Several geezerhood past the war, an aquaplane race was run on an yearly argument from the land at Avalon to Hermosa Beach, California. It was a contest and a testing of endurance for some man and liner and on average smaller number than 20% of the enclosed space of all time managed to conclusion. The end born out due to yacht snags or because the aquamarine planing machine couldn't clench on any long. The ultimate competition prior to the war, on June 20 1941, was won by Bob Brown, towed by Don Berry, in a instance of 1 hr 51 min.

In 1947, the Long Beach Boat and Ski Club was settled and most directly took over patronage of the race, renaming it the "Grand National Water Ski Race". In 1949 the clash became a stout journey run, starting at Hermosa Beach pier, the skiers raced to the isthmus, circled a turn-boat and returned non-stop to the pier. A jock was ineligible if at any instance they colorful the watercraft or someone in the boat. Ed Stanley of Orange was the smash of this oldest orbiculate journey contest with a instance of I hr 41 min.

Of course, this happening is well proverbial these life as Catalina, and rightful for the record, Chuck Steams premier won the occasion at the age of 16 and he went on to win it a lurching cardinal present time terminated the next few decades.


Now it was incident for the Aussies to start a particle of precedent in ski sport and in the 1950's, the Bridge-to-Bridge Water Ski Race was launched. The 68-mile course on the NSW Hawkesbury River is now one of the record prestigious races in the world.


In 1966, Britain ready-made a shuffle to get up to our necks in the recreation of liquid ski sport and a seminar took slot at the Mandeville Hotel in London, where on earth 30 clubs were delineate and a Racing sub-committee of the BWSF was definite. The mythical Chuck Steams of California happened to be in London at the circumstance and he provided a repeat of the Californian athletics rulebook, which defined the basis for British athletics rules.

Alan Taylor recalls; "we knew that racing had interpreted fix in Belgium iii or iv age earlier, on the Scheldt at a point named Rupelmonde. The consequent year, a few nation from Whitstable Club went to Belgium and had a gawk at this race and we invited a Belgian unit to struggle in the premiere representative cross-channel race".

On May, 29 1967, the Whitstable and Varne Club binary compound ski clubs union the prototypical cross-channel hose ski race and no less than 56 teams, plus one from Belgium, took chunk in the 42 stat mi run from Greatstone, Kent, to a fisher marker-boat, anchored iii miles off Cap Griz Nez and final.

Boats were allowed to hold up to 3 or four general public to ski in race. The skis were frequent pennon ski race ski for speeds of about 30 mph, as asymptomatic as pairs, and the ski vein had to be betwixt 75 ft and 100 ft in fundamental quantity. Teams were as well allowed to passage next to much than one skier per squad.

News before long leaked that athlete 47 registered, as Mr. A.A.Johnson was non remaining than the Earl of Snowdon, generous contributor of the BWSF, attempting to livelihood his personality from the Press. The outcome was brilliant information amount of the circumstance.

More than 20 of the 56 entrants substandard to finish the contest due to a gale, which whipped up 6 ft in flood breakers. The winners were members of the Chasewater Power Boat Club, and they realised the instruction in 3 hr 15 min. The Snowdon squad came in quaternary at 4 hr 10 min and other athlete in the contest was a 14-year-old Bill Rixon. Taking 3rd spot overall, this was simply the start for mortal who was to become one of the legends in British binary compound ski racing.

In 1968 the BWSF Racing Committee union the front British Championship series, run at Chasewater, Greatsone, Hunstanton, Hartlepool, Penarth and the River Medway. John Boardman of the Varne stick became the basic array champion.

In 1969, the British Championship phase was enhanced to 8 races and was won by Brendan Bowles of Penarth staff. It was in this year that European Water Ski Racing Championships were complete and races were held in Holland, Belgium and Britain. Bill Rixon became the preliminary European Water Ski Racing Champion.


Rixon began making his mark on European athletics in the 70s next to no smaller number than six overall European Championship gilded medals amongst the many British too. Bill said, "it's attemptable nearby are even another two European titles not accounted for". In 1974/5 he fagged a lot of incident in Italy athletics for Mostes, and he square a few disapproved visits to South Africa and likewise hit the athletics scene in California.

Other defamation such as as David Hutchinson, Guy Gooding, David Martin, Robin Mainwaring, Cliff Featherstone, Alan Hargreaves, Tony Cox, Gary Brooks and Colin Harris were dotted end-to-end the 70s once British F1 ski racing was as ironlike as ever.

Two some other calumny were brothers Steven and Andy Coe. Steven won the British Championships in 1978 and 1979 and Andy followed suit in 1980 next to Tom Lumley observant for all those cardinal term wins. Britain's top women enclosed Liz Hobbs, Sue de Donker and Kim Gooding.

Liz had started skiing once she was 9, and by 15, she was had skied in her initial contest on the Medway in 1975. The ensuing year, she went on to win every race she entered & won the early of 7 British titles. In the same year, she poor the women's British and European tempo library at the rear a Cigarette boat called, "I close to it too".

During the 70's, a few British skiers, as well as the Coes, had visited Australia and unconcealed a new way of skiing called, 'wrapping'. Terry Bennett of Sydney was the moniker losing wrapping and he disclosed the technique morally by accident, once trying to jammy the deformation on his back, after incapacitated an catastrophe. So on near Fred Williams race skis, and a magnificence of Aussie experience, these British skiers introduced us to the way we all now ski - draped.

Along beside Ray Berriman and Alan Taylor, others specified as Arthur Dawe, Peter Felix, Ted Rawlings, Wally Neale and John Hoiles were primordial organizers of British sport. John Hoiles in reality went on to be European and World President of the IWSF, and contributed a grave matter to the athletics.

A exit tine in global h2o ski athletics came on September 9, 1979, once the archetypical world athletics championships sponsored by Sperry Univac were held, beside races at Whitstable, Allhallows and Welsh Harp. Britain's Ray Berriman chaired the organising administrative unit.

The occurrence was the eldest to bring forward mutually representative top teams from around the world, and although Australia's Wayne Ritchie and Bronwyn Wing snapped up the golds, Britain's Kim Gooding took 2nd in the women's, Bill Rixon 2nd in the men's and Steven Coe 3rd. The British unit clearly deep-seated Britain as a require to be reckoned near on the world wet ski racing stage.


As Rixon neared the end of his unexampled sport career, it was incident for a few new hatchet job to ascend onto the dais and savour the limelight. Liz Hobbs and Steve Moore were the two big calumny in the first 80's and some went onto change state planetary champions and to be awarded the MBE. In information Liz won the term of world best in 1981 and 1984, and she won the European title name at smallest possible cardinal modern world.

But life in the 80s wasn't so dessert for Liz, in spite of her tall success, because at Penarth in 1984, she inhumane and bust her external body part. She as well stone-broke her os in 3 places, six ribs, one of which punctured a respiratory organ. On top of that, Liz's suspicion stopped.

Amazingly, Liz was subsidise on a ski the stalking yr and rearmost on her leading succession in 1986. Later in the 80s she was appointive for the sports personality of the year bequeath and she won the sports writers of the year grant. After rock climbing onto the open7 raised area next to the support of a publiciser a few old age earlier, Liz went on to host her own TV sequence beside Yorkshire Television named "Hobbs Choice", and since then, has become one of the most publicly celebrated waterskiers in the world.

Steve Moore began sport in 1980. He was the guy that fell, but got up, then barbarous over again but always got up. Eventually he stopped toppling and was an astounding appliance on the liquid. By 1983 he had attempted a dash story at Windermere astern Alf Bullen's F1 catamaran, but inhumane at 115mph.

Moore won no less than v European titles, five British titles and the 1988 international championships in Sydney, Australia. He likewise won the World Cup in 1986. This consisted of the Catalina, Giro del Lario and Botany Bay Classic in Australia. He won all 3 and in the aforementioned year, and became the archetypal British jock to win Catalina unqualified.

Snapping at Moore's heels in the belatedly 80s was a newborn lad from London who skied in his first-year competition in 1977. His dub was Darren Kirkland and at the sentimental age of 18, Kirkland front described Britain at the global championships in Spain, in 1985 and is almost to come in his 8th global championship event in 2001.

With the Coes, Rixon, Cliff Featherstone, Paul Llewellyn, Gary Brooks, Tony Cox and others active for triumph through the decade, the 80s vie host to some dumfounding races crossed Britain. Nicky Carpenter and Lisa Coupland were likewise elated name calling in the 80s.


As the well-situated 80s washed-out away, the scheme diminution saw numbers in athletics bead. In Europe, Australia and the USA, a corresponding model occurred, but this didn't forbid the athletics from seemly even more than aggressive in position of the commitment specified to win several of the limelight.

Kirkland went on to win his party measure of it and has virtually dominated British sport since the 90s. Showing the strength he's noted for, Kirkland had racked up ten general British titles, v European titles and became a well-respected jock in the global. On top of that, Kirkland won Catalina in 1994, the exhausting Diamond competition in Belgium, an enviable six modern times and Italy's Giro del Lario, double.

But the precious stone in the circlet has eluded him for the ending 16 eld. The worldwide title has been so nearby and yet so far, from the man who came so nestled to champion it on more than than one experience. In 1995, Italy's Stefano Gregorio took the academic degree in Belgium, only just as Kirkland design he had the header clothed up. In 1997 he took 3rd in Australia and in 1999 he took 2nd in Spain. This period he will try quondam again, to win the one act he desires so some.

In January 1997, Kirkland was awarded the BWSF General Lascelles Trophy in classification of his enormous achievements in the athletics of hose down athletics. And at the 1999 world championships, metallic medalist Stephen Robertson of Australia remunerated national acclamation to Kirkland after unloading his symbol.

The first 90s saw Rachel Casson put on an tremendous production at the 1991 international championships in Darwin, Australia. So contiguous to wining one of the rounds, Rachel brutal at over 100mph and suffered fearsome injuries. Determined to come through on the world stage, Rachel became Britain's top women's skier, but was unyielding by the Darwin incapability over and done with the eld. Gilly Clements was as well a authoritative competitor in the 80s and 90s, representing Britain on many business.


Over the years Britain has been highly muscular in Europe, successful numerous titles in all categories, together with the much-coveted unit cup at tiniest four present. Fabulous performances by many but notoriously in the women's collection by Liz Hobbs, Nicky Carpenter, Lisa Coupland, Rachel Casson, Gilli Clements. More just this minute Kim Lumley has graven her signature on the British title fight cup iii modern world before. Paula Newland, originally from Penarth club, has also been up nearby and locked a 6th in the 1999 worldwide championships in Spain.

Darren Kirkland inactive dominates the men's collection in Britain but the likes Karl Brooks and Danny Evans are regularly terminative in on the 34 yr old. How interminable will he carry his blemish at the top of British racing? - lone instance will detail.

On the semiofficial side of things, Britain's Ray Berriman, who was instrumental in the immensely prime planetary championships in Britain support in 1979, is Chief Judge at the 2001 worldwide championships in Las Vegas this time period.

It's been insurmountable to reference all those who have compete a constituent in Britain's yore of river ski racing here. There are so masses name calling unmentioned. But this article has anxiously specified you a great level seascape of wet ski sport and it's prehistoric.

All in all, Britain continues to tragedy a most important duty in the planetary ski sport. It will beyond question last to do so done the forthcoming years.

Written in 2001 by Robbie Llewellyn

With acknowledgement to: Aubrey Sheena, Alan Taylor, Darren Kirkland, Steve Moore (MBE), Mike Waterman, Martin Brooks, Tom Lumley, Liz Hobbs (MBE) and the Guinness Book of Waterskiing.



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