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

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


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?

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Marcos Mendelson
1 month ago

Fantabulous . A great family has made it happen . Created a lake out of nothing in the middle of a desert in the countryside situated a few kilometres away ftom the mentioned city to the west of Cordoba Capital. A mayor progress for the region , Cordoba and Argentina . The private sector plays an important role . The Ahumadas have been the driving force to enhance sports in this deserted area . Congratulations !

Travis Anderson
1 month ago

More tournaments can be like this. I think about Jay Bennett’s LA Night Jam. What a blast! Lot’s of non-skiers show up.
Kudos to the Argentineans who put on this great event!