Bare­foot dare­dev­ils in Dim­boola

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Front Page - BY DEAN LAW­SON

The Wim­mera will add to its claim as re­gional Vic­to­ria’s head­quar­ters for adren­a­line sport when some of the na­tion’s best bare­foot wa­ter-skiers com­pete at Dim­boola.

Dim­boola Boat and Wa­ter Ski Club, in part­ner­ship with Bare­foot Water­ski Aus­tralia, will present the sec­ond Peter Tay­lor Memo­rial Night Jump and Tour­na­ment this week­end.

Or­gan­is­ers have promised two days of spec­tac­u­lar ac­tion on the banks of the Wim­mera River, with ac­ro­batic jump ac­tion un­der lights on Satur­day night be­fore a fire­works dis­play set to be a ma­jor high­light.

Or­gan­is­ers ex­pect a crowd at Dim­boola Re­cre­ation Re­serve to swell well be­yond the 800 that at­tended the in­au­gu­ral ex­trav­a­ganza last year, with com­peti­tors trav­el­ling from across Aus­tralia to be in­volved.

Dim­boola ski club pres­i­dent Dar­ren Bone said the event fit­ted neatly into ef­forts to raise the re­gion’s tourism pro­file and also its rep­u­ta­tion for putting on high-ac­tion sport­ing events.

“This is spec­tac­u­lar stuff and quite amaz­ing. The bare­foot in­verted jump­ing from the ramps is mind-blow­ing,” he said.

“You have to see it to un­der­stand just how amaz­ing it is. And un­der lights to the thump­ing sound of back­ing mu­sic cre­ates an elec­tric at­mos­phere and makes it even more spec­tac­u­lar.”

The event has at­tracted 30 com­pet­i­tive bare­foot skiers.

Ac­tion will start at 7.30am on Fri­day and con­tinue to 5pm.

A Satur­day start will also be at 7.30am with com­pe­ti­tion con­tin­u­ing through­out the af­ter­noon be­fore the night jump chal­lenge.

To beat last year’s mark, jumpers will have to clear about 26 me­tres.

Com­peti­tors, some of them among the best bare­foot skiers in Aus­tralia, will aim to clear be­tween 24 and 28 me­tres.

Much of the two-day tour­na­ment will fea­ture ju­nior and se­nior com­peti­tors com­pet­ing in trick and slalom events.

Mr Bone said com­peti­tors were trav­el­ling from as far as Queens­land, NSW and South Aus­tralia to com­pete.

“Aus­tralian rep­re­sen­ta­tive and na­tional jump cham­pion Ben Franks from Ade­laide will re­turn to de­fend his ti­tle. Youtube sen­sa­tion Bren­dan Page from the Gold Coast will be there and 17-year-old in­ter­na­tional cham­pion school­boy Tee-jay Russo from New­cas­tle is com­pet­ing,” he said.

The tour­na­ment is named in hon­our of for­mer Dim­boola club stal­wart and in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised skier Peter Tay­lor who died year.

Mr Tay­lor’s son Michael, a for­mer world num­ber-two ju­nior bare­foot jumper, will com­pete at the week­end.

“We’re keen for the lo­cals as well as the broader Wim­mera com­mu­nity to get around this event,” Mr Bone said.

“These com­peti­tors will jump 13 to 14 me­tres high while hang­ing onto a ski rope.

“We’ve had out­stand­ing sup­port from spon­sors and if peo­ple missed it last time this is a chance to come back and see some­thing spe­cial.

“It’s noisy and there is great crowd in­volve­ment.”

Dim­boola Boat and Wa­ter Ski Club is work­ing closely with Dim­boola Rowl­ing Club, which will have its an­nual re­gatta the fol­low­ing week.

“We’ve been told the Dim­boola Row­ing Club set-up, with its launch area and spec­ta­tor op­por­tu­ni­ties, is one of the best for bare­foot wa­ter-ski­ing not only in Aus­tralia, but in the world,” Mr Bone said.

Fire­works at Dim­boola Re­cre­ation Re­serve af­ter the bare­foot chal­lenge will com­plete the tour­na­ment.

Or­gan­is­ers have asked peo­ple at­tend­ing the event for gold coin do­na­tions to go to Wim­mera Can­cer Cen­tre. last

FULL FLIGHT: De­fend­ing Dim­boola bare­foot jumps cham­pion Ben Franks, pic­tured in ac­tion on the Wim­mera River last year, will be back to de­fend his ti­tle. Pic­ture: PAUL CARRACHER

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