This summer has been busy for Year 11 student Saba Yorke-Davies. Saba is a watersports addict and takes part in Tournament Water Skiing, which encompasses slalom skiing, trick skiing and jumping. Saba has spent the summer training daily in all three disciplines as well as working on her fitness by cycling, swimming and working out at the gym all year round. Competitions are held regularly from May to October so Saba has to remain focused in order to keep her European ranking as high as possible.
For slalom, similar to slalom snow skiing, the skier has to go around buoys in the water in a zigzag pattern. There are entrance gates at the beginning and end of the course, which the skier must go between and there are 6 turn buoys that the skier must navigate around. Once the skier successfully completes each pass at a designated speed, 34 miles per hour for girls, the length of the rope is then decreased by 2 metres each time. As the length of the rope gets shorter the skier has to ski smarter to be able to reach around the buoys at effectively increasing speeds.
Trick skiing involves the skier doing two 20 second runs of tricks on a smaller and more slippery ski. Each trick is awarded a certain amount of points and the harder the trick, the more points. Usually a skier will do one run of hand tricks e.g. spins, wake spins and flips and another run of toes where the skier has their foot in the handle doing tricks and spins.
For jumping the skier has two long, wide skis and follows behind the boat and cuts across the water towards a 5ft high ramp, increasing their speed towards the ramp to catapult themselves up and over with the aim of ‘flying’ through the air to land as far away as they can and ski away. Not a sport for the faint hearted!
Having moved up into the Under 17 category this year at the age of 14 Saba has had tough competition against older skiers but has managed to maintain a good score and currently stands at 19th in Europe and 2nd in the UK after coming 2nd overall at the British Youth Nationals. Next year Saba hopes to be picked for the British Team again to attend the European Championships in Spain, to compete against athletes from Europe and Africa.
Saba is sponsored by Audi Swindon and David Lloyd in Swindon.