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Our Stories - 2012 World Waterski Record

We did it! 145 over the line! On Friday 27th January 2012 the Eagle pulled 154 skiers from the deep and 145 made the full nautical mile distance - SMASHING the old record of 114 skiers behind one boat.

The team was much bigger then just 154 skiers. There were also reserve skiers, in the water volunteers, on the beach volunteers, support boat volunteers, sponsors, catering volunteers, organisers, committee members, general helpers, Strahan police and towns people and even friendly strangers willing to offer a hand, AND all the family and friends that supported these wonderful people, including the grandparents that babysat to free up the parents!

Our heart-felt THANKS to you all! Here are some of your stories...

[ by Kelly Berggren - Skier from HWSC since age 3ish, skier position L45 & Web Seven director ]

Up at 5.30am, bathers on, warm clothes on and off to the beach to check in - no food or drinks (dont want those coming back up during the nervious waiting!!!) and hope that the catering team dont make us all really hungry by cooking the snags too soon!

My stomach was fluttering like mad for most of the wait on the beach (ugg boots remained ON this time, keeping my toes toasty - unlike for Run #1) and everyone laughed at me since I just couldn't stand still! It was a good time to get to know my team members (15 skiers per team - go Team Marek!) and a feeling of support and connection grew quickly. This wait was better then the day before since we could see the rope crew were way ahead on time and that the sun was going to shine on glass water for the run - a big improvement over the raining choppy soup we had for Run #1 the day before.

Goal one was to make it up - "Stay down, reduce drag, roll up"

Goal two was to make it over the line - "Just grip it no matter what! Arms straight, knees bent!"

It would be really sweet if our entire team made it over the line together - but we'd need a lot of luck to manage that - it was too easy to get bumped off from another ski locking on top or under your ski because there just wasn't any room to move away.

7.15am rolled around and saw 154 skiers entering the water while dawn broke over the mountains behind Strahan. A huge effort from the organisers and volunteers had the ropes connected to the Eagle so fast that we were ready to ski an hour earlier than the day before. The Eagle had been anchored in the bay overnight, perfectly in position and with the boom in place, which allowed the speedy rope connection.

We entered the water in teams, from the center out. I was position L45 - middle of the left side ("Sweet, I'm outside the wake!"). Walk in, grab your handle. Walk out with the Eagle trawlling to start depth (which meant I was on tip-toe and Bianca next to me was swimming while the tall guys beside us laughed!). Skis on (tricky!) but dont drop your handle! Then into position with skis neatly tucked under, toes up, arms straight.... ready.... wait for the double honk from the Eagle..... oops! "Need a new ski here! Bindings buggered up!" x 2... ready... wait for the blasts... GO!!!!!

The drag was tiny - only 25 seconds - and nearly everyone was up. We had to concentrate and focus on form, making sure skis over-lapped as little as possible (very hard to uncross them without falling off once over-lapped). The space for each skier was only 55 to 80 cms! Should to shoulder!

Once up the focus is on staying the distance - with no mucking around! Legs and lower backs get tired first. Changing stance slightly by bending knees more or straightening backs and standing a little taller helped.

It was amazing the difference good weather makes. The day before it was pure grit and guts to hang on through the surf, with waves pounding in every second or two, which you either had to bash through, jump over or really focus on using your knees to absorb the roll. Even the strongest skiers were gritting their teeth and clenching handles to make it - the majority of skiers were suffering pumped out thighs, forearms and biceps, aching lower backs and cramped hands. Mantras like "just grip it!", "nearly there!" and "arms straight, knees bent!" would have been going through most skiers heads non-stop. I know I couldn't even spare a glance at the rest of the line - total focus on watching my space in front of the boom, shaking off water every 2 seconds so I could see.

The smooth water made a real difference. I actually got to look around and see the sweeping curve of skiers stretch out to the horizon. I noticed 5 spare handles collected by the skiers to my left - bugger, looks like we lost 5 there! - but that looked like it on our side! WOOHOO!!! If we can hold it there then the record looked good...

Poor Bianca had to put up with me spouting off non-stop: "Watch your form everyone. Straight arms, bent knees! Bend your knees more for those little rollers - dont fall off now! Nearly there! No mucking around boys!" There were smiles flashing all up and down the line.

Then the horn blasted again, the boat slowed and once we were all in the water we dropped handles and relaxed. Nic called out "148!!!!" (easy to miscount that many people without a photo to look at!). We just let it rip with the "YAH-HOO!". Everyone was grinning set to break their faces. The support boats were there in a flash to start hauling us in, asking what the total was and if we'd done it.

YES WE HAD! This record should stand for decades!

Hi to the Ski Record Team/Committee
I am one of the unfortunate few who didn't "make it over the line". We all have stories to tell but who really wants to hear from someone with a hard luck story when everyone else is buzzing about. I am doing this partly for therapy for myself but mostly to whole heartedly congratulate the entire Committee behind this record effort not only last weekend but over the last 20 months or so.

Two months ago, I knew absolutely no-one coming into this experience, as I responded to an advertisement in the Advertiser newspaper requesting 'skiers' to think about involvement. The short journey I have been on to ultimately be a part of a successful attempt has been nothing less than a pleasure. Even though my busy time commitments in Launceston kept me
from assisting in the working bees in Devonport, I have still very much felt a part of the whole process through the ongoing email contacts. Thank you very much for this 'personable' approach, even down to the sms text messaging over the record attempt days.

It has been an absolute pleasure to meet so many of you, thank you for staging this record attempt in such a professional and well organised manner, failure was no longer a part of your itinerary.

Blue skies and light winds
Steve Smedley

Comments & Feedback from around the world...

If you'd like to leave a message / comment / feedback here, please email

"I think this is such an incredible event that is taking place that involves an amazing team of people and a true demonstration of what the True Aussie Spirit is! I am a Sydney city chick who flew in to try out for this event and been priviledge to be accepted as part of the the team, through their dedication and coaching! The amount of dedication, hours, volunteers, engineering and planning that goes into this event is phenominal. It's not every day the get the chance to break a world record and with such an awesome team of Aussies."
Natalie Ryan, Sydney, now a World Record Skier!

"Big thanks to one & all…. For a golden opportunity for our boys… Once in a lifetime???…Hope not!! Be there next time!! May even get out of the kitchen & ski… instead of scoot …!

Please pass on our gratitude to all the “beautiful generous”… people… one dream… one step… one flake… one snowball…one river…. one boat… & a dream come true for all… imagination is the beginning of all dreams…
My heartfelt thanks to the dreamers… tis not often 3 of your 5 sons manage to enjoy such an opportunity.

Tad difficult taking photos on a jet ski… as you can see… so that was all I managed to get on the poor iPhone.. Don’t suppose they were designed for those conditions… not classified as “executive” conditions!

The entire event was orchestrated to perfection… certainly no complaints from us.. Not even that you have forgotten my name… lol…. I suppose “Oops” is better than the “jet ski floozy” which is what I copped jumping from one to the other….

Will there be any clips of day 1 attempt…?? That was awesome….in it’s own right!
Once again… xxoooxx to all… you are appreciated!
Ciao "

Ooops… from Meadowbank…(Dana)

2010 record comment

"I had to see it to believe it! Fascinating. What a collective effort by so many silent heroes. Since 1986, numerous clubs have attempted to get over 100 skiers up and going behind one vessel. Apparently, the process took several days to accomplish, an impressive set of booms engineered by the Horsehead companies own personnel and "tough and determined skiers" from all over Australia. Huge investment on the odd likelihood they'd git-r-dun.

I am ranking this as one of my favorite skiing success stories of all times. Let me guess, it was probably cold at the time (added degree of difficulty). I will buy my first Guiness Book just to share this human-interest story with friends, skiers and future generations to come... "

Willie P. Farrell - comment posted on

Hi Willie.
Thanks for your positive thoughts.
It was a 25 year dream, which eventually came together after 4 road trips by a huge team to a remote location where there were 8 attempts between 2008 and 2010.
1000 people would have contributed over 10,000 man hours in a myriad of ways both big and small. We consider the record belongs to all the Tasmanian community.
David Bennett (On behalf of the World Record Organising Committee)