Lough Erne, in the west of Northern Ireland, is surrounded by some of Europe's most non-congested waterways. This lakeside area contains 154 islands and is ideal for Sailing, cruising, canoeing and fishing. Enniskillen, the island town in the centre, was originally the home of medieval chieftains and is Ireland's only island town. Following many months of preparations by Northern Ireland Events Company, the biggest waterski event to be staged this year in Europe is on the way! The final Stop of the 2005 Waterski World Cup will take place in front of Enniskillen Castle on September 24-25.
Only those who have reached the top of the world ranking lists of the International Waterski Federation in slalom, tricks and jump will qualify for entry. Fresh from a thrilling Stop in Dubna in Russia, a large squad of 75 athletes and officials from 16 countries will be involved. As this is the final stop of the 2005 season, special crystal trophies commissioned locally by Waterways Ireland will be presented to the year's World Cup winners.
Included in the impressive line-up of male and female athletes are many of the new world champions crowned in Tianjin, China just three weeks ago. World jump champions Jaret Llewellyn (CAN) and Ageliki Andriopoulou (GRE) will perform on the special jump ramp that was constructed in the United States. A team from the Irish Waterski Federation will install this in the coming days. With possible distances of up to 72m / 236ft, this event promises to be quite spectacular. Seeing these extreme performances in the shadow of Enniskillen Castle could well be the highlight of the Waterski World Cup year.
World Trick Champions Nicolas LeForestier (FRA) and Mandy Nightingale (USA) will also compete. They will attempt to execute over 20 complex tricks in just 20 seconds, including as many as six flips. LeForestier set a new World Record just two weeks ago of 12,400 points in France and if conditions are suitable, Enniskillen could be the place for this to be exceeded. Nightingale also won the US Open Tricks title last weekend at Disney World in Orlando.
In Slalom, Jeff Rodgers (USA) will perform on the Erne and try to regain the World Record title he held for six years. Ireland's national slalom champion, Rodney Watson from Belfast, set a new Irish National Slalom Record just last weekend, and he will also take on the best skiers in the world. Natalie Hamrick (USA), the 2004 World Cup slalom champion, will again fight hard to retain her title.
The downtown Enniskillen site beside the Lakeland Forum Centre is perfect for spectators. Entry will be free and the athletes will be available for autographs throughout the weekend. A special television show has been commissioned and Downtown Radio / Cool FM will broadcast live throughout the event. The specialized MasterCraft boats with their totally sealed and environmentally friendly engines will play a major role in providing perfect towing conditions. Fermanagh District Council has also worked hard to ensure that the site facilities are of the highest standard.
Local hotels have already reported high levels of bookings. With 16 countries involved, including Mexico, Argentina, Australia and Switzerland, Enniskillen promises to be a very colorful island town on September 24-25.
CONTACT : Des Burke-Kennedy, Media Chairman, International Waterski Federation