Skiers turn it on
Dimboola continues to establish itself as the home of Australia’s premier barefoot waterskiing event after two big days of action on the Wimmera River.
Hundreds of people gathered on the riverbank at the weekend to watch national champions in action at the second Peter Taylor Memorial Night Jump and Tournament.
Competitor barefoot skiers travelled from across Australia to compete and international stars took on a night-jump challenge to music and a cheering crowd on Saturday night.
National number-one barefoot jumper Ben Franks from Adelaide defended the inaugural Peter Taylor Memorial Trophy title he won last year.
Franks launched himself from the ramp to record a jump of 25.2 metres and won from world junior jump champion and NSW teenage sensation Tee Jay Russo, 24.6.
Michael Taylor, the son of Peter Taylor, was third, and Australian trick star Brendan Paige, fourth.
Action on the river culminated with a fireworks display at Dimboola Recreation Reserve.
Dimboola Boat and Water Ski Club ran the event in partnership with Barefoot Waterski Australia and committee members are now pondering ways to make the event even bigger and better in the future.
Dimboola ski club president Darren Bone said the event provided an example that Dimboola was more than capable of hosting a major national event.
“With between 700 and 800 people turning up on the banks of the Wimmera River we’ve gone past any spectator-viewing event involving this sport in Australia,” he said.
“We pretty much have the best barefoot waterskiing event in Australia at the moment and the hope is we can only get bigger.”
Mr Bone said one of the options, in meeting expectations in status and standards, might be to run the event every two years instead of annually.
“There’s a lot of work involved and we want to give it the attention, build-up and support it deserves,” he said.
“What we know is that the weekend event went off like a house on fire and the town will be talking about it for a long time.”
Mr Bone said event sponsors and Dimboola Rowing Club and Dimboola Town Committee had been critical in the smooth running of the tournament.
He added the event had enormous tourism potential and urged the State Government to get behind its development.