Waterskiing is a sport quite unlike any other. It combines a unique mix of fun, fitness and mateship and it ticks many boxes in that it can be enjoyed regardless of budget, is extremely family inclusive and is quite addictive because of the way it continually challenges you to strive for personal improvement. I love the beautiful river and calm lake environments that waterskiing is usually conducted in, and, whether you choose to ski socially or in a competitive sense, the enjoyment from being on the water is euphoric.
I learned to ski in late primary school behind our tiny family fishing boat and was fortunate to have my family become involved in tournament skiing during my years at high school. All of my equipment was second (or third) hand but I won several National University Championships and have many memories that I cherish and great mates with whom I still keep in touch, from my University Ski Club days.
My kids learned to ski behind the same family boat I did, and I loved seeing their confidence grow, their fitness develop and friendships within the sport flourish. My parents, (now each 79 years young) still ski with me most summer weekends and my kids, now all grown up and living away, still love to come home and enjoy a social ski on the river they grew up on.
I bought my first boat when I was 45 years old and after 32 years away from National-level competition, i won several medals at the 2022 National Championships in Mulwala Victoria, and was able to back it up at the 2023 Nationals at Bonney’s Ski Lakes in Perth by winning several more. Now 53 and having undergone knee surgery 4 weeks ago, my main source of rehab’ motivation is to get back on the water as soon as my knee is strong enough. Driving the boat for my mates and helping them achieve their off-season goals is my current objective, but I can’t wait to get behind the boat again and carve up some glassy winter water in preparation for the 2023-2024 tournament season.
The Sutherland Family
As a family, we have always been on or around the water. Brett & Susann both first learnt to ski when they were 12 – Brett at Long Island on the Barrier Reef, and Susann in Hong Kong. Michaela & Jack have both been on the water on some form of equipment from the age of 1, but on a single slalom ski from about age 8.
We all ski regularly at Somerset Dam and Brett, Susann & Jack are also now members at Gold Coast Waterski Club and try to get through the course most weeks.
Jack was the first to ask if he could enter a tournament, in 2017 at the age of 15 which was at Bushy’s in Woodford. We didn’t know anyone, but found the information on the WSQ website and signed him up to a tournament. He’d never even been through a course at all, but everyone there was so helpful and explained the basics of what he needed to do. He was hooked! Brett’s first tournament was at a Winter Swerve at Ozski the next season at the age of 56 & Susann took a bit of time to gear up and ski through the course at a Summer Swerve in 2019 at Kurwongbah, at the age of 50. Michaela went to a Come & Try day, but decided she preferred to just ski socially without the competition, so is our cheer squad when she is able to come and watch, and that’s okay!
Over the years Jack has become involved in all 3 events – slalom, trick and jump, but Susann and Brett only compete in slalom. Brett reckons he may yet make an appearance in the Trick line-up, but time will tell! Whilst it’s fun competing, it’s mostly just a personal challenge to try and improve our own performance and get a better score than last time. We entered the State Titles for the first time in 2023 at Oz Ski Resort, and achieved two first places and a second place in our respective age divisions.
It’s certainly been fun since we started tournament skiing, with plenty of travel and busy weekends travelling around South East QLD competing. Since starting, we’ve all done courses in Judging, Brett & Jack have done Driving courses and Susann has helped out with scoring. Our understanding of the events has increased immensely as we have volunteered within the sport, and met some lovely people and families whose company we enjoy, and is a big reason we have continued to enter events and make the effort to attend.
My Mum & Dad introduced my brother and I into water skiing when I was eight years old. Not long after, we purchased our first boat. That’s when water skiing became our families sport. We would spend weekends camping with other ski families, spending hours on the water crafting our skills on the disc & freeboard. After a brief stint in competitive barefooting our family switched to competitive tournament skiing. Fast forward a bunch of years, my wife and I did the same with our kids, meeting new ski families. Now the kids have flown the coup. Water skiing is my escape from the world of hustle bustle. It motivates me to keep fit, and keeps my mind busy trying to work out the puzzle of slalom skiing. I absolutely love watching new faces in the sport hone their skills and their passion for the sport makes me smile.
Family – Friends – Fun – Water skiing.
The Reeves Family
Scott started skiing when he was eight at Somerset Dam where he was introduced to the sport by his parents, then started tournament skiing at 11 when he joined the Sunshine Coast Waterski Club. Scott skis in both slalom and jump and skis regularly at Lake Kurwongbah. He still competes in tournaments because he does it with his family and says it’s a fun sport to do with the family. He loves tournament skiing because he gets to compete with his whole family and says it’s a great weekend out. Scott has achieved a few milestones, such as competing at Moomba Masters Open Men’s Jump five times and has qualified for Moomba Monday for jump. He has also skied at World Cup events in jump. An interesting point Scott would like people curious about the sport to know, is that water skiing is a huge amount of fun, addictive and a great family sport.
Scott then introduced his wife Amy into the wonderful sport of waterskiing when they met. Amy joined the sport around the age 27 and started tournament skiing when she was thirty four years of age. Amy competes in slalom and skis at Lake Kurwongbah. Amy still tournament skis because the whole family is involved with it. She loves tournament skiing because of the people within it and getting to have a great weekend with the family. Some of Amy’s milestone achievements are going over the jump and winning the Over 35 Women’s slalom Australian National title. An interesting fact Amy would like others interested in the sport to know is even though you’re a mum, you can still get involved whether it be skiing or helping with jobs at tournaments.
Scott and Amy then introduced Zarhli into the sport. She joined at the very young age of two and started tournament skiing at the age of five. She competes in all three events – slalom, trick and jump and skis at Lake Kurwongbah. She tournament skis because she loves skiing well, knowing that the training has paid off. She also loves tournament skiing because she loves hanging out with her friends and competing. Some of Zarhli’s milestone achievements are competing at Junior Moomba for all three events and winning multiple slalom, jump and overall Australian national titles. An interesting motto she would like others interested in the sport to know is “go big or go home”.
Scott and Amy Reeves also introduced Taj to the amazing sport of waterskiing. Taj also started skiing when he was just two years old and started tournament skiing at the age of four. Taj competes in all three events – Slalom, Trick and Jump and also skies with the family at Lake Kurwongbah. He tournament skis because he loves the sport and seeing his mates at tournaments. He has achieved a few milestones such as winning multiple national championships and getting picked in the U14 AUS Kiwi team. An interesting fact that Taj would like others to know is to always “give everything a go, no matter what”.
Kristy & Selina Appleton
Water skiing has become more than just a sport to my sister and I, it has become a part of who we are. The water skiing community is welcoming and supportive, which has made this sport so enjoyable. I started social skiing with my family at the age of 5 and have been competing in tournaments since the age of 11. My sister Selina and I both got into the sport in 2019 by competing at a Kurwongbah Summer Swerve and from that day we have loved the sport! With water skiing being so family oriented it has allowed us to spend so much time with likeminded people who we love spending time with and making memories with. My Mum and Dad don’t compete, but they are always involved with scoring and judging at tournaments. Dad also is a boat driver, and I am a judge as well. We have been in the sport for four years now and I consider the water skiing community to be another family to me. Everyone is so supportive and kind-natured which I think makes this sport the best sport in the world!