Otaki barefooters land top spots

Women's champion: At just 14 years of age, Georgia Groen has claimed back- to-back open women's titles.
Women's champion: At just 14 years of age, Georgia Groen has claimed back- to-back open women's titles.

Otaki barefooters claimed the two big prizes at the weekend's national barefoot waterskiing championships.

Georgia Groen, 14, defended her New Zealand women's title, with brothers Ryan and Mitchell taking out first and second place in the open men's grade.

Their father Fred finished in third place.

Forty-five competitors from all over the North Island competed in the three-day event at Lake Inspiration, a purpose-built lake literally in the Groens' backyard. Skiiers competed in slalom, jump and tricks events.

Conditions forced organisers to use nearby Forest Lakes on the first day, but Saturday provided perfect conditions for the final day's action, said the president of New Zealand Barefoot Water Ski Club, Rob Groen.

Whitby's Bevan Kelly set a new record in the senior men's tricks, of 4850, on his way to taking out the over-35 grade.

While the event brought an end to the season, Georgia has been selected into a New Zealand development squad, which will train up for selection into the New Zealand team for next year's world championships in Texas.

Georgia finished third overall junior girl at last year's world championships.

Other national title winners were: Kathy Duxfield, Waikato, senior women's; Jarna Old, Waikato, women's 1; Michael McGiven, Waikato, men's 1; Greg Barber, Wairarapa, men's 2; Warren Herbert, Auckland, presidents; Tom Mathis, Waikato, junior boys; Brooke Fitch, Palmerston North, junior girls; William Leigh, Waikato, under-12 boys.

Kapiti Observer