The Biggest Water Ski Tournament in the World

It’s the 60th year of the Moomba Parade…a festival for the people that began in 1955. This only resonates with Victorians who have Monday off because it’s a Labour day holiday. For the rest of us in the world wide water skiing community, Monday is even more treasured…it’s Moomba Monday.

200,000 people line the bank to watch the best water skiers in the world battle it out for the Moomba crown. What makes it even more exciting is the Yarra. That dirty, salt water, possibly parasite ridden river that runs through the heart of Melbourne. Any local will tell you you’re crazy for swimming in it. Fellow skiers will tell you you’re mad if you’re expecting a good run at on The Yarra. More elite skiers have fallen victim to The Yarra than I’ve had hot dinners.

But all this just adds to the excitement of the Moomba Masters. It’s the one time we get to see the worlds best skiers battle it out in conditions they aren’t used to while they have the cheers and jeers of hundreds of thousands of fixated onlookers to contend with.

The day is nie. Hold onto your hats folks cause Moomba Monday is coming and anything can happen.

2013 Junior Moomba Masters Day 2

Joshua Briant and Erika Lang are Junior Moomba Champions

It was the two reining junior world overall champions who dominated Junior Moomba from start to finish. The American Erika Lang took out every event she skied in today winning girls trick and jump quite comfortably. The local hero Joshua Briant took out boys tricks easily and won the gold in boys jump after some tough competition from Taylor Garcia.

Joshua Briant getting hold of a 55.3m jump unfortunately for him it was a fast time but nevertheless still took out boys jump

Joshua Briant getting hold of a 55.3m jump unfortunately for him it was a fast time but nevertheless still took out boys jump

Lang tricked 8990 again in the 2nd round to take out the event by more than 7000 points combined. While the battle for the next two places were a lot closer with Kara Macintyre tricking 5050 which put her in 3rd place and Bianca Mulach scoring 5240 which gave her the silver medal.

It was much the same in the boys tricks with junior trick world champion Briant winning by over 6000 points combined tricking 9950 in the 2nd round. Aussie Tyce Zendler stood up his hand run to grab 2nd place (5230) while Taylor Garcia couldn’t match his first round score tricking 4380 giving him the bronze medal.

The favourite from the United States, Dane Mechler, lead from start to finish needing 1@11.25m in the 2nd round to take the win from South African Eamon Van Der Merwe who scored 2@11.25m again. Winning his first medal at a Junior Moomba was Craig Jeude who got the equal highest score in the 2nd round (2@11.25m) to get on the podium.

South African Eamon Van Der Merwe consistent skiing running 2@11.25m both rounds

South African Eamon Van Der Merwe consistent skiing running 2@11.25m both rounds

With 4 rounds of jump being run today it was always going to be tough to get through everyone in the time allocated. Congratuations to the rowers who didn’t damage the jump ramp overnight (obviously went to Specsavers). Due to the time restraints for the 2nd round of jump instead of dropping down the city end in between jumps they were spinning. This made conditions a little bit rollie but luckily it was low tide so it could have been much worse.

Erika Lang took the girl jump crown with a 36.5m in the 1st round and a 35.1m in the 2nd round. Aussie girl Teagan Burns took home silver with a best jump of 34.1m and American Kara Macintyre snatched 3rd place from Anthea Collicoat with a best jump of 30.1m.

Erika Lang with a leap of 36.5m takes out the girls jump event

Erika Lang with a leap of 36.5m takes out the girls jump event

There was just over one metre separating 1st from 3rd in the boys jump event. Briant was leading after the 1st round with a 50.6m leap but in the 2nd round Taylor Garcia got hold of a 52.9m jump which put the pressure on Kiwi Alex King and Briant. King fell short by 10cm jumping 51.2m to take 3rd while Briant took the win with a 52.0m pearler.

Lang almost scored the perfect overall score (2975) but this was more than enough to make her the Queen of the Junior Moomba Masters ahead of Kara Macintyre and Teagan Burns. Briant wasn’t too far off the perfect overall score either (2972.64) and he will be crowned King of Junior Moomba during the junior presentation on Saturday. He took the win ahead of his closest rival Taylor Garcia and fellow countryman Tyce Zendler.

Teagan Burns jumping her way into second place

Teagan Burns jumping her way into second place

That’s it for Junior Moomba for another year, another great tournament put on by the Victorian Water Ski Association. The main event starts tomorrow, The Moomba Masters International Invitational. Womens slalom will be the first cab off the rank at 8am tomorrow morning.

Joshua Louder

2013 Junior Moomba Masters Day 1

We started today behind the eight ball straight away after not one but two octuple sculls rowed into the front of the jump puncturing the ramp floats on both occasions. Full credit must go to the Junior Moomba organisers still starting on time with boys tricks. Although tricks ran up river from the Swan Street Bridge so the ramp could have some maintenance done to it.

No surprises in boys tricks even though Joshua Briant fell very early on his toe run it was still enough to take top seed into round 2 with 6430 ahead of Taylor Garcia (5500) and Tyce Zendler (4830). The standard of tricking in the junior girls was a little higher than the boys with favourite Erika Lang leading with 8990 ahead of Canadian Chantal Singer (5520) and Aussie Bianca Mulach (5340).

The junior girls did both their rounds of slalom today due to the ramp still being worked on. The scores were lower than usual for all 13 girls after the first round but for the second round the wind died down and the current settled, this showed in the scores. Every girl skied better in the second round some even more than two passes better! After a mediocre first round Kara Macintyre put a score out to beat with 4@12m and it wasn’t until Erika Lang that the 13m line was run again. Lang scored 3@12m which gave her an equal combined score with Macintyre. After a count back to the 2nd round score Macintyre was given the lead. Last off the dock, Chantal Singer couldn’t chase down the two Americans but took the last spot on the podium with 4@13m.

In junior boys slalom the 12m line was run 4 times in the first round which goes to show the high standard of skiing, especially on The Yarra. The South African Eamon Van Der Merwe was the first person to run it scoring 2@11.25m, Aussie Joshua Briant equalled this score while next off the dock Jonah Shaffer was half a buoy below the leaders with 1.5@11.25m. After narrowly missing out on the finals for last weekend’s Australian Open Dane Mechler surely made up for it taking top seed into the second round with 3.5@11.25m.

After some more maintenance on the jump ramp it was still slightly out after homologation so the junior jump event was postponed until tomorrow. If all goes to plan the rowers will see the big red thing in the water that is about 4 metres wide and 7 metres long and we will be ready to jump tomorrow.

It all starts tomorrow with junior boys trick at 8am


The Yarra River at 7pm with the jump ramp that is ever so slightly out

Joshua Louder

The Price of Gold

Do you think $588 million for seven gold medals at the London Olympics is money well spend? We also won sixteen silver and twelve bronze medals, so with the 35 medals Australia won that acquaints to just over $16.5 million a medal. The Australian Government have entrenched in their sport policies that the Olympics is the be-all and end-all in sport. This means non-Olympic sports are left out in the cold, with the exception of Cricket, Aussie Rules, Rugby League and Rugby Union who each have large television and sponsorship deals. One sport that is severely underfunded is water skiing.

There are 9 competitive sports under the branch of water skiing. These include:

  • Tournament Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Barefooting
  • Wakeskating
  • Ski Racing
  • Cable Tournament Water Skiing
  • Cable Wakeboarding
  • Kneeboarding
  • Show Skiing

ImageCrowds haven’t been an issue at the Moomba Masters in Melbourne. Photo: IWSF

Think of water skiing like athletics in the way athletics has many different disciplines under the term ‘athletics’. Although all these sports are governed by the same body in Australia, The Australian Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (AWWF), each discipline is a different sport in its self. For example in Tournament Water Skiing there are three disciplines (slalom, trick and jump), this is substantially different to Ski Racing which is more of a hybrid between an athletic sport and a motor sport.

The sport I’m going to focus on, and one of the most popular, is tournament water skiing. In Australia Tournament Water Ski Nationals are hosted on a yearly basis along with Disabled Tournament Water Ski Nationals. For the past few years there has been over 200 athletes competing from all states and territories across Australia at this five day competition.

The Future of Sport in Australia, aka The Crawford Report, was released in 2009 by the Independent Sports Panel set up by the government. The purpose of this was to “review all aspects of sport in Australia and to chart a new direction.” It was also in response to John Coates (AOC Chief) requesting an extra $100 million a year for 10 years for elite Olympic sports. I can understand where Coates is coming from as he has witnessed firsthand the slide from 58 medals in Sydney 2000 to 49 medals in Athens 2004 to 46 medals in Beijing 2008 and now 35 medals in London 2012. To give $1 billion to elite athletes while the 9 sports of water skiing share $161,000 a year, would highlight the massive inequalities evident in sport funding in Australia.

ImageNo surprises there! John Coates has strongly rejected funding cuts from the elite program over the past few years. Photo: Herald Sun

While the AWWF was included in the research process of The Crawford Report, the findings are only recommendations. Many of these recommendations are still yet to be adopted by the government.

As Tournament Water Skiing grows stronger the screams for more funding will get louder and louder but these screams may be drowned out by the bellowing yell of a declining Olympic team begging for more money.

The Crawford Report –$File/Crawford_Report.pdf