With the off-season in full effect for most water sports due to the winter season, the chairman of the Namibia Waterski Association (NWA) Martin Schmidt said plans for the summer season are going well.
With 24 skiers participating in the sport locally, mostly scholars, Schmidt said the sport has been doing okay in Namibia under the circumstances.
“Waterski is a very technical sport, so we cannot just use any dam for competitions. We only have the Von Bach dam, which is the only one that accommodates the sport with all of its requirements, such as quiet bays without interference from other boats,” he stated.
“43 years ago when the association was founded, extensive investigations were carried out on suitable dams, and that’s the one which was settled upon.
Unfortunately, this is not a situation which can be changed as you can’t just grow a dam”, he noted.
An adequate dam for waterskiing is one which can host the three competitive events, being slalom, trick and jump.
The most popular of these is the slalom, which is skiing involving a multi-buoy course which the skier must go around in order to complete the pass.
Schmidt then pointed to recent highlights, such as Natascha Rottcher scooping the Junior Sportwoman of the Year award in 2012, as signs of the sport’s growth.
Last year, local skiers also brought back 16 medals after competing at the South African Championships, with nine skiers bringing back eight gold, six silver and two bronze medals.
September is when the waterskiing season kicks off as summer officially sets in. However, even then, Schmidt said there are other challenges to navigate.
“The water levels are down, which can complicate things. Waterskiing is a very technical sport, which requires a particular skills’ level.
As such, the low water levels and skiers going at speeds of about 60km-an-hour has led to some injuries, such as Jean-Paul Wehnert breaking his leg in several places,” Schmidt explained.
Like in other sports such as soccer when injuries of this nature occur, the best which can be done is rehabilitation.
Schmidt’s own son broke his ankle last year as well during a ski event, but has since recovered and will be back on the waters soon.
As it is the off-season and the water is too cold to compete in, NWA secretary Monique Kamfer explained that skiers are busy keeping themselves fit in readiness for the summer.
“They mainly do this through being active at the gym, and cycling. Skiing requires high speeds, and cycling helps them in that sense,” she noted.