NO SKIS: Liam Press, 15, took to the water for Gladstone’s first barefoot waterskiing tournament in a decade over the weekend.
NO SKIS: Liam Press, 15, took to the water for Gladstone’s first barefoot waterskiing tournament in a decade over the weekend. Jake Jones

Barefoot skier chuffed to show off Calliope River

HIS first home barefoot waterskiing tournament now over, Liam Press wants Calliope River to host the Queensland Championships.

Currently ranked first in the state, the 15-year-old loved not having to travel away to compete.

He also liked the chance to show off his training grounds to the visitors, who were competing in the first tournament held in Gladstone for a decade.

"It is good, you know the river, it is where we train every weekend," Press said.

"They have a little bit of shock it is so shallow, but you get used to it pretty quick."

Above all though, all of the competitors were more shocked at the crowd which turned up to watch the event.

Not accustomed to having people outside of the sport present, it was a good change of pace.

"It is awesome; we didn't even know this many people were going to come out," Press said.

The next step, recruiting the onlookers and making the local scene bigger and better.

That would include a Queensland championship on the horizon.

"Dad's next goal is to hold more here and push for a state title," Press said.

"To hold it and then win the state would be great, maybe even nationals one day."

But Press's dad Graham isn't getting carried away just yet.

After many long hours putting the skiing tournament together, he was glad to see it going well and so much interest in the sport.

His expression was one relief mixed with elation.

"It has worked out well, the weather has turned it on and it has stayed good with wind for a while," he said.

"My aim is to get more locals on the water.

"There have been people keen and now they are seeing what is happening they want to have a go."

Which is what young gun Nick Bray, 13, is suggesting everywhere he travels.

On his first trip to Calliope River, he gave the area a glowing review and said he couldn't wait to come back.

As the best sub-junior skier in the country, Bray has a good idea of what he is talking about.

"It is awesome, I believe the Press boys now," he laughed.

"I reckon there should be a couple more tournaments here."



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