Pro slalom skier Bill Susi is covering the 2010 Moomba Masters for waterskimag.com. He’ll provide daily updates with results and commentary, so stay tuned to waterskimag.com.
The final day at Moomba Masters had it all. The Yarra was being its typical self and the competition saw run offs and lots of controversy. The day started off with a huge parade downtown, so a few of us strolled down to check it out. The city was packed as people celebrated their Labor Day holiday while we grabbed lunch and watched. After the show ended, the entire crowd headed towards the river for the start of the Masters.
One of the best parts about this event is that we ski at prime time, which helps both the skiers and the fans. Slalom and jump go from 3-7 p.m. with some exhibitions in between. By the time we make our way to the site, there is already a steady crowd.
The river was raging when the women skied and the conditions were at their worst. The girls were literally dodging branches and debris while the current was pumping strong. In fact, a few of them came out with war wounds from their set. Cathryn Humphrey was first off and scrapped her way to 2 at 35’ off. None of the girls could catch her and she ended up winning her first pro event.
The conditions never got better for the men and things got intense real fast. Aaron Larkin went down at 2 ball at 35’ off but protested that he hit something at buoy 1 and was granted the only re-ride of the day. He made the most of it, taking the lead of 2.5 at 38’ off. No one would catch him until Chris Parrish hit the water. He looked like he was going to win it all, but the Yarra ate him up as he stretched for 4 ball.
For the second time in three years, the two would run off for the win. Larkin went first and ran 35’ and Parrish could not match it, giving Aaron his second major win.
The crowds were packed in for jump and I have honestly never seen a more enthusiastic group. They would chant skiers’ names and get loud for the late cuts. Damien Sharman and Tom Asher were tied for the lead when top seed Freddy Krueger got on the water. I was assuming Freddy would boot one as usual but it never happened, leaving a jump-off for the win. In the end, Damien nailed a huge jump to take the big W. The skier’s area was going off just as much as the spectators which is pretty rare.
This years’ Moomba Masters proved why it is still the best pro water ski tournament around. Thousands and thousands of fans poured in to watch and get loud. Its one of the only events where, as an athlete, you can go into a bar the night before and meet fans, and then see them hollering on the shoreline the next day. I can only hope next year goes better for me, so I can see what it feels like to ski on Moomba Monday.