Big future for water sport tourism

Making waves: John Schottelius is thinking big at Seelands.
Making waves: John Schottelius is thinking big at Seelands. Adam Hourigan

CLARENCE Valley residents have one of Australia's best rivers for powered water sports right under their noses according to water-ski/wakeboard instructor, John Schottelius and he's dying to teach them how to make the most of it.

Mr Schottelius recently founded the Synergy Ski School at the Big River Holiday Park and Ski Lodge near Seelands which will give people wanting to try their hands at water-skiing, barefoot skiing and also wakeboarding the skills they need to begin.

“We started here in September after I'd just come back from four years of travelling between Australia and North America,” Mr Schottelius said.

“It was interesting; while I was overseas I saw that these schools could be done and that there was a bit of a gap here for one.”

Mr Schottelius said the school catered for those just beginning to get their feet wet, right through to advanced skiers and wake boarders and said the water sports could be taken up by almost anyone of almost any age.

“The greatest aspect of these is that they're family sports; you have mum and dad in the boat, the kids out the back – that's the most unique aspect about it, everyone can be there together,” he said.

Mr Schottelius said the Clarence River was ideal for wake boarders and water-skiers and he said there was no reason the area could not become a major destination for powered water sport tourism in the future.

“A lot of these people who stay here in the park travel four or five hours past a lot of other good spots just to come here; that's how good they think it is,” he said.

“So it definitely has the potential.

“If you look at Victoria, for example, where people from Melbourne travel three to four hours every weekend up to the Murray and all those sorts of locations, this area here has the same potential for the people who live at Brisbane and the Gold Coast.”

He said the river was particularly attractive to wake boarders and said the upcoming Monster Energy Pro-Wake Show next weekend would do wonders in promoting the area to both the national and international wakeboarding communities.

Mr Schottelius said his school had been popular with out-of-town guests at the ski lodge but said he'd love to get more locals from the Clarence Valley involved.

More information about the school can be found at

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