The Historical past of H2o Ski Racing in Britain

The Historical past of H2o Ski Racing in Britain


A number of several years ahead of the war, an aquaplane race was run on an once-a-year foundation from the isthmus at Avalon to Hermosa Seaside, California. It was a race and a take a look at of endurance for both of those guy and boat and normally considerably less than 20{fb3d3be40d62bfd323b107a6fdc0012014d59d2d0f15732591f2aedc612ae09a} of the field at any time managed to finish. The remainder dropped out owing to boat issues or because the aqua planer couldn’t keep on any for a longer time. The very last race prior to the war, on June 20 1941, was received by Bob Brown, towed by Don Berry, in a time of 1 hr 51 min.

In 1947, the Long Beach front Boat and Ski Club was shaped and almost instantly took about sponsorship of the race, renaming it the “Grand Nationwide Drinking water Ski Race”. In 1949 the contest became a spherical journey operate, starting at Hermosa Beach front pier, the skiers raced to the isthmus, circled a convert-boat and returned non-quit to the pier. A skier was disqualified if at any time they touched the boat or any person in the boat. Ed Stanley of Orange was the winner of this 1st spherical vacation race with a time of I hr 41 min.

Of training course, this function is perfectly known these times as Catalina, and just for the report, Chuck Steams 1st received the function at the age of 16 and he went on to earn it a staggering eleven occasions in excess of the up coming several many years.


Now it was time for the Aussies to create a piece of record in ski racing and in the 1950’s, the Bridge-to-Bridge Water Ski Race was released. The 68-mile course on the NSW Hawkesbury River is now a person of the most prestigious races in the entire world.


In 1966, Britain made a move to get concerned in the activity of h2o ski racing and a conference took location at the Mandeville Lodge in London, the place 30 clubs have been represented and a Racing sub-committee of the BWSF was formed. The legendary Chuck Steams of California occurred to be in London at the time and he delivered a duplicate of the Californian racing rulebook, which fashioned the basis for British racing guidelines.

Alan Taylor remembers “we understood that racing had taken location in Belgium a few or 4 years previously, on the Scheldt at a area called Rupelmonde. The following 12 months, a several individuals from Whitstable Club went to Belgium and experienced a appear at this race and we invited a Belgian workforce to compete in the initial formal cross-channel race”.

On May perhaps, 29 1967, the Whitstable and Varne Club drinking water ski clubs organised the very first cross-channel water ski race and no much less than 56 teams, such as one particular from Belgium, took aspect in the 42 mile run from Greatstone, Kent, to a trawler marker-boat, anchored 3 miles off Cap Griz Nez and back again.

Boats were being allowed to take up to three or four people today to ski in relays. The skis have been everyday conventional slalom skis for speeds of about 30 mph, as perfectly as pairs, and the ski line had to be between 75 ft and 100 ft in size. Groups were also permitted to relay with much more than a single skier for every crew.

News soon leaked that skier 47 registered, as Mr. A.A.Johnson was non other than the Earl of Snowdon, patron of the BWSF, trying to keep his identification from the Push. The final result was remarkable information protection of the occasion.

Extra than 20 of the 56 entrants unsuccessful to finish the race because of to a gale, which whipped up 6 ft substantial waves. The winners had been customers of the Chasewater Electric power Boat Club, and they accomplished the program in 3 hr 15 min. The Snowdon group came in fourth at 4 hr 10 min and one more skier in the race was a 14-year-previous Monthly bill Rixon. Taking 3rd position general, this was just the beginning for a person who was to become just one of the legends in British h2o ski racing.

In 1968 the BWSF Racing Committee organised the initial British Championship sequence, run at Chasewater, Greatsone, Hunstanton, Hartlepool, Penarth and the River Medway. John Boardman of the Varne club turned the initial series champion.

In 1969, the British Championship series was elevated to 8 races and was won by Brendan Bowles of Penarth club. It was in this calendar year that European Drinking water Ski Racing Championships were being set up and races have been held in Holland, Belgium and Britain. Bill Rixon turned the 1st European Water Ski Racing Champion.


Rixon commenced generating his mark on European racing in the 70s with no significantly less than 6 general European Championship gold medals among the various British way too. Bill stated, “it truly is possible there are even another two European titles not accounted for”. In 1974/5 he expended a ton of time in Italy skiing for Mostes, and he paid a couple disapproved visits to South Africa and also hit the racing scene in California.

Other names this sort of as David Hutchinson, Man Gooding, David Martin, Robin Mainwaring, Cliff Featherstone, Alan Hargreaves, Tony Cox, Gary Brooks and Colin Harris ended up scattered all over the 70s when British F1 ski racing was as powerful as at any time.

Two other names ended up brothers Steven and Andy Coe. Steven received the British Championships in 1978 and 1979 and Andy followed fit in 1980 with Tom Lumley observing for all all those 3 title wins. Britain’s major girls provided Liz Hobbs, Sue de Donker and Kim Gooding.

Liz had commenced snowboarding when she was 9, and by 15, she was had skied in her initial race on the Medway in 1975. The pursuing calendar year, she went on to gain every single race she entered & received the first of seven British titles. In the exact year, she broke the women’s British and European pace records at the rear of a Cigarette powerboat called, “I like it as well”.

For the duration of the 70’s, a number of British skiers, like the Coes, had visited Australia and identified a new way of skiing termed, ‘wrapping’. Terry Bennett of Sydney was the identify guiding wrapping and he uncovered the procedure purely by incident, when hoping to simple the strain on his back, immediately after struggling an incident. So together with Fred Williams race skis, and a wealth of Aussie experience, these British skiers introduced us to the way we all now ski – wrapped.

Alongside with Ray Berriman and Alan Taylor, other folks these kinds of as Arthur Dawe, Peter Felix, Ted Rawlings, Wally Neale and John Hoiles ended up early organizers of British racing. John Hoiles basically went on to be European and Entire world President of the IWSF, and contributed a good offer to the activity.

A turning stage in planet water ski racing came on September 9, 1979, when the first planet racing championships sponsored by Sperry Univac ended up held, with races at Whitstable, Allhallows and Welsh Harp. Britain’s Ray Berriman chaired the organising committee.

The celebration was the very first to convey with each other formal leading teams from close to the entire world, and despite the fact that Australia’s Wayne Ritchie and Bronwyn Wing snapped up the golds, Britain’s Kim Gooding took 2nd in the women’s, Monthly bill Rixon 2nd in the men’s and Steven Coe 3rd. The British staff evidently established Britain as a pressure to be reckoned with on the globe h2o ski racing phase.


As Rixon neared the conclusion of his unparalleled racing vocation, it was time for some new names to climb on to the stage and take pleasure in the limelight. Liz Hobbs and Steve Moore ended up the two huge names in the early 80’s and each went on to turn out to be environment champions and to be awarded the MBE. In truth Liz received the title of planet champion in 1981 and 1984, and she won the European championship title at minimum 4 situations.

But everyday living in the 80s was not so sweet for Liz, in spite of her incredible results, because at Penarth in 1984, she fell and broke her neck. She also broke her sternum in 3 sites, six ribs, just one of which punctured a lung. On leading of that, Liz’s heart stopped.

Incredibly, Liz was back on a ski the following year and again on her profitable streak in 1986. Afterwards in the 80s she was nominated for the sporting activities temperament of the year award and she gained the athletics writers of the calendar year award. Following climbing on to the public stage with the aid of a publicist a few years before, Liz went on to host her very own Tv set series with Yorkshire Tv known as “Hobbs Alternative”, and because then, has come to be just one of the most publicly known waterskiers in the environment.

Steve Moore started racing in 1980. He was the dude that fell, but got up, then fell again but often acquired up. Finally he stopped slipping and was an extraordinary machine on the h2o. By 1983 he experienced tried a pace record at Windermere guiding Alf Bullen’s F1 catamaran, but fell at 115mph.

Moore received no less than 5 European titles, 5 British titles and the 1988 environment championships in Sydney, Australia. He also received the Environment Cup in 1986. This consisted of the Catalina, Giro del Lario and Botany Bay Vintage in Australia. He won all three and in the exact same year, and turned the first British skier to earn Catalina outright.

Snapping at Moore’s heels in the late 80s was a youthful lad from London who skied in his initial race in 1977. His name was Darren Kirkland and at the tender age of 18, Kirkland initial represented Britain at the environment championships in Spain, in 1985 and is about to enter his 8th globe championship function in 2001.

With the Coes, Rixon, Cliff Featherstone, Paul Llewellyn, Gary Brooks, Tony Cox and other individuals combating for victory during the ten years, the 80s performed host to some outstanding races across Britain. Nicky Carpenter and Lisa Coupland had been also successful names in the 80s.


As the affluent 80s light away, the financial decrease noticed figures in racing drop. In Europe, Australia and the United states of america, a equivalent pattern occurred, but this didn’t reduce the sport from turning out to be even more aggressive in terms of the motivation given to get some of the limelight.

Kirkland went on to gain his honest share of it and has pretty much dominated British racing given that the 90s. Displaying the persistence he’s renowned for, Kirkland had racked up ten in general British titles, 5 European titles and became a very well-revered skier during the world. On major of that, Kirkland received Catalina in 1994, the gruelling Diamond race in Belgium, an enviable six occasions and Italy’s Giro del Lario, two times.

But the jewel in the crown has eluded him for the final 16 several years. The environment title has been so around and yet so far, from the person who came so close to successful it on much more than one particular celebration. In 1995, Italy’s Stefano Gregorio took the honours in Belgium, just as Kirkland imagined he had the title wrapped up. In 1997 he took 3rd in Australia and in 1999 he took 2nd in Spain. This 12 months he will consider as soon as once more, to acquire the just one accomplishment he wants so a great deal.

In January 1997, Kirkland was awarded the BWSF Normal Lascelles Trophy in recognition of his huge achievements in the sport of water snowboarding. And at the 1999 environment championships, gold medallist Stephen Robertson of Australia compensated community tribute to Kirkland immediately after getting his crown.

The early 90s observed Rachel Casson set on an excellent effectiveness at the 1991 entire world championships in Darwin, Australia. So near to wining one of the rounds, Rachel fell at over 100mph and suffered horrendous injuries. Decided to thrive on the world phase, Rachel became Britain’s top rated women’s skier, but was dogged by the Darwin injuries above the many years. Gilly Clements was also a robust contender in the 80s and 90s, representing Britain on numerous occasions.


Over the a long time Britain has been incredibly robust in Europe, successful countless titles in all groups, such as the a lot-coveted workforce trophy at least 4 moments. Wonderful performances by lots of but notably in the women’s classification by Liz Hobbs, Nicky Carpenter, Lisa Coupland, Rachel Casson, Gilli Clements. Extra just lately Kim Lumley has engraved her name on the British championship trophy a few times now. Paula Newland, at first from Penarth club, has also been up there and secured a 6th in the 1999 earth championships in Spain.

Darren Kirkland continue to dominates the men’s class in Britain but the likes Karl Brooks and Danny Evans are bit by bit closing in on the 34 year outdated. How extended will he retain his location at the major of British racing? – only time will notify.

On the formal facet of items, Britain’s Ray Berriman, who was instrumental in the really 1st planet championships in Britain back in 1979, is Main Judge at the 2001 entire world championships in Las Vegas this year.

It truly is been impossible to mention all those people who have performed a section in Britain’s record of water ski racing here. There are so many names unmentioned. But this posting has hopefully presented you a large stage watch of drinking water ski racing and it can be earlier.

All in all, Britain proceeds to enjoy a significant role in the world ski racing. It will undoubtedly carry on to do so above the coming many years.

Composed in 2001 by Robbie Llewellyn

With many thanks to: Aubrey Sheena, Alan Taylor, Darren Kirkland, Steve Moore (MBE), Mike Waterman, Martin Brooks, Tom Lumley, Liz Hobbs (MBE) and the Guinness E book of Waterskiing.