Skiers to hit the Clarence

MORE than 80 skiers will brave the cooling water as more than 30 boats converge on the Clarence River this weekend for two days of water ski racing to be hosted by the Big River Ski Club.

The President’s Cup is round one of the 2010/2011 East Coast Series and has attracted boats from Northern NSW to Central Queensland. Included in the field is current Australian women’s team member Susan Cartwright, as well as a number of state and national title holders.

Big River Ski Club president Michal Gane said this year’s race had seen an influx of local competitors.

“The club is focusing on racing at a grass roots level and we are seeing the benefits with a number of new boats and junior skiers. Ryan Gorton, Andrew Lemin and Brandon Disson are three locals making their Grafton racing debut in the sub-junior division,” he said.

“The President’s Cup dates back to the late 1970s so it is terrific to integrate the history and traditions of the sport with the latest generation of skiers and equipment.”

Local boats are also expected to perform well, with Mark Stephenson’s “Ironic” and Mark Smidt’s “Coyote” both competing in the unlimited outboard class.

Racing will take place over a 10km course around Susan Island, with the start/finish line adjacent to the Crown Hotel jetty. Event one is the next generation skiers starting at 12.30pm tomorrow, with the final event being the 80km President’s Cup expected to finish around lunchtime Sunday.



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