Some of Australia’s best young waterskiers are currently in Moree, honing their skills ahead of this weekend’s Australian Junior Masters tournament.
Just less than 30 waterskiers, aged 17 and under have been participating in the Australian Junior Waterski School at Moree Water Park since Saturday.
Among them is a current Australian world champion, an Australian record holder and four skiers who competed at the World Junior Waterski Championships in Spain last year.
Sade Ferguson from Roma, Queensland, is the current under 17s world jump champion and Australian record holder for the under 17s slalom event.
The 15-year-old has been attending the waterski school for a number of years, and said it’s a great opportunity to get a feel for the water ahead of the Junior Masters.
And considering the spent artesian water is “really slippery” compared to other lakes, the week-long school provides a significant advantage for the participants – who are invited to take part based on national rankings and scores.
“I’m starting to get used to the water here,” Ferguson said.
“I’ve been working on my runs this week to get those more consistent for the tournament.”
Although Ferguson is more of a slalom skier and jumper, she will be competing in all three tournament events – slalom, trick and jump – at the Junior Masters this weekend.
Fellow competitor, Levi Kelly from Newcastle will also be competing in all three events this weekend, however he’s most confident in the jump, being able to jump 46 metres.
He’s enjoyed practising his tricks, and has even managed to master the 800-point mobe during his time at the waterski school in Moree.
“I’ve just been getting my other tricks solid for the weekend,” Kelly said.
Kelly also said the Moree water is “weird” compared to fresh water, which he’s used to skiing on.
“It feels like I’m on top of the water more,” he said.
“But it’s better for jumps; I can go faster.”
Throughout the week, the talented young waterskiers have been fine-tuning their skills with the help of some of the best in the business – current Australian overall waterski champion Archie Davis, former under 21 world jump champion Josh Wallent and former Olympic waterskier Bruce Cockburn, who are coaching this year’s school.
Tournament Water Ski Australia chairman Stafford Scott said the week has been “really good”.
“The lakes are great,” he said
“It’s still early days, but in another two or three years when the trees are established, it will make a big difference.
“It has the potential to be one of the best sites in Australia.”
The other Junior Masters competitors and their families will begin arriving in Moree on Friday to allow time to participate in a few familiarisation sets to feel the water before the tournament begins on Saturday.
About 60 skiers aged 21 and under from all over Australia will be competing in the Australian Junior Masters, this Saturday and Sunday.
While the schedule is yet to be finalised, the competition will run from about 10am to 5pm both days. Spectators are welcome to head out to Moree Water Park to check out all the action.