Archive for September 7th, 2013
Speed, Power, And Glamour As The World Comes To Puerto Colon

Water skiing always makes me think of the opening sequence for The Persuaders, the 1970’saction series starring Roger Moore and Tony Curtis. They were skiing along with nonchalant ease as they waved to each other, they looked like they had time to butter a scone each and make a few wisecracks. Swap Monte Carlo for Tenerife and we had the real thing arrive at Puerto Colon, no gently raised eyebrows and smoothly gelled hair but lots of speedboats like growling beasts and 180 dedicated sports enthusiasts. None of your overpaid pampered stars here, their skis might whiz over the waves at up to 180 km per hour but there feet are firmly on the ground.

A trip down to Puerto Colon a week ahead of the races found few signs of the drama to come, a couple of days before the off and it was a little better but in Los Cristianos there was hardly any awareness of the great event. I met Karen Brooks GB captain (below) and she guided me through the busy but good natured pit area introducing me to skiers, drivers, and observers for the boats. It was clear to see that this was a costly affair to run but they finance themselves with what little sponsorship they can muster.

An invite to the GB team meeting at the Hotel Isabel in Fanabe impressed me even further, the mood reminded me of my days following GB Ice Hockey, very limited outside finance but a great spirit of camaraderie and lots of hard working organizers making it all tick. The friendly rivalry between countries was also apparent, New Zealand flags hung of a few balconies overlooking the swimming pool, the notice board showed that the USA team meeting was in one of the competitors rooms, GB had reserved the large saloon bar – one nil to the Brits. There was a buffet and a few cheeky beers laid on and with the families and supporters the team of 34 was swelled to well over a hundred.

On to the parade on the eve of the competition, the plan was for all the teams to meet up at the pits in their best coordinated outfits and a boat from each country would travel up to Adeje with two open top buses for a presentation with the mayor. The teams all scrubbed up well and posed for group shots, the Spain team was typically casual in miss matched shorts and t-shirts, the USA team were a bit late getting dressed and were still adjusting themselves on their boat as it pulled out. Australia were very smart and the GB team looked good with the ladies looking stunning in their red dresses.

I got to chat to some more of the competitors, the New Zealand gang underlined the dedication being poured into the competition by telling me about their long trek to Tenerife. The team flew in from Auckland to Hong Kong (11.30 hours), then to Zurich (12.50 hrs) and finally in to Tenerife (4.30 hours). That was nothing compared to the three month journey their boat, The Beast (below) had to make in its container. Their trusty steed came via the Panama canal, Germany, France, and possibly even Narnia and Atlantis.

Cocktails were provided at the El Galeon sports centre but the competitors were very limited by the early morning start the next day and the fact that random drug testing is taking place throughout the competition. I will update you with more from behind the scenes and don’t forget your free copy of The Tenerife Weekly each Friday for more on the racing.