Learning the ropes of waterskiing

  • Community
  • Wednesday, 13 May 2009

It was a surprise to find out that water skiing in the country has been around for more than 10 years.

To top it off, Malaysia even had a national team back in 1997 comprising Adam Lokman, Alex Yoong and Phillipa Yoong who competed in the Jakarta Sea Games and made the country proud with four medals.

However, the glory was shortlived when Phillipa decided to further her studies overseas while her brother Alex, concentrated on the Formula 1 and now the A1 Grand Prix.

Minus the competitions, the sport continued as a recreation in Taman Desa and Sungai Buloh.

Hoping to resurrect interest in water skiing upon returning to Malaysia, 31-year-old Phillipa and her team of dedicated trainers now hold classes for enthusiasts of all ages at Putrajaya’s Precint 6 lake.

“We want to spur the growth of the sport and not let it stop just as a hobby,” said Phillipa, whose youngest student is just four years old.

I agreed to take on the sport myself after observing how easily some children waterskied around the lake when Phillipa, or better known as Pipa, invited us over.

Although she was five months pregnant with her second child, the sporty mother taught me all the basic necessities I needed to know before we got onto the speed boat.

To start off my lesson, Pipa made sure I did the warm-up exercises and taught me the correct way to hold on to the rope.

We practised the routine a few times with the rope tied to a tree and she watched how I got up from a near sitting position.

“It is important to know when and how to stand up and regain your balance,” said Pipa, who reminded me to relax and not to pull the rope.

After showing us a few hand signals that would be useful when we are in the water, we proceeded to get ourselves a life jacket each.

Even though I can swim, being a first-timer at water-skiing made me far from confident in the water.

I was not alone as Pipa’s relative, Edward Whitfield who was on holiday in the city was new to the sport too and was as eager as I was to pick up the sport.

We were not allowed to get on with the ropes first but to a boom learner bar that was attached to the boat.

The bar served to help newbies like us to keep our balance and to get a feel of what it was like before moving to the ropes.

I went onto the boom bar after Edward who was on a wakeboard while I was on the ski.

We were pushed down to the lake with the boards strapped to our feet and had to swim towards the bar.

Pipa made sure I held onto the bar in the correct squatting posture before she sped off the boat.

After two rounds of losing my balance and crashing myself into the water, I was finally able see the clear blue skies and was well on my way to being upgraded to the ropes.

The ropes were not any easier but Pipa said she was confident that Edward and me would be able to manage it before nightfall. Thankfully, she was right.

For once I really felt like a star water skier skiing around the lake before crashing into the water after a minute, but it was worth it!

With a life jacket on, there was really nothing to fear. I just relaxed and let myself be pulled away by the speed boat and continued to enjoy the sport.

Pipa, who is also the national coach, said classes were from Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 6pm.

All that newbies like me needed to bring were a change of clothes, towel and perhaps sunblock.

Besides that the company, Waterski and Wakeboard World Cup Sdn. Bhd (WWWC) also has classes for wake boarding, tubing, barefoot-skiing and knee-boarding,

Each lesson runs for 10 to 15 minnutes. Those interested can call WWWC at 03-8926 1054 or visit www.waterski.com.my

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