A UNIQUE sport will descend on Robe this summer when the Ski Racing Australia World Championship selection races are held at the coastal town.
The sport – which involves high-powered speed boats pulling skiers across a distance course in the open water – will visit the region on February 23 and 24.
Robe Events’ Jamie Aitken saw an opportunity to showcase the sport to Robe by recently placing a bid to hold the world championship selection races in the town.
“We tendered for and successfully gained the right to host the Ski Racing Australia World Championship selection races for the championships to be held in Vichy, France, in September 2019,” Mr Aitken said.
“It is a real coup for Robe and it is one for the dedicated petrol heads with a difference – they are racing on water.”
Describing the sport as “wild and fast”, Mr Aitken said the event should attract up to 800 competitors, consisting of crew and racers.
“Ski Racing Australia tell us we can expect between 60 and 80 boats to attend and each boat has a crew of 10,” he said.
“To have an event bringing that many people into the town on the shoulder of the season is great for the economy and local businesses.”
The racing will take place 100 metres off the shore from the Robe Hotel to Long Beach and back on a 5km course.
“This will provide excellent viewing for the public from the shore and to ensure we have a carnival atmosphere we will close off the roads along the foreshore to have food vendors and entertainment,” Mr Aitken said.
“The boats reach speeds of 140kph towing skiers in rough waters, it will be fantastic.”
If the event receives a positive response, Mr Aitken said the town had a chance to host an annual event showcasing the sport.
“If this proves a success, we will host races every year as part of their Australian calendar, which means a new sport for the region and an exciting spectator event,” he said.