Water skiing: It’s fun at any age

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 21, 2006

By Erin Murtaugh, special to the Tribune

Although you may find many people boating, walking, swimming or gardening on a nice summer day in Albert Lea, another very popular activity is water skiing.

Some ski as part of the Bayside Water Ski Show Team and others do it for fun.

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I do both.

I was taught how to water ski when I was 6. I started out by holding onto a boom, which is a metal bar that attaches to the side of the boat. Once I got the hang of that, I moved on to use the boom with a short rope handle. Finally, I got behind the boat and skied with a 75-foot-long rope.

I’m always trying to learn new things to do on the water. New for me this year is the ballet line. That’s where a line of girls stands on the dock with one ski, and hops off the dock together as the boat takes off. Members of the ballet line move their arms together in unison. I’m currently in ballet line, strap and conventional doubles, pyramids and the two-ski line for the Bayside Water Ski shows.

I love water skiing because of the variety of things a person can do:

wakeboarding, barefooting, kneeboarding, swiveling, wakeskating &045;&160;the possibilities are endless.

I go to practices for the ski team Monday through Thursday, when weather permits, and go out on the water with my family on the weekends from early June through Labor Day.

But what about winter? Well, the ski team meets at the YMCA in the winter and we go in the swimming pool to practice pyramids or near the racquetball courts to practice trios, conventional doubles, and strap doubles.

My little sister, Tierney, who is 4 years old, decided she wanted to ski this summer. She was so excited when her wetsuit arrived in the mail. Soon after, we took her out in the boat to try skiing on the boom. She got out in the water, and while she hasn’t actually skied yet, she is practicing the proper way to hold on, sit in the water and keep the tips of her trainer skis out of the water.

That rascal!

Water skiing is very much a family-oriented event.

My friend, Kristina Larsen, has a Border Collie-Blue Heeler mix named Murray. Boy, he’s quite the dog. He and Kristina’s dad, Erik, have even water skied together, but that’s a different story to tell.

Mike Johnson and his daughter, Trinity, have been skiing together since Trinity was 9 months old. Trinity is now 2 1/2 and knows quite a bit about what she’s doing. They are just one of the many father-daughter couples in Bayside.

It’s so much fun, some people just don’t want to put the boat and skis away for the winter. A few years ago, former club member Curtis Clarambeau went water sking in a Santa Claus suit shortly before Christmas. (Open water is needed for this.) My dad went water skiing in a skeleton mask on Halloween of 2004. I went water skiing on Oct. 30, 2005, in a cape and ghoul mask waving to everyone I saw.

I have helped a few friends learn to ski along the way. All of them enjoyed it very much. Everyone of them got up with a huge grin on their face.

I hope everyone comes out to see the many talented skiers July 29 and 30 during the Midwest Regional Water Ski Show Tournament, held at the Bayside Skiers’ site on Edgewater Bay of Fountain Lake. And don’t forget, the ski team presents free shows every Thursday at 7 p.m.