USA Water Ski Nationals Coming to Okeeheelee Park

August 12, 2013

                                                 News

                                                                                                                Palm Beach County Sports Commission

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 12, 2013

Contact: Kayla French

561-233-3122

kfrench@palmbeachsports.com

 

Palm Beach County to Showcase the USA Water Ski National Championships

West Palm Beach, FL - Palm Beach County will be the epicenter for the sport of waterskiing this summer. USA Water Ski will bring its National Championships to the lakes in Okeeheelee Park on August 13-17, 2013. The GOODE USA National Water Ski Championships, which is the nation’s largest water ski celebration, is a traditional three-event competition (slalom, tricks, and jumping).  Over 600 adult participants and 200 youth participants will travel from across the country to compete in this prestigious event. The Nationals consist of both men and women divisions with 24 age groups, featuring competitors that range from 6 years of age and under to over 80 years.  USA Water Ski will host its premier event for the 71st time and for the second consecutive year in Palm Beach County.  USA Water Ski is the national governing body for the sport, which is comprised of more than 600 member clubs throughout the nation.

The Palm Beach County Sports Commission is supporting the Ski Club of the Palm Beaches and its efforts to host the USA Water Ski National Championships.  The Ski Club of the Palm Beaches is one of the most active and productive clubs in the country and partners with Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation to maintain the skiing facilities at Okeeheelee Park. This dedication has played a vital role in Palm Beach County becoming a premier destination for competitive water skiers. USA Water Ski has brought the Nationals to Palm Beach County four out of the last eight years (2005, 2008, 2009, and 2012).  In addition to the National Championships, Palm Beach County has also hosted five Southern Regional Water Ski Championships, two Florida State Water Ski Championships and the 1989 Water Ski World Championships – in addition to a handful of professional cash-prize tournaments and hundreds of other amateur water ski tournaments – over the past 25 years.

The American Water Ski Association, one of nine sport discipline organizations of USA Water Ski, approved the bid to bring the Nationals to Palm Beach County with great enthusiasm. “It is always exciting to watch the best water ski athletes in the nation compete at a world class facility such as Okeeheelee Park,” said Gene Davis, president of the American Water Ski Association. “The Ski Club of The Palm Beaches always provides a great venue and atmosphere for the competitors and their families.

Advancement to the Water Ski National Championship is primarily earned through placement on the national rankings list. Athletes can also qualify for the Nationals by placing in the top-five at Regionals or by placing in the top-five at the previous year’s Nationals. The first National Championship was held in 1939 at Jones Beach in Long Island, New York.  Except for three years during World War II (1942-1944), the Nationals have been held every year since 1939.

Okeeheelee Park, a 900-acre county park in central Palm Beach County, is widely recognized for its dynamic waterskiing facility. Its waters have been a haven for both professional and amateur skiers for over twenty-five years. There are five freshwater ski lakes custom-designed for competition waterskiing, one of which is even lighted for night-time use. Four of the five lakes feature slalom courses, while one lake provides a jump ramp and is dedicated to jumping and wakeboarding. The lakes at Okeeheelee are a virtual breeding ground for competitive water skiers. Dozens of regional, national, and even world champions and record holders train or have trained at Okeeheelee on a permanent or intermittent basis.

In addition to the thrills and excitement that will be generated by this extreme sport, the USA National Water Ski Championships will bring tremendous economic benefits to the local community. The event is expecting to generate over 1,500 hotel room nights and $1 million in economic impact during the month of August, a traditionally slow month for tourism.  The event solidifies Palm Beach County’s position as an elite sports destination.

For more information on the USA National Water Ski Championships, visit www. usawaterski.org. For more information on the Ski Club of The Palm Beaches, visit www.okeeski.com.

 

 

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