Aussie champion

By Jamie Lowe

Deniliquin water skier Erica Hayes has successfully represented her country, claiming the Under 14s Overall title at the 2020 Aussie Kiwi Challenge.

The 12 year-old competed for Australia at Lake Crichton on New Zealand’s South Island from Thursday to Sunday last week.

Erica competed in all three tournament water skiing disciplines of slalom, trick and jump events, scoring some strong results during the competition.

The Albury Wodonga Water Ski Club member claimed a gold medal in the tricks event, with a top score of 3540 points.

She also claimed a silver medal in both slalom and jump events.

Erica scored two buoys at 13m travelling at 52km/h in the slalom and landed an impressive 20m in the jump event.

In the end the U14 Aussies defeated the Kiwis, with Australians claiming a clean-sweep in all grades, with the U17s and U21s divisions having overall wins.

Erica’s father Glenn said representing her country was reward  for her hard work.

‘‘Erica has already broken all four Australian records this season, and then improved three of those scores again on the weekend,’’ he said.

‘‘It could take a number of weeks before we find out if the new pending records are confirmed.

‘‘She’s managed personal bests in tricks, slalom and her overall score in New Zealand, and is just getting better each time she’s out on the water.

‘‘She consistently is tricking for more than 3000 points, lands 20m jumps and her slalom skills continue to improve.

‘‘Erica also beat the Australian jump record, slalom record and trick record twice.’’

Erica’s focus will now shift to a slalom tournament at the Moodemere Invitational this weekend.

This will be the first time Erica has skied in this tournament, which sees the top skiers from Australia competing at one of the country’s premier sites.

‘‘She has two more slalom tournaments before the state titles in Albury and the nationals in Mulwala,’’ Glenn said.

Erica would like to acknowledge her sponsors Threewatersports, D3 Skis and those who support and assist her training in Malibu Boats Australia, Frank and Linda White at Big 4 Deniliquin, Stokes Skis Australia and Daniel Zrajko at Fitnow/All Stars Deniliquin.

She will compete at the NSW state titles event in Albury on April 4 before heading to the National Titles at Mulwala, held from April 9 to 13.