Jones clan to take on world
IMAGINE for a moment being dragged behind a 250 horse-power speed boat travelling at 100km/h through a canal no wider than a football field.
Now imagine 50 other boats and skiers speeding alongside you, a race so congested, any small mistake will result in certain disaster against the 10-metre high, concrete-covered canal walls.
Kylee Jones will face all these testing scenarios when she straps on her skis for the World Championship of Waterski Racing in Belgium starting in July.
The former Clarence Valley resident will speed through the country's canals, battling her way to dominance over skiing squads from across the globe
She will place her faith in only her skills and the driver responsible for navigating the boat through Belgium's notoriously skinny waterways.
Luckily for her, the man behind the wheel will be her father, Lex Jones.
“Seeing the canals are concrete lined, you're virtually running in a tunnel of water,” he said.
“The waves hit (the wall) and come straight back at you ... it's just a washing machine.
“It won't be full-on speed over there, it will be a matter of keeping your skier up.”
Lex, of Grafton, said the logistics needed to bring a world title, not to mention the skier, home safely were mind boggling
“There will be about 50 boats in the five-kilometre track, 100 metres wide ... at the most you are only to get two around the corners,” he said.
“The ropes are a maximum of 180 feet ... because if the ropes are too long the boat will be going back in the other direction before the skier has come around the corner.”
However, the equation for success is considerably lessened when the competitor skiing behind your 21-foot Cyclone Kevlar boat is your own flesh and blood.
“Well we know each other pretty well, I usually slow down before she needs it,” Lex said.
“Then again she's not frightened to tell me what to do at the end of the race if I've been babying her a bit.
“She usually has more ability than the boat in the good water.”
To qualify for the World Championship, the Jones team had to compete at the seven round, five-month long Australian world selection circuit.
The circuit was no mean feat with the team travelling to the Hawkesbury River, Gosford Bay and Swan Hill to race.
With Lex, the former president of Zone Three, at the wheel of their family boat, Rumours, and Kylee carving across the water behind, the team won the first two races before finishing second at the next four.
In equal first position and with one race left to go in the circuit, Kylee was selected as one of only three female competitors to join the 30-member Australian World Championship squad.
Kylee, now living in Sydney, has been grabbing every opportunity she can in preparation for the tricky conditions awaiting her in Belgium.
“Every weekend (she's) on the water in the bay ski racing ... and when she flies home I take her skiing here,” Lex said.
“In Sydney Harbour they jump over ferry washes and that sort of stuff.