Water Ski National Championships come to Palm Beach County

OKEEHELEE PARK, Fla. - The 71st Water Ski National Championships has come to Okeeheelee Park this week.

John Shealy is the president of the Ski Club of the Palm Beaches and a competitor. " When they name Okeeheelee Park they actually put in parenthesis, mecca. That is the mecca of water skiing right here in our county."

More than 600 of the nation's top water skiers are competing through Saturday.

The Ski Club of the Palm Beaches is hosting the event.

Phil Brodt,  from the Ski Club,  says " This is the 13th nationals that we've hosted the National Water Ski Championships, which involves 3 events, you have slalom, tricks and jumping."

During the slalom event, the boats go at 36 mph, but when they round the buoy and cross the wake, they could be going upwards of 60 plus mph.

"The competition is really stiff just to get here, and then once you're here it's a matter of seeing if you can get the job done or not." Shealy says.

Friday night offers another competition too, the Big Dog, where someone will be crowned Big Dog champion under the lights.

"It's an exciting event because it's under the lights, buoys are lit up, and it looks like skiers are going 90 mph!"
Brodt said.

Fun to experience the speed up close, the event emphasizes bringing the whole family.

Brodt continues "This is all free to the  public, parking's free and it's free to get in here and watch this event, we've got 5 lakes here, and we've got something going on in each lake"

the event runs through noon Saturday.

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