Top skiers back on the river

January 20, 2022 BY

Pro: Jason Sleep competing in the 2019 Australian Masters. Photo: STEVE DILKS/ SAA IMAGING

THIS weekend, the Loddon River will play home to some of the country’s top water skiers for the 2022 EasyTow Malibu Australian Masters.

Hosted by the Bridgewater Water Ski Club for a 12th year, the event features the three main water-skiing disciplines of slalom, trick, and jump, with age groups from under 10s to over 65 year olds.

BWSC committee member Josie Christie said after long preparations, the club is keen to hit the water.

“Bridgewater loves putting on the Aussie Masters, it’s one of the most prestigious events in Australia,” she said.

“The committee work really hard to put on a quality event for the skiers, particularly with COVID the last couple of years a lot of skiers have struggled to train as much as they normally would and also be able to participate in events.

Ms Christie said the Bridgewater event is the second biggest water-skiing competition in Australia, behind Moomba.

“There’s a lot of skiers that have been invited to ski at Moomba, and a lot of them use Bridgewater as a training ground, even some of the international skiers come to Bridgewater prior to Moomba to train,” she said.

Junior competitors will also be striving for a spot in the national junior team.

No stranger to water ski competitions is Jason Sleep, who competes in the disabled division.

The paraplegic, double amputee has skied all over the world setting records and was earlier this year named International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation Male Disabled Athlete of the Year for the second time.

He said he’s keen to see what the next generation of skiers with disabilities has to offer.

“I coach guys who’ve got disabilities from amputees to paraplegic, quadriplegic, blind and so forth,” he said. “A couple of them have been training and have finally got good enough to go into their first tournament.

“I’ve been very successful, and it’s brought a lot to myself, I hope the guys that follow in my footsteps get the same out of it as I have.

“It gives them something to strive for and drive to, rather than sitting at home wallowing on the couch, you can get out there and work at something and the world’s your oyster.

The event is free for spectators and will take place over three days, finishing on Sunday, with entrance via the Bridgewater on Loddon Caravan Park.