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.

11 Aussies go to Mexico

Two years ago at the inaugural +35 World Water Ski Championships in Italy, Australia had a team of one (Mark Louder). This year eleven Australians have made the trip across the Pacific to Mexico and together they are the biggest Australian team ever to go to a World Championships.

Setting up for the day

I gathered Mexico doesn’t get too many Australian tourists after one of the staff of Boca Laguna (ski lake in Chapala) asked if a yellow/green/red flag was the Australian flag…it was the Lithuanian flag. After than slight misjudgement we let them know who we were chanting and singing during the opening ceremony march, even Maria Lamadrid (owner of Boca Laguna) joined in.

Carlos Lamadrid, (the owner of the site) who we already struck up a rapport with, commented on the Australian spirit and said we are a great bunch of people before he starting chanting “Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi” in his official opening speech.

“We will all enjoy many tequilas after the tournament.” – Carlos Lamadrid

Australian and Chief Boat Driver, Glen Martin, said the ‘ode to judges’ and that concluded the opening ceremony.

The Opening Ceremony +35 Worlds 2012

Earlier in the morning our first Australian on the water was Graham Ashcroft. He injured his groin in a jump crash during familiarisation earlier in the week so elected to do two hand passes. This gave him a score of 820 which put him in 15th place in over 45 men trick.

Sue Crisp was next in the afternoon and had the added pressure needing a good score for  the Australian Team overall. In a light tail wind she got 2.5@14.25m which put her in 4th place in over 55 women slalom. More importantly this puts her in the final which will be run on the weekend!

In the over 55 men slalom, Team Captain Mark Louder scored a respectable 0.5@14.25m putting him in =22nd and more importantly giving him a good overall score. Garry Underwood skied a personal best of 4.5@14.25m which placed him at 20th. The excitement didn’t stop there in the over 55 men slalom. Dee Johnson USA and Philip Hughes UK were fighting for one spot in the final after both scoring 3@12m. A run-off followed at 13m and with the crowd on their feet Johnson went first. He came into the first buoy a little off balance and laid-it-out, this obviously made it easier for Hughes and he skied 2 buoys to advance to the finals but it was an exciting end to the day none the less.

During the day ‘Jesse’ our boxing Kangaroo and team mascot was the subject of many photos from rival nations.

“All we got is Captain America, but you have a boxing kangaroo that’s way better!” – Anonymous US Team Member

Jesse the boxing kangaroo

‘Jesse’ – the most popular mascot down at the site

Tomorrow morning (Thursday – Mexican, early Friday morning AEDT) we have Sue Crisp tricking in the over 55 women, followed by Marty Ayles and Darryl Shorten tricking in the over 35 men. Later in the afternoon Mark Louder will be pushing for a finals berth in the over 55 men jump. The final event for the day and by far the biggest with 31 skiers will be the over 45 men slalom. Greg Dalgarno, Graham Ashcroft, Neil O’Toole and Lee Martin will be doing Australia proud in that.

Team Australia

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