TWO Warrnambool brothers are bound for one of the biggest stages in Australian waterskiing, the Moomba Masters.
Glen and Tim Martin will feature at the annual competition on Melbourne’s Yarra River from March 5 to 10.
Driver Glen, 25, will be in control of a boat for the first time, towing some of the biggest names in the sport in front of thousands of fans.
Skier Tim, 23, will contest the jump and slalom disciplines. He made his debut in the competition 12 months ago, in the jump.
The chance to immerse themselves in their sporting passion is reward for hours of dedication to the niche sport.
Windy conditions on Warrnambool’s Hopkins River means the brothers must travel to Bridgewater for training each weekend.
Tim said the chance to ski at Moomba was “definitely” one of the highlights of his career.
“Growing up, sitting on the bank and watching it, they were my absolute idols out there skiing,” he said.
“To be standing on the dock and skiing against them is a dream come true.
“Last year I got to jump in the day and night, which I’m doing again, but this year I’m doing the slalom as well.”
Tim, the 2013 national champion in jump, said his world ranking was about 120. He is ranked about 200 in the slalom.
He said working at a water ski school in North Carolina during the past two northern summers had been a catalyst for his rise in the sport.
“I’m definitely skiing the best I’ve ever skied in Australia. At the Australian Masters I jumped a personal best of 51.50 metres,” he said.
“That’s the best I’ve ever jumped in a tournament, which was good. That was over the Australia Day long weekend.
“And slalom, every time I’m going out there I’m pushing the limits to knock on the door of a new personal best in training.
“It’s only a matter of time until that happens in a tournament. A lot of it is the time I spent in America. Being able to ski every day for five-and-a-half months really allows you to progress and work on things.”
Glen is also a skier but has developed into one of the best boat drivers in the world, leading to his selection for the Moomba Masters.
He started driving about seven years ago and has featured at three world championships — over 35, disabled and open — in the past two years.
“A fella by the name of Waldie Priekulis, he’s been the chief boat driver for the Victorian Water Ski Federation for a long time, he taught me all he knows,” he said.
“I did my apprenticeship and built my way up. Now I’m getting selected for these world events at Moomba as well.”
Glen said boat driving was more complex than it appeared. Drivers must keep the right speed and line to give skiers the best possible conditions.
He made history at Yarrawonga on Sunday by driving when Melbourne skier Nick Adams set an Australian record slalom score on Australian water.
“He got two-and-a-half buoys at 10.25 metres rope length. The Australian record is four at 10.25 but he did that in America.”
Glen said the Moomba Masters also gave Australian competitors the chance to meet their counterparts from across the world.
“The best thing about Moomba is it’s a massive international field, you meet a lot of international skiers, you have friends all around the world,” he said.
“Because water skiing is a small, tight-knit community, if I go to Florida or California or England or France, normally you know someone from the area.
“You can organise to have a ski with them. They’re more than happy to do that.”