship held in Lago Los Morros in Santiago, Chile.

The event truly had it all, with excitement, joy, frustration and great surprises on the podium. The first surprise came in the grand finale of the Tricks competition.

At only 16-years-old, Patricio Font of Mexico garnered applause and praise from the fans when he won the gold medal and clearly surpassed the experienced world champions Felipe Miranda and Adam Pickos.

“I’m happy to have won the Tricks event. First, I won the sub-17 and now, the Open category. I am very happy and now I am going to continue training to improve and get to the Pan American Games in Lima 2019 in the best shape, where I want to win a medal. I dedicate this triumph to all those who support me, my team, my sponsors and all of Mexico,” Font said after his victory.

In Slalom, the Americans were the ones who took the gold medals. On the men’s side, Nate Smith earned first place while Regina Jaquess won the gold for the women.

In one of the most anticipated disciplines by local fans, the Jump competition, two-time world champion Felipe Miranda from Chile vaulted to the top of the podium with an amazing jump of 66.1 meters to win the gold, just as he did in Mexico in 2016. The hometown favorite also placed first in the Overall competition, combining the scores from all three disciplines.

“I now have two Pan American Championships winning the Jump and Overall, which confirms that I am in a good place to face the challenges that next year will bring. In both tests I faced great skiers, so this could be a preview for Lima 2019,” the current overall World Champion told reporters.

In the coming days, the Pan American Skiing Confederation will send the definitive list of all athletes who qualified for the Lima 2019 Pan American Games to the Panam Sports offices. After the performances and level of competition displayed in Santiago, the fight for medals in the Peruvian capital next July is expected to be extremely thrilling.