Australia dominates thrilling week at Waterski Racing World Championships in Tenerife, Spain
The beautiful venue of Puerto Colon in Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands witnessed this week one of the most exciting Waterski Racing World Championships ever staged by the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF). With light breezes and 25C / 80F temperatures throughout, this all helped to create a perfect World Championships.
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Great Britain, New Zealand, Spain and USA provided 66 teams of Drivers, Observers and Skiers in an effort to capture the much coveted titles of IWWF World Champion. The categories were Open Men, Open Women, Formula 2 Men and Formula 2 Women, plus Junior Boys and Junior Girls. Both Great Britain and Belgium alone entered a very impressive eleven boats each !
With four separate Races over the week-long event, each separated by a rest day required for extensive race preparation, the stresses involved in coping with speeds approaching 160kph were enormous. This is an extreme sport!
Australia dominated the 2011 World Championships. Apart from Leanne Campbell (AUS) in Formula 2 Women, none of the reigning champions were here to defend their titles this time. On the face of it, this should have opened up the possibilities for all.
In Open Men, the two-time World and SRC Champion Wayne Mawer from Cairns in Australia, set the pace for the testing week ahead. He has competed since the age of six. When he first exploded on to the scene at the famous Diamond Race in Belgium back in 1996, all knew he was destined for greatness. Here in Tenerife, once again this super star dominated Races 1, 2 and 3 and took second in Race 4. Although Todd Haig (USA) and Codie Rigg (AUS) got close, the legend Mawer certainly deserved that 2013 Gold Medal and World Champion title once again.
In Open Women, it was Australian Trudi Stout and her team which were in a league of their own. In taking top honors in all four races, this was quite an extraordinary achievement. Kathrin Ortlieb (AUT) and Erin De Yager (USA) took the Silver and Bronze Medals. With such a strong set of performances by the Australian athletes at this stage, clearly they were here to dominate yet again as they had back in 2011.
In Formula 2 Men and Women, of the six World Championships medals available, Australia captured no less than five! In the Men’s event, there was a fantastic battle for the top slot. In Race 1, it was Australia’s Jake Tegart who took the honours. In Race 2, it was Ben Gulley (AUS) who rose to the top. In Race 3, Jake Tegart then responded again with a win. Finally, in Race 4, it was Ben Gulley who took the Gold Medal by a slim margin of just 10 points. Andy Anderson (USA) took third place.
With the World Champion Leanne Campbell (AUS) here to defend her Women’s Formula 2 title, to the surprise of many, it was Sarah Teelow (AUS) who absolutely dominated the first two races. Leanne Campbell called on all her experience and then took Race 3. Now it was all down to Race 4 to produce the new World Champion. In a very close finish, Sarah Teelow, daughter of two-time World Champion Tania Teelow from Geelong, did what was required, beating Campbell by just six points in the end. Kelsey Feros, the 2011 Junior Girls Champion, took the Formula 2 Bronze Medal.
Finally, the Juniors turn arrived with nine Boys Teams and eight Girls Teams. Wakeboarder, Wakeskater, Waterskier and Ski Racer Jack Harrison must have been inspired by the other Australian performances. There was no doubting who would take this Junior Boys Gold Medal as he won Races 1,2 and 3 in style. Mitchell Horan (NZL) and Jake Vanzetta (AUS) took the Silver and Bronze awards. In Junior Girls, Belgium’s Haley Van de Ven was impressive throughout. However, again the real battle was between two Australian’s Rachel Stapleton and Ellen Jones. Stapleton, almost unbeatable and winner of the recent Nautilus Marine Championships, did not have it easy as Jones took two of the four Races. However, Stapleton’s winning record continued and she will now take the Junior Girls World Championships Gold Medal home to Australia.
The Team element in Waterski Racing is a unique and vital feature of the sport. Without the combined skills of the Skier, Driver and Observer, success is impossible. This makes the Team Results all the more valued. By the time the scores were calculated, it was no surprise this year to see how well Australia had performed throughout. No doubt they will return in force to defend their titles once again in 2015!
3. Great Britain
2. Great Britain
2. Great Britain
Vera Van den Bossche
INTERNATIONAL WATERSKI & WAKEBOARD FEDERATION