With a year to go ‘til Australia will send its Junior, Senior and Open teams to Texas USA to compete for gold, The Australian Squads have got together for a massive training school set across two states. The Girls headed to the Coomera River in the gold coast and the boys were at Forster, staying on the river in the Wallamba River Holiday Park. We caught up with the boys and spent a day at the famous Barefooters Paradise.
Wallamba River Holiday Park proved to be an ideal training ground for our first Aussie training camp. Water conditions were nothing short of superb, with glass conditions all week. Even when the wind blew later in the week we were able to find a suitable straight to work on some new skills. This was backed up by the amazing facilities back on shore. The deluxe waterfront villas were spacious, modern and a warm haven where the team recovered after skiing in air temperatures as low as 4 degrees. The park is owned by Aspen Parks and is well equipped for group accommodation with villas sleeping up to six people. There is a great camp kitchen and beautiful riverfront deck area on which to sit back at the end of a days skiing and enjoy the sunset or watch the last crazy barefooter strut their “stuff”.
Chris Marrinan made the trip from North Queensland. He had put his mind to lifting his trick score but this young man is Australia’s next big hopeful in the Jump event and when he showed his style on the ramp with some brilliant jumping the two upcoming Juniors Ben Franks (Morgan, SA) and Keenan Derry (Central Coast, NSW) really took notice.
Sydney local Gavin Beattie (who took Gold in the Slalom event at the Junior World Titles last year) is a young man stepping out of juniors and living up to all challenges thrown at him. Already an accomplished slalomer, his talent in the trick pass is being unleashed and his feet to feet toe turns were a pleasure to watch.
Earlier in the week Benny (nick named “Manchild since 2009, but now 15 years old and big enough to rip apart a tank and feast on its missiles) was taking his first few attempts at inverting and did well. His slalom and tricks impressed as well. His counterpart and cheeky partner in crime with the frame of a wombat, Keenan was in fine form, both on the ramp and out learning some new surface turns. Learning to put aside his playful attitude and concentrate was one of the lessons this talented footer learnt from Australian Junior coach Pete O’Neill.
Pete O’Neill and Kenny Derry led by example coaching the kids alongside Glen Haggith (Open coach) and showed why they are a leading force in the sport. Pete took out the Australian Open Title at this year’s Nationals and as always continues to inspire the kids with his amazing coaching techniques. Kenny (current world record holder in Senior Mens Slalom) was coaching the team for the first time and I am sure all benefitted from his knowledge. Both Pete and Kenny enjoyed getting their feet wet at the end of each day with their own training session. The new Open and Senior Australian Coach Glen was a star on the rugby field in his day and his passion for barefooting and eye for detail have put him in the role and will ensure his success.
The camp was missing four skiers Darcy Arnel (recovering from ankle surgery), Ash Milner (taking a break after a long trip to China show skiing), Brendan Paige missing the winter and spying on our competition in The States and Jake Rouse, who had school commitments (at the snow, so jealous).
Another camp was held during September (after this mag went to print) and the gang will be training hard in order to get themselves into a winning position for the 2012 Worlds.
The Australian Squad wish to thank the Holiday Park for being tremendous hosts, as well as the NSW Barefoot Club for the use of their Custom Outboard boat.
The Wallamba River Holiday Park lies on the outskirts of Forster, three and a half hours north of Sydney and is one of waterskiing’s best kept secrets.
For any barefooter, it truly is a skiing paradise. There are two easily accessible boat ramps in the park, long sandy beaches from which to ski and accommodation to suit all budgets and styles. If you haven’t ventured to this piece of paradise on the Mid North Coast of NSW, why not give it a try this summer. You won’t be disappointed!
If you think you’ve got what it takes to be the next Aussie team member – start training now. Visit the AWWF website to get into contact with your local state for specialised coaching.
written by: Peter Franks