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27 May 2020
BY DYLAN DE JONG
The postponement of Dimboola’s world-class barefoot water-skiing tournament earlier this year has prompted organisers to prepare for an even bigger event when it can finally go ahead.
Dimboola’s Peter Taylor Barefoot Water Ski Tournament and Night Jump event, which has a reputation as one of the biggest of its kind in Australia, was cancelled in early March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event attracts people from across the country to witness barefoot-skiing championships and spectacular twilight night jumping on the Wimmera River, with a festival atmosphere and fireworks display.
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This year, organisers expected the town of only 1700 people to more than double in size.
Dimboola Boat and Water Ski Club and Barefoot SA collaborate to run the tournament, which generates an estimated $280,000 for the Dimboola economy each year.
South African sensation Andre De Villers, renowned as one of the best barefoot-skiers in the world, and South Australian champion Ben Franks, were set to headline the event.
Dimboola club president Darren Bone said although the committee was devastated to have to cancel, planning would continue for the event.
“When COVID-19 gets knocked on the head, borders open up and other countries open up so we can get Andre in, we’ll run it,” he said.
“Ten months of work went into our event, people don’t realise how much work we’ve done – we were just about on the doorstep of getting everything going.”
Mr Bone said sponsorship from Wimmera businesses and a $5000 State Government commitment to help with advertising and promotion would continue into planning the rescheduled event.
“Every single sponsor has left their money in – we could have given the money back, but they didn’t want it back, they want us to run the event,” he said.
“The general public and Wimmera people who put money in to sponsor this event is huge – they are the most valued asset we’ve got, apart from the river and the skiers putting on the show.”
Mr Bone said the event was only growing in popularity with a reputation as one of the ‘best in the country’.
“It’s a massive drawcard for the tiny, little, town of Dimboola. You get to see the superstars, the best in the world, at our little rowing club. There’s not many places you can travel to see that,” he said.
“This is a premier event. Most barefoot tournaments people just sit on the banks and it’s all over by 4pm, that’s just when our night life starts kicking in.
“We have an added incentive because we have fireworks, and it’s all free. It’s a big, spectacular show – the atmosphere is second to nothing.
“If you’ve never witnessed this, I can guarantee you’ll walk away gobsmacked. The skiers go up to 14-feet high in the air and travel up to 28 metres in distance.”
Mr Bone said although Australia’s borders were shut, De Villers was determined to make the event should it be rescheduled.
“We’ve got to wait until all the border crossings open and we have wait and see how other countries are travelling,” he said.
“Andre De Villers wants to come back – he’s absolutely brilliant. He was planning to do a flip off the top of the barefoot jump and then ski – the world’s never seen that before.”
The entire May 27, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!
The entire May 27, 2020 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!