Lifestyle feature: Taking to the waves at Chichester Waterski Club

Richard Wood demonstrates how its done    Picture by Amanda Franklin amanda@arfranklin.co.uk
Richard Wood demonstrates how its done Picture by Amanda Franklin amanda@arfranklin.co.uk

THE sunshine was glorious over Ivy Lake in Chichester, a welcome sight for the group assembled there for a day’s waterskiing, several of whom had never tried the sport before.

The Chichester Waterski Club, which is located next to the lake near the Whyke roundabout, immediately down the B2145, provides watersport enthusiasts with the opportunity to ski and wakeboard at their leisure throughout the summer.

Sarah Baldwin takes to the waves

Sarah Baldwin takes to the waves

Waterskiing at Ivy Lake first began in 1974, and today the Chichester Waterski Club has around 80 members, including many families and children who are enthusiastic about the sport.

Sue Hoare has been with the club for several years, and has seen it develop in many ways, including the addition of a clubhouse in 2013.

“I’m a member of the waterski club, which means I work on a voluntary basis,” she said.

“We all chip in and do our bit.

Finding your feet

Finding your feet

“I’m probably here more than any of the other ladies because I live locally, and a lot of our members come from quite far away.”

The club is currently applying for funding from Sport England, an organisation which is committed to helping people and sporting communities across the country.

The club is hoping that being granted the funding will enable it to add to the facilities and help it to reach out to the community and other sports organisations, creating more opportunities for people to come along to try watersports for themselves.

“It’s been really nice today to be able to involve local people, especially other people enthusiastic about sports,” said Sue.

“We’d really love to be able to collaborate with other local sports and fitness groups, but at the moment we just don’t have the facilities to do so.”

“That is why we are applying for the Sports England funding, because we’d like to be able to have non-members come in, and there are certain things you have to comply with when you are able to do that.”

I was lucky enough to share my waterskiing experience with a team from Inspire Leisure, a local sports centre.

Sarah Baldwin, who runs classes at the leisure centre, said: “We’ve come today as part of a group from Inspire Leisure – some of the people here come to my classes at the centre so we decided to do a day together.”

Everyone, myself included, was very impressed with the quality of instruction on the day, which was undertaken by Richard Wood.

Rich is known as an almost permanent fixture at the club, as he is the site manager and oversaw the development of both the clubhouse and other site facilities.

The key to waterskiing is to relax and allow the water to do the work for you, something which proved harder than it sounds. But with Rich’s advice and instruction, many of the people who attended the day achieved some amazing new skills.

I had never so much as worn skis before, but Rich’s support and tutorship meant I was excited to try something new and felt completely comfortable in the water.

“I came here to learn how to waterski, and it has been really, really good – we’ve had some really excellent instruction from Rich,” said Sarah.

Bryony Richards-White, a member of the team at the leisure centre, said: “The instruction has been great, and Rich has been really fantastic.”

James Rennie, who attends Sarah’s classes at Inspire Leisure, said:“I first came here about three weeks ago with my daughters to have a go, and now I’m back again today.”

“One of my daughters is nine, and the other is 13 – they both really enjoyed themselves, and both said they really wanted to come back.

“I struggled to keep my grasp on the boom, and as a result ended up in the water several times, but I ended the day feeling motivated to go back for more.”

James added: “I’m definitely going to come back to try it again, and I’m really pleased with what I accomplished today.

“I’ve never skiied on one ski before and I managed it today, so I’m very happy!”

For more information on Chichester Waterski Club, telephone 01273 252002, or visit chichesterwaterski.co.uk