Moree waterskier Lucy Christie has added another gold medal to her collection after winning the under 21s women’s slalom event at the 2019 Mastercraft Australian Junior Masters, held at her home turf – Moree Water Park.
The win comes off the back of gold at the 2018 Australian Waterskiing Championships, held in Goondiwindi in April last year, and at the under 21s Oz Kiwi Waterski Challenge in New Zealand the month prior.
Christie beat Leah Nowlan to win the under 21s women’s slalom event at Moree Water Park on the weekend.
She was one of about 60 young waterskiers – including her brother Max who placed fifth in the under 14s boys slalom event – to compete in the 2019 Australian Junior Masters.
The Christie siblings were the only local skiers to compete in the national tournament, with other competitors coming from all over the country to take part.
Tournament Waterski Australia chair Stafford Scott said the weekend was a huge success.
“I think for the first major national event to be held at the lakes, it went extremely well,” he said.
“I’m very pleased.
“A lot of the feedback was that everybody enjoyed the tournament, which is only going to get better as each year goes by.
“It’s still early days with the infrastructure; it can only get better.
“I honestly believe that Moree will be the premier water park in Australia. It’s certainly going to be an amazing park in three to five years, once there’s more trees and more shade.”
Moree Water Ski Club president James von Drehnen was harsher on the facility, giving it a seven out of 10, for the fact that there’s still a lot of work to be done.
“We learnt a lot,” he said.
“It was a really good learning experience in preparation for nationals at Easter. The event management and judging is done to the same standard, so it was a really good experience given the nationals are probably going to be six times the size.”
Mr von Drehnen said they received only positive feedback about the jump, which was constructed in the lead-up to the tournament.
It’s estimated that the tournament and the week-long Mastercraft Australian Junior Waterski School brought a few hundred people to Moree, which both Mr von Drehnen and Mr Scott said would have provided a significant boost to the local economy.
<p>Callan Ashcroft competing in the under 17s boys jump event at the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Mastercraft?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Mastercraft</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AustralianJuniorMasters?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AustralianJuniorMasters</a> at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MoreeWaterPark?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MoreeWaterPark</a> today. <a href="https://t.co/5ngN0I9ATJ">pic.twitter.com/5ngN0I9ATJ</a></p>— MoreeChampion (@MoreeChampion) <a href="https://twitter.com/MoreeChampion/status/1086515971928469505?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 19, 2019</a>
“Running the ski school, I spent about $15,000 in the local community, at the caravan park and on food and fuel,” Mr Scott said.
“Tens of thousands of dollars would have been put into the community during a typically quiet week for tourism.”
The Mastercraft Australian Junior Masters and Mastercraft Australian Junior Waterski School will be held in Moree for the next two years, and Mr Scott said there’s no reason that contract can’t be extended if everyone’s happy with the site.
Moree is also set to host the 2019 National Waterskiing Championships over the Easter long weekend.
Mr Scott said although the national championships area rotated from state to state each year, there’s nothing to stop a state from hosting them in another state.
“Once Moree is established, I would guess about 70 per cent of the national championships will be held in Moree,” he said.
“It’s got multiple lakes, which makes a huge difference.”
Moree Water Ski Club is already working towards hosting nationals this year, with plenty still to do to get the park ready. The biggest challenge will be maintaining the water in the lakes while it remains dry.