It’s been four years since John Eagal III and Dean O’Conner created a new lake on Eagal’s family property along the western bank of the San Joaquin River. That followed an even lengthier process of getting permits from county, state and federal planning and environmental agencies.
On Saturday, Aug. 13, the former water ski professional’s goal comes to life when Eagal Lakes Resort hosts the championship rounds of this summer’s International Novice Tournament, an amateur tour for water ski and wake board competitors.
Karen Eagal, John’s wife and business partner, said their project has gradually reached fruition over the past four years with the opening of the lakes and nature trails as a private resort. It includes a 2,100-foot, oval lake for water skiing and wake boarding, another lake for bass fishing and a beach along the San Joaquin River with a nearby patio and beach volleyball court. More features, including an events center overlooking the lake, are under construction.
Karen Eagal said the INT organizers saw the potential of the new resort and made it the destination for the third and fourth rounds of the INT’s Northern California series, which began at Villa Lagos ski and wake board lakes, a pair of similar manmade lakes just south of Red Bluff, back in June. That was the site of the first and second rounds, and this weekend’s competition will decide the series champions.
The weekend will include water ski competition from 8 to 10 a.m. both days, and wake board competition from noon to 4 p.m. People compete in men’s, women’s and junior classes and a range of skill levels.
Results from all four rounds will determine the Northern California champions. Competitors who have finished three of the four rounds will qualify for the INT Western Regionals, to be held at Villa Lagos on Sept. 16, 17 and 18.
Competitors on skis or wake boards earn points based on judges’ evaluations of the moves they can perform on the water. The number of different tricks, accuracy of execution and speed will factor into final scores.
Saturday’s events will also include demonstrations from pro water skiers and wake boarders.
Professional wake boarder Justin Fisher will be part of the demonstration team on Saturday afternoon after the competition. It will include a “rail jam” on the lake’s two wakeboard rails, named “Widow Maker” and “Dragon’s Tail.”
“You’re going to see some great wake boarding. Anyone who comes out will have a great time,” he said.
Eagal Lakes event coordinator Ann Langley said that people have already signed up for the event, but those who arrive early can still register. Sign-ups for water ski events are at 7 a.m., and wake board competitors must register before 10 a.m.
“Anyone from Tracy can come in and sign up for this tournament, if they know how to do wake boarding,” Langley said, adding that while some will show off advanced skills, the tournament is designed for all levels.
“The more people participating, the more fun it will be. We’d like to have people come out and watch, because it’s something different.” At a glance WHAT: INT Nor Cal Tournament
WHEN: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 13 and 14
WHERE: Eagal Lakes Resort, 12 W. Lorenzen Road
DETAILS: Competition will be the third and fourth rounds of the INT Northern California series
COST: Free for spectators; competition registration is $35, $25 for children age 13 and younger
INFO: 640-4252, www.intleague.com/northerncalifornia or www.eagallakes.com