Rough Water didn’t stop Yarrawonga, Mulwala and Bundalong’s Barefooters from putting up some great scores at the 2018 National Barefoot Championships in Adelaide recently.
Barefoot champion and local Ski Club Ski Co-Ordinator Peter O’Neil said the locals came home with a bag of medals doing the region and the Mulwala Water Ski Club proud.
“It was a fantastic effort,” Pete said.
“The week started with some great weather with winds being a little worrying but during the first two days, competitions ran smoothly.
“The South Australian Barefoot club were hosting the nationals in Adelaide on the Torrens and Patawalonga Rivers for the first time in 30 years.
“Both sites were less than ideal for barefooting but holding the competition in a state capital was a huge draw card for the sport.
“Conditions were trying with both sites providing rolly water but the local skiers from Mulwala, many who ski in the show team, were experienced enough to handle it and it showed in the results.
“By day three the Torrens had issues with the wind being too strong and blowing it out and the Patawalonga was on hold as dolphins of all things stopped the boat and held up the tournament as well.
“Skiing over the next few days was sporadic with conditions getting worse and in the end, most events only finished one round.
“The last two days of competition were called off as 70kmh winds took hold.”
Pete O’Neill, who doubled as the Victorian Team Manager this year, said the conditions were terrible on the Torrens River but the local skiers were great.
“I haven’t been to a National Championships like that before. It was just so rough even at the best of times but our skiers were great.
“They get to train on awesome water at the ski parks and up at Bundalong so they are learning to be great competitors.
“But their experiences in the show team where the water can be brutal definitely helped them out.” Pete also commented on so many juniors.
“Barefooting is making a real comeback as more and more kids are getting into it,. The sub juniors and junior divisions were the biggest they have been and it was great to see so many skiers from our area competing.”
Mulwala Ski Club President Len Langford said he is always proud of our skiers when they head off to compete, but commented on the junior development at the club.
”It is really going well and I was very pleased to see personal bests and some National Titles make it back,” Len said.
“Our Ski Park is one of a kind, and we are working with Federation Council to make it even better.”
As for the results, In the Sub Jr Girls, Emily Hogan in her first Nationals finished with a couple of PBs placed fifth behind Macey Peebles who finished third to Big Sister Zali Peebles as the Sub Junior Girl National Champion, making it back to back titles for Zali.
Zali also won gold in tricks but her younger sister Macy slalomed fantastic in the conditions to become the national sub junior girl slalom champion.
It was a family affair in the subbies, with Emily younger brother Harry Hogan and the Peebles sisters younger brothers, Zeke and Aiden also competing at the championships.
Pete O’Neil said the boys were amazing in the rough water and at their ages they have very bright futures.
“All of them have a few years in subbies left and we look forward to how they progress,” Pete said.
In Junior Girls Macey Hicks put on a great performance coming third in Tricks, Slalom and Overall and her older sister, Abbey Hicks took Gold in the Women’s one division for tricks, Slalom, Jump and Overall. Both girls have been training hard and it showed in their results.
Rounding out the locals, Pete O’Neill who made a comeback of sorts skiing in all three events for the first time in three years, skied into a gold in Slalom and a third overall. And Sam Olphert in Mens 1 took home the silver medal in Men’s 2 Jump.
Some Mulwala Ski Club skiers that live in Wangaratta also performed well. Robbie Humphries put up some PBs in Subbie Boys and Cooper Elliot took silver in Jump and a third overall in the Junior Boys
At the event the teams for the World Championships to be held in August in Canada were picked and Cooper made the junior team and Pete made the Open team.
Both will head off in July for team training. The Australian squads were also announced with the vision to ski the 2020 World Championships with Macey Hicks and Zali and Macy Peebles being named in the squad.
“The local skiers all wanted to say that they were lucky to be in a town that is so supportive of water skiing and a big thank you to the Mulwala Water Ski Club where they get to do a lot of their training,” Pete said.