Let’s go take up some space on that masters start list

Slalom Invites Finalized: Are the Best Skiers Truly Represented at the Masters?

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Slalom invites finalized: Are the best skiers truly represented at the Masters?

Let’s go take up some space on that masters start list

Image: @pato.font

By Jack Burden


What makes the best skier in the world? Is it talent, skill, and record-setting scores? Or is it the ability to perform under pressure, to excel regardless of the lake or conditions, and to beat the rest of the field when it counts?

If you were fortunate enough to be on the banks of Sunset Lakes yesterday, you were treated to an exhilarating day of slalom as many of the world’s best skiers vied for qualification into the 2024 Masters Waterski and Wakeboard Tournament.

By the end of the day, the Canadian duo of Stephen Neveu and Cole McCormick had punched their tickets. However, an eight-way tie for the last spot forced another intense runoff. It was the European contingent of Sacha Descuns and Adam Sedlmajer that led the pack, each securing 3@10.25m (41’ off). In a second runoff, former world overall champion Sedlmajer emerged victorious to clinch the final spot.

The Masters has long billed itself as the world’s “most prestigious watersports tournament,” where “only the world’s most elite athletes compete.” However, this image is hard to reconcile with a men’s slalom field selected based on a single score at one of two amateur tournaments held this month.

In men’s slalom, only four of the top 10 finishers on the 2023 Waterski Pro Tour standings qualified for the 2024 Masters. The rest of the field, while undoubtedly talented, placed 11th, 13th, 14th, and 19th last year. Collectively, they have finished on two professional slalom podiums in the last 12 months, both courtesy of Joel Poland, and have placed in the top eight at less than half of the events they’ve entered.

Meanwhile, four men who placed in the top seven on the Waterski Pro Tour last year were not invited to the Masters. Between them, they have 11 professional slalom podiums in the last 12 months, including one victory, and have finished in the top eight at over 75% of the events they’ve entered.

In the current competitive landscape, we see logjams at 3@10.25m almost every weekend. The skier who makes it past three on any given weekend is a lottery, but over a long enough period, the cream rises to the top.

That’s why a season-long measure of consistency and performance is the most accurate way to determine the best athlete in water skiing. The Waterski Pro Tour offers this, with 12 professional slalom events in 2023. Who could argue that their year-end standings aren’t a fair reflection of the current elite?

This isn’t to take away from those who did qualify through the two ‘LCQ’ events; they had to beat the best in the world to earn their spots and at times battled challenging conditions to do so. However, it’s tough to say the current qualification criteria is truly “an acknowledgment of achievement for reaching the pinnacle in a given watersports discipline,” claims from the Masters website notwithstanding.

Qualified Men

SlalomQualification
Freddie Winter1st at Worlds, Moomba, & Botas ProAm
Nate Smith1st at Masters & CA ProAm
Charlie Ross5@10.25 (LCQ #1)
Joel Poland4@10.25 (LCQ #1) – Runoff
Will Asher4@10.25 (LCQ #1) – Runoff
Cole McCormick4@10.25 (LCQ #2)
Stephen Neveu4@10.25 (LCQ #2)
Adam Sedlmajer3@10.25 (LCQ #2) – Runoff

Qualified Women

SlalomTricks
Jaimee Bull1st at Worlds & Botas ProAm
Regina Jaquess1st at Masters, Moomba, & CA ProAm
Whitney McClintock Rini1@10.25 (LCQ #1)
Allie Nicholson4.5@10.75 (LCQ #1)
Neilly Ross2@10.75 (LCQ #1) – Runoff
Venessa Vieke3@10.75 (LCQ #2)
Paige Rini2@10.75 (LCQ #2)
Luisa Jaramillio2@10.75 (LCQ #2)
American water ski jumper Brittany Greenwood-Wharton

Injury Update: Greenwood-Wharton Makes Tournament Comeback

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Injury update: Brittany Greenwood-Wharton makes tournament comeback after major knee surgery

American water ski jumper Brittany Greenwood-Wharton

“On the water, in my happy place” (image: @focus.501)

By Jack Burden


American water ski jumper Brittany Greenwood-Wharton marked her triumphant return to tournament action this past weekend at the Masters Qualifying Series, showcasing an impressive performance by jumping 49.7 meters (163 feet), to clinch a place in the 2024 Masters. After nearly two years away from competitive skiing, Brittany demonstrated her resilience and determination to overcome adversity.

“The last 1.5 years have been wild mentally and physically. Performing like myself again feels amazing,” shared Brittany, who celebrated a significant milestone in her recovery journey earlier this spring after completing a half marathon.

The Arkansas native’s journey back to the water has been long and hard. A jump crash at the 2022 California Pro Am left her with severe injuries, including a torn ACL, torn meniscuses, torn posterolateral corner, damaged cartilage, and a fractured femur. Despite these daunting challenges, Brittany remained undeterred in her pursuit of returning to the sport she loves.

“My last set before California Pro Am. We knew something was wrong with my knee. I was only able to jump every few days and maybe tolerate 1-2 jumps per set. But this is what I love so I fought through,” she recalled.

Complications during major knee surgery and ACL reconstruction further hindered her recovery, with the development of blood clots prolonging her rehabilitation process. “We are almost there, the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been a freaking year. 1 new ACL, 2 fixed meniscus, 2 blood clots, 1 cartilage defect. 365 days of thinking about how to keep getting stronger and grinding. 365 days of a lot of support from friends and family. Feeling so thankful and overwhelmed,” she shared last year.

Prior to her injury, Brittany had established herself as one of the most consistent performers in women’s jump, with multiple podium finishes and membership in the exclusive 180′ club (55 meters). Her return to competition signals a welcome resurgence for the talented athlete, who is eager to continue pushing the boundaries of her sport.

The women’s jump field has been marred by injuries in recent years, with Brittany, along with Lauren Morgan, Taryn Grant, and Valentina Gonzalez, missing substantial portions of the 2023 season. Additionally, world record holder Jacinta Carroll took time off for the birth of her first child before retiring from professional competition earlier this year. The challenges posed by injuries underscore the sport’s physical demands and the tenacity required of its athletes.

Joel Poland slaloming at the Masters LCQ

Poland Makes History, First Man to Qualify in Three Events for the Masters in 24 Years

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Poland makes history, first man to qualify in three events for the Masters in 24 years

Joel Poland slaloming at the Masters LCQ

Image: @robhazelwoodcreative

By Jack Burden


The Masters Qualifying Series kicked off this weekend with slalom and tricks at Lake Ledbetter in Winter Garden on Thursday and Friday, followed by Jump at Sunset Lakes in Groveland on Saturday. The world’s top water skiers competed fiercely to secure their spot in the 2024 Masters. Among them, Joel Poland stood out, qualifying in all three events, a feat not achieved since 2000, when overall was last contested.

While the format has faced criticism, there’s no denying the remarkable results it can produce by pitting the world’s best athletes against each other in a multi-round, single-best-score format. The qualifications to clinch a Masters Invitation this weekend were exceptionally high. On the men’s side, it took 4@10.25m (41’ off), over 12,000 points, and 66.1 meters (217 feet). Achieving any one of these would be impressive, but attaining all in the same weekend is unprecedented.

The level of skiing was phenomenal throughout the event. Highlights included 15-year-old Damien Eade running 10.75m (39.5’ off) to secure his ticket to the Junior Masters, and 18-year-old Charlie Ross setting an under-21 world record of 5@10.25m (41’ off) for his first professional Masters qualification.

The weekend saw four skiers surpass 12,000 points, tying the record set at the Swiss Pro Tricks. Poland and Gonzalez equaled their personal bests, Martin Labra delivered the highest scoring toe run in living memory (5,680), and 16-year-old Jake Abelson achieved an astounding pending world record of 12,970, oh so close to the new frontier of 13k.

Poland had arguably the best tournament of his life on the slalom ski. While he didn’t reach the stratospheric heights of running 10.25m again, his scores of 3.5 and 4 at 10.25m were among his best ever, before he was thrown into a seven-way run-off after the log jam at 4. Facing challenging conditions and a strong tail breeze, Poland was the only one to successfully run the 10.75m (39.5’ off) opener in the runoff, making his way into his first Masters slalom event.

Poland’s first-round scores, 3.5@10.25m, 12,160 points, and 67.4 meters (221 feet), would have set a new overall world record if not for the fact that the event was spread across two different sites. He eked out another foot in the second round of the jump, finishing with the top jump score of the tournament.

This level of competitiveness across all three events is unprecedented, at least on the men’s side. You would have to go back at least 40 years to find another man capable of winning professional events across all disciplines, fittingly to Poland’s compatriot Mike Hazelwood, who dominated both the Moomba and US Masters through the late ’70s and early ’80s.

While several women have previously qualified in all three events since the overall event was sidelined, Joel Poland’s achievement marks the first time any man has accomplished this feat. With potentially three overall world records in the last 12 months and an undefeated streak on the WWS Overall Tour, Poland appears unstoppable. Having clinched professional titles in trick, jump, and overall events, the question now looms: will slalom be next for him?

Qualified Men

Slalom (5/8)Tricks* (4/8)Jump (4/8)
Freddie WinterPatricio FontRyan Dodd
Nate SmithMartin LabraJoel Poland
Charlie RossJoel PolandTobias Giorgis
Joel PolandLouis Duplan-FribourgLouis Duplan-Fribourg
Will Asher

* Jake Abelson qualified also, but has opted to ski in Junior Masters instead.

Qualified Women

Slalom (5/8)Tricks (5/8)Jump (4/8)
Jaimee BullErika LangHanna Straltsova
Regina JaquessAnna Gay HunterSasha Danisheuskaya
Whitney McClintock RiniNeilly RossRegina Jaquess
Allie NicholsonNatalia CuglievanBrittany Greenwood-Wharton
Neilly RossPaige Rini
Chris "the Tower" Parrish

Chris Parrish Describes His “Mixed Emotions” on the Masters Qualification Process

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Chris Parrish describes his “Mixed Emotions” on the Masters qualification process

Chris "the Tower" Parrish

The Tower, Chris Parrish — a life of gratitude and water skiing (image: @hoskis)

By Jack Burden


Chris “the Tower” Parrish, one of the greatest slalom skiers of all time, recently joined The Water Skier magazine’s Hit It! Podcast for a wide-ranging conversation on his illustrious career and current ambitions. At 45 years old, Parrish is still going strong, posting multiple scores into 10.25m (41’ off) throughout the 2023 season. He still harbors ambitions to compete among the best at professional and elite events; however, one event we will not see Parrish at is the US Masters.

“Well, the bummer part is the last couple of years I’ve missed just to do the LCQs. I think I’ve missed it by a quarter of a buoy, so I can’t even go to those dang things to try to qualify,” shared Parrish when asked if one of his goals was still to punch his ticket into the Masters.

Parrish has held the course record on Robin Lake since 2005 when he set the seemingly insurmountable score of 4 @ 10.25m (41’ off). Since then, generations of supremely talented skiers have taken to the famed waters at Callaway Gardens, but none have yet to best his mark.

“To be honest with you, I kind of have mixed emotions about this type of qualifying,” said Parrish, reflecting on the majority of spots, sometimes seven out of eight, being determined by a series of amateur qualifying events held in Central Florida in the lead-up to the tournament.

The current criteria were introduced at the height of the pandemic when the lack of both professional and world ranking events in 2020 necessitated a new approach for the 2021 Masters. The puzzle is that three years later, with a thriving worldwide professional circuit, the qualification criteria have remained unchanged.

“I feel like when you travel the world and you got either your elite ranking, say you finished in the top eight, you got your world ranking, or you were the previous Masters winner or previous Moomba Masters winner, I feel like you really earned your way into the Masters,” shared Parrish.

Rather than rewarding season-long consistency and performance at professional events, the current criteria put a huge amount of pressure on two tournaments with perfect conditions, a far cry from the notoriously challenging Robin Lake.

“I just don’t know. I just kind of have mixed emotions about these different qualifying events, and I’ve talked to a lot of the athletes that have to go qualify for it, and I know it’s very, very stressful.”

Jack Critchley broke his collarbone at the Ski Fluid Classic

Injury Update: Jack Critchley Sidelined with Broken Collarbone

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Injury update: Jack Critchley sidelined with broken collarbone

Jack Critchley broke his collarbone at the Ski Fluid Classic

Image: @robhazelwood99

By Jack Burden


Jack Critchley, one of the emerging talents in men’s jumping, encountered a significant setback this past weekend when he sustained a serious collarbone injury during the Ski Fluid Classic. The injury, which occurred after recording impressive jumps of 223 feet (68 and 67.9 meters) in the tournament, resulted in three breaks to his clavicle.

Following the incident, the British athlete underwent surgery, requiring 11 screws to repair the damage. “Massive shoutout to Andrews Sports Medicine and Lyle Cain for doing an amazing job putting me back together!!” shared Critchley after his surgery.

Despite the setback, the 27-year-old, who holds the most professional jump victories of any man behind Ryan Dodd and Freddy Krueger over the past decade, remains optimistic about his recovery. He hopes for only “a few weeks break from jumping.”

The professional jump season in 2024 is relatively spread out, with upcoming events like the US Masters and Louisiana Night Jam followed by a break during the slalom-dominated European leg. The season will conclude with the California ProAm, MasterCraft Pro, and King of Darkness later in the year.

It is hoped that Critchley will recover in time for the final three events of the year. He is among the young jumpers aiming to challenge the established champions Dodd and Krueger throughout 2024.

Abelson sets pending world trick record

Abelson and Poland Set Pending World Records at Ski Fluid Classic

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Abelson and Poland set pending world records at Ski Fluid Classic

Abelson sets pending world trick record

Image: @tiaremirandaphotography

By Jack Burden


This past weekend at a record tournament in Central Florida, the season opener on Lake Grew saw the establishment of two pending world records. Fresh off his first score over 12,000 points at the Swiss Pro Tricks, Jake Abelson set a pending world trick record of 12,720. Meanwhile, Joel Poland managed to surpass his current world overall record by the narrowest of margins after delivering strong performances in all three events.

Abelson, the 16-year-old trick phenom, recorded the highest-scoring hand pass of all time, totaling 7,670 points, which included a crowd favorite wake seven front (W7F) right at the buzzer. His score of 12,720 is 30 points higher than the current record held by Patricio Font, but 50 points lower than the pending world record set by Font at the Swiss Pro Tricks last weekend. Consequently, Abelson’s performance will only be recognized as an open world record if Font’s score is downgraded upon review. Additionally, Abelson’s score has the potential to set the under-17 and under-21 world records as well as the US national under-17 and open records. If approved, Abelson will be the first American to hold the men’s world trick record since Cory Pickos in the year 2000, seven years before Abelson was born.

Meanwhile, Joel Poland, the super talent from Great Britain, showcased incredible performances across all three events to surpass his current mark by a razor-thin margin. With scores of 1 @ 10.25m (41’ off), 11,680 points, and 70.3 meters (231 feet), Poland scored just three overall points higher than the current record set at the 2023 Malibu Open. While Poland is capable of more, particularly in the slalom and trick events, the pending record was only his second time surpassing 70 meters (230 feet) since he set the British record of 71.7 meters (235 feet) at the 2023 California ProAm.

Poland shared his elatement with the performances on social media, stating, “Still room for improvement, but I couldn’t be happier! There was a time where I couldn’t even imagine running these scores.” He emphasized, “Some will call it talent, but those around will know it’s a commitment to improving every day.”

The tournament witnessed countless other notable performances, including Freddy Krueger jumping 71.5m (235’), Patricio Font posting another score over 12,000, and the ‘retired’ Scot Ellis leaping 59.5m (195’) in the master’s men’s division.

Regina Jaquess signs with Nautique Boats

Jaquess Signs With Nautique, Ending Two Decades with Malibu Boats

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Regina Jaquess signs with Nautique, ending two decades with Malibu Boats

Regina Jaquess signs with Nautique Boats

Jaquess of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, becomes the newest member of the Nautique Team (image: @nautiqueboats)

By Jack Burden


Regina Jaquess, arguably the greatest female water skier of all time, announced today that she has signed with Nautique Boats, ending a two-decade relationship with Malibu. The 39-year-old is the current world record holder in slalom, setting her most recent mark last year at the Malibu Open.

“I am incredibly honored and excited to represent the Nautique brand,” shared Jaquess in a press release on the decision. She added, “I look forward to competing for many more years and being able to ski behind the #1 towboat in the world every day.”

This marks a significant departure for Jaquess, whose affiliation with Malibu Boats dates back to 2010. At that time, as Malibu’s newest addition to the waterski team, she made history by breaking Kristi Overton Johnson’s world slalom record, which had stood since 1996. Since then, Jaquess has broken the world slalom record eight times, totaling nine records—more than any other woman in history. Few skiers in the world have deeper ties or are more associated with a boat company than Jaquess with Malibu.

However, Jaquess’s move comes amidst significant turbulence at the Tennessee-based boat manufacturer. Malibu has faced scrutiny in recent months, with its stock value plummeting and allegations of inventory fraud emerging from one of the nation’s largest boat dealers. The dismissal of Dennis Kelley, a 30-year company veteran, earlier this year fueled speculation about the discontinuation of the TXi model. While the company has denied these rumors and Malibu Boats Australia recently reaffirmed its commitment to supporting Australian water skiing, the scaling back of support for tournament water skiing in the US has clearly soured Jaquess’ relationship with the company.

In her announcement, Jaquess made what appeared to be a thinly veiled criticism of her former sponsor, expressing excitement at “having the opportunity to align with a company that is true to its water ski heritage.” Ultimately, this marks a disappointing end to one of the most iconic water ski brand relationships of the 21st century.

Nautique appears eager to welcome the disaffected world record holder, with their President, Greg Meloon, expressing enthusiasm for the partnership. “Throughout her career, Regina has set new expectations and inspired the waterski community. We are looking forward to her next level of performance behind the Ski Nautique!”

Jaquess, who has raised the women’s world record from 1 to 5 at 10.25m (41’ off), has her sights set on one final frontier. She expressed her desire to “catch that elusive 6 ball at 10.25m and go beyond into territory no other female water skier has ever ventured.”

The fate of Thomas Degasperi, Malibu’s sole remaining water ski athlete, remains uncertain for now. Losing the support of one of only three boat manufacturers would be a significant blow to the sport. Hopefully, Malibu can weather the storm and bounce back once economic conditions improve. However, for now, Malibu’s loss appears to be Nautique’s gain.

Swiss Pro Tricks on April 21st

Swiss Pro Tricks to Launch the 2024 Waterski Pro Tour

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Swiss Pro Tricks to launch the 2024 Waterski Pro Tour

Swiss Pro Tricks on April 21st

Image: @swissprowaterski

By Jack Burden


For the second consecutive year, the Swiss Pro Tricks has the honor of kicking off the highly anticipated Waterski Pro Tour. Following its success in 2023, this unique trick-only event promises to once again captivate fans with its thrilling performances. With an all-star lineup, including every world trick champion from the past decade, the stage is set for another exhilarating competition.

In its inaugural edition, the Swiss Pro Tricks made history by witnessing three trickers surpass the 12,000-point mark in the same tournament. Joel Poland, Louis Duplan-Fribourg, and Patricio Font all showcased their class during the qualifying rounds, with Font even tying his world record before Poland clinched the event with yet another remarkable 12,000-point performance. The tournament also set a record for the most scores over 11,000 points, including Erika Lang, who achieved the highest score ever by a woman in a professional event on her path to victory.

Reflecting on the excitement and intensity of the event, Trent Finlayson shared on the Waterski Pro Tour podcast, “The skiing was unlike anything that has ever happened in the history of the sport.” He added, “It was so exciting; that was the easiest tournament for me to watch since I’ve been tuning into these pro events on webcasts.” Matteo Luzzeri concurred, stating, “the scores with which both the men and the women were won, these are scores that were unimaginable, let’s say, 10 years ago.”

“Adding another event to the tournament season is awesome for us trickers,” shared Lang after her victory. Similarly, Poland expressed his excitement, stating, “It’s really important for us as trickers to have events; we’ve been lacking a little bit recently.” He added, “Tricking’s coming back! I’m getting goosebumps saying it.”

Building upon the success of the previous year, the 2024 Waterski Pro Tour is poised to reach new heights with increased prize money and the introduction of exciting new events such as the Marrakech K1000 Pro and the Oxfordshire ProAm. While tour events primarily focus on slalom, with only four jump and two trick events planned, the proliferation of slalom competitions promises nonstop viewing action for fans over the summer. Particularly noteworthy are the significant gains in women’s slalom, with 2024 on track to feature the highest professional prize purse in the history of women’s skiing.

The tour’s next stop will be the Swiss Pro Slalom, taking place just two weeks later in Central Florida, before attention shifts to the Masters qualifying series. The battle for the season championship in women’s slalom is anticipated to be fiercely contested, with defending champion Jaimee Bull, world record holder Regina Jaquess, and multiple-time world champion Whitney McClintock Rini vying for supremacy.

With anticipation building, fans eagerly await the start of the Waterski Pro Tour. Who will emerge victorious in 2024?

For more details visit the swissprotricks.com or waterskiprotour.com

Crowds flocked out in droves to watch the 2024 Latin American Waterski Championships

Easter Spectacle: Crowds Flock to the Latin American Water Ski Championships

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Easter spectacle: Crowds flock to the Latin American Water Ski Championships

Crowds flocked out in droves to watch the 2024 Latin American Waterski Championships

The Easter Bunny even made an appearance to entertain the crowd over the weekend (image: @ahumada_esqui_nautico)

By Jack Burden


The picturesque city of Villa Dolores in Córdoba, Argentina, recently played host to the 40th annual Latin American Water Ski Championships. Over 100 athletes from seven different countries across North and South America gathered for a weekend of thrilling competition, spanning various age divisions from under 10 to over 75.

What set this year’s championships apart was the presence of a lively crowd, a rarity at water ski tournaments in recent years. Along the banks of Ahumada Esqui Nautico, spectators gathered to witness the action, creating an almost festival-like atmosphere. From nearby Villa Dolores and beyond, people flocked to the event, drawn not only by the on-water competition but also by the array of off-water attractions, including exhibitions, night skiing, live music, and traditional Argentinian Asado (BBQ).

The crowds were no accident; the tournament organizers put an incredible amount of work into promoting the event on both traditional and social media. They held press conferences alongside city leaders to promote the event to locals. Two prominent TV personalities were onsite promoting the event on social media with high-production value videos. When presented well, even a junior riding over the ramp can be immensely exciting; those of us embedded in the sport tend to forget how extreme much of water skiing is.

On the water, the competition was intense. Latin America has emerged as a powerhouse in elite, particularly junior, water skiing in recent years. The field included multiple junior and Under-21 world champions, such as Tobias Giorgis and Martin Labra. But much of the weekend’s action was not at the elite level; the field was mainly filled with grassroots junior and senior competitors, the kind you’d see at most any tournament across the world. Events like this prove that competition can be exciting and engaging for a wide audience at any level.

Our sport has slowly transitioned from the public to the private sphere over the past 50 years, with almost all high-level skiing now happening on private man-made lakes. This trend, probably unavoidable as the keenest skiers sought better and better training conditions, does not have to mean that all skiing happens behind closed doors.

This year’s Latin American Championships is a great example; Ahumada Esqui Nautico is a private man-made lake, but the organizers put in a huge effort to invite outsiders to the site, providing facilities and off-water attractions, sometimes as simple as adequate shade, to support spectators. All of this takes work, but the rewards are immense.

As the weekend came to a close, it was the host country, Argentina, that emerged victorious in the team competition, marking a triumphant return to the winner’s circle after over a decade. However, the true winner was water skiing itself. After all, if a tournament happens on a lake but nobody is there to see it, did it really happen?

Night show fireworks for Australian water ski nationals return

The TXi is Alive and Well Down Under; Malibu to Support Australian Nationals Through 2030

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The TXi is alive and well down under; Malibu locks in support for Australian Nationals until 2030

Malibu Boats signs with Tournament Water Ski Australia until 2030

Malibu will be the exclusive towboat for the Australian Nationals through to 2030 (image: Mulwala Waterski Club)

By Jack Burden


Amidst speculation surrounding the future of Malibu’s Response TXi model following recent company layoffs, Malibu Boats has solidified its dedication to tournament waterskiing in Australia. The company announced a long-term sponsorship agreement with Waterski & Wakeboard Australia (WAWA), ensuring its support for the Australian National Water Ski Championships until at least 2030.

The announcement, made during the Open finals at the 2024 National Championships by Noel Gordon, a representative of Malibu Boats Australia, reaffirmed Malibu’s longstanding commitment to the sport in Australia. Gordon expressed Malibu’s pride in continuing to sponsor the national championships, highlighting the company’s long history of support for tournament waterskiing in the country.

Mark Quinn, President of Water Ski Australia, echoed Gordon’s sentiments, emphasizing the importance of Malibu’s sponsorship and its positive impact on the sport over the years. “It’s great to have them back on board for the next five years,” shared Quinn, “hopefully we keep running in this direction for many years to come.” Quinn praised Malibu’s involvement in various initiatives, including the New South Wales Malibu Series and junior development programs, underscoring the value of their continued partnership.

The sponsorship announcement comes amidst rumors surrounding the future of the Response TXi model following recent company layoffs. However, Rob Corum, Malibu’s marketing manager, dispelled these rumors, affirming Malibu’s commitment to producing the world-record ski boat for the foreseeable future.

Corum, now overseeing the promo program in the US following Dennis Kelley’s unexpected termination, is collaborating with AWSA to try to maintain the presence of Malibu boats at tournaments across the country. The stated goal is to continue to use all three manufacturers at AWSA Regional and National Championships this year, although there are areas of the country where this may be challenging.

Despite some uncertainties regarding promo boat availability in the US, Malibu remains a key supporter of tournament skiing in Australia. Malibu’s strong presence in Australia dates back to the early 1990s when it acquired Flightcraft, subsequently establishing a manufacturing facility in Albury, New South Wales, in 1994.

The company retains deep ties to the water ski community in Australia, perhaps exemplified by Gordon, who is himself competing in the Australian Nationals this week and whose wife, Cathryn Gordon (née Humphrey) is a former Moomba Masters champion.

The move to sign a long-term deal to continue to support Australian water skiing is a positive sign, signaling that the TXi is here to stay. Gordon, for his part, is adamant, telling us to “look out for the TXi 25, [we’ve] got some improvements coming!”