Archive for September 15th, 2013
On The Edge Of Our Rocks For Worlds Best Waterskiers

No widescreen TV could compete with such a sporting view, the World Waterski Racing Championships were played out on a panoramic course in front of Puerto Colon marina wall with a crystal clear La Gomera looming large in the distance. Mind you the seating was a bit tough on the bottom, after several hours perched on the rough edge of a large rock I seem to now have three buttocks, if I break wind it’s in stereo.

I was impressed that no one slipped down the gaps between the rocks, my new notepad (paper not electronic) did elude my grasp and slip to a watery end but people of all ages were clambering to get the best vantage points. The racing was fantastic, there must be a collective term for water skiers, maybe a balance of. As the midweek action hotted up I got to meet more skiers, drivers, observers, and the barmy families and friends who had paid a fortune to follow their heroes from far flung homes in Australia, New Zealand, and the USA. They were a great bunch, the harbour wall had evolved into groups, GB being one of the largest and noisiest, some with awnings to protect them and their merchandise, the costs of this sport are in the tens of thousands so they need all the help they can get.

Australia led the charge from the start and by the third day were ready to clinch some of the titles. Jack Harrison won the Junior Boys title, Rachel Stapleton took the Junior Girls and in the seniors Trudi Stout was a stylish champion of the Open Women while double World Champion Wayne Mawer oozed class as he stormed ahead of the field. The racing was brilliant to watch, up to 30 boats in action at a time and passing close enough to appreciate the power of the engines and the control and skill of the skiers. It’s not just a matter of hanging on to the tow rope, the skier has a harness around their lower back to take the strain and steers with the feet and one hand, easier said than done with the water being churned up by all around them. The unseen heroes are the boat driver and the observer who sits facing the skier to relay instructions.


A few boats suffered technical problems and had to pull out but thankfully rider accidents were few. GB were in the wars, Harvey Robinson came adrift and needed an overnight stay in hospital as bruised vertebrae ended his tournament, Marisa Alongi ended up in a leg brace after falling with her knee extended, she was hoping it was just a bone fracture rather than ligament damage but the final verdict will have to wait until she is back in Edinburgh. Even one of the GB supporters picked up a broken leg after a fall at the hotel, I’m assured that no drink was involved.

Saturday arrived with glorious sunshine for the final days racing, we had been threatened with a tickle from the tail of Hurricane Humberto but it veered away. The crowd had grown again, and the boat containers in the pits were taking on an ever more homely feel, some had mini generators, perfect to run a fridge and keep the beer cold. It sent a little shiver through me to see the skiers dipping into wheelie bins full of ice and water, one minute in, one minute out and repeat five times, good for the aching muscles I’m told, maybe it could be a new craze in the clubs of Las Americas?

The Women and Men  F2 titles still needed to be decided. Sarah Teelow fought off her nearest rivals and Ben Gulley made sure the Australian flag dominated with a sixth title. Wayne Mawer was already crowned but he rounded off a superb days racing by winning a thrilling tussle with Todd Haig of the USA. There were still official presentations to be made, just trophies, no money prizes, these are dedicated sportsmen and women. The whole event was a huge success despite patchy advertising, maybe waterski competitions could become a new addition to the Tenerife calendar.