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Ski Contest Warmup Knockout Affair

July 27, 1963.

Times Colonist

By Iain Hunter


All this week members of Victoria Aqua Ski Club are literally knocking themselves out on the surface of Shawnigan Lake.


They are determined to put on a good show for spectators at the BC Open waterskiing championships this weekend.


Champion skiers from all over Canada and the US will take part in the meet which will be run from Mountain View Lodge on the east side of the lake Saturday and Sunday.


Although the out-of-towners are master of trick skiing, slalom and jumping, local veterans will not be outdone.


And they have taken some pretty hard knocks and burned up to 45 gallons of gas a day in practising for the show.


They were hard at it when a photographer and reporter went to the lake Tuesday.


Club president, Chuck Dumaresq has built himself a kite which he hopes to be able to fly during the meet.


Of aluminum frame with a dacron sail, the kite is designed to lift him upwards of 30 feet off the water behind a boat.



But in gusty weather in the past Chuck has taken some unexpected flights, and more than once has plummeted in a tangle of sail and harness to the hard water surface.


“Call me chicken if you like,” he said cheerfully, swimming out from under his upside-down kite, “but I’m not doing it if there’s any wind.”


Bill Hughes’ specialty is skiing barefoot, and his prowess in this event won him membership in the American society for champions.


On Tuesday it was choppy at Shawnigan, but Bill leaped off his single slalom ski barefooted behind a boat going 38 miles per hour.  A geyser of spray signified he had landed on both feet squarely, and the boat was up to 40 miles an hour.


A series of lesser waterspouts, as if a giant was skipping boulders along the lake announced he had somersaulted.


“You just learn to fall,” he assured worried onlookers, shrugging his shoulders.


He said that while choppy water causes him to “toe in”, he had suffered burns on the bottom of his feet after skiing long distances of a dead calm surface.


Cliff Johnson, the club’s best jumper, demonstrated his technique on home=made skis at the six-foot ramp.


95-Foot Jump

Swooping on to the ramp at 50 to 60 mph, he has jumped a clear 95 feet, and this weekend intended reaching the 100-foot mark.


But Tuesday his new skis stuck on the dry surface of the ramp and he came down at full speed upside down, knocking himself unconscious.


Minutes later he soared again off the ramp which had been watered down.  This time he landed on his feet.


Five club members also have prepared a human pyramid for the show Saturday and Sunday.

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