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    Champion barefoot skier Keenan Derry sprays Ben franks and Peter Roberts at Dimboola Ski Club's Peter Taylor Barefoot Waterski tournament on the Wimmera River at Dimboola.

Dimboola set for barefoot bonanza


Dimboola’s reputation as a world-class barefoot water-skiing hub has gained further traction with the sport’s leading body in Australia urging international competitors to compete in the Wimmera town.

Barefoot Australia officials are advocating competitors preparing for World Barefoot Titles in New South Wales in April to use the third Peter Taylor Memorial Barefoot Water Ski Tournament and Night Jump as a lead-in, warm-up event.

The Dimboola tournament, which combines barefoot championships and spectacular twilight night jumping on the Wimmera River with a festival and fireworks atmosphere, is on March 27 and 28.

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The two-day event generates an estimated $280,000 for the Dimboola economy.

The endorsement from the sport’s leading administrators and competitors comes on the back of a $5000 State Government funding commitment to help with advertising and promotion.

Dimboola Boat and Water Ski Club and Barefoot SA collaborate to run the tournament and night jump, with organisers already confirming a field including some of the best exponents of the sport in the world.

South African sensation Andre De Villers, renowned as one of the best barefoot skiers in the world, is among headline competitors and South Australian Ben Franks will be returning to defend his Peter Taylor title before representing Australia in the world titles.

Dimboola Boat and Water Ski Club president Darren Bone said expectations were that up to 1800 people would line the banks of the Wimmera River to watch the action unfold in March.

“This will be the biggest barefoot event we’ve had by far and it is going to be sensational,” he said.

“What we see on the river over the two days is some of the best action you would hope to see anywhere in the world and it all happens in a highly charged environmental setting under lights with commentary and music.

“There is nothing quite like this event anywhere else. 

“It’s unique and means Dimboola can lay claim as the thrill-seeker sporting capital of western Victoria.

“We have people travelling from all over the country and beyond to see everyone unfold and for good reason – it is astonishing what some of these barefoot skiers attempt.”

The night jump part of festivities is a major highlight of the two days.  Skiers launch themselves from a one-metre-high barefoot jump at speeds of up to 70 kilometres an hour to jump distances of more than 26 metres.

Mr Bone said the hope was new Flycraft boats specifically designed for barefoot skiing would also be on display.

Added incentive

He said prizemoney had provided added incentive, along with competitors keen to honour the memory of the late Peter Taylor, to ensure a high-quality field.

“We had a crowd of about 1000 last year and I’m tipping that will climb to 1800 this March,” he said.

“My advice is for people to get in early to get a space on the bank.

“The event is much more than a competition on the river. It is a weekend celebration that ends with a staggering fireworks display that earlier this year left people spellbound.”

Mr Bone thanked the State Government for its support in recognising the event’s growing importance, patronage and role in generating tourism in the region.

“We’re over the moon in attracting this sort of support and it’s great to be recognised for what we’re trying to achieve,” he said.

Labor Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford said funding had come from the government’s $20-million Regional Events Fund, designed to help generate jobs and regional attractions.

“We’re so proud to support events like the 2020 Peter Taylor Memorial Barefoot Water Ski Tournament and Night Jump,” she said.

“These events attract visitors to all corners of the state, capitalising on regional tourism strengths and generating significant economic benefits to our regional communities and businesses.”

The entire December 18, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire December 18,, 2019 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!