Ski Sharks to host national competition in August

Group will attempt Guinness world record event in September
Kevin Passon

One would think that with all the time invested by the Shawano Ski Sharks in putting on weekly water-ski shows for more than two months, there wouldn’t be a lot of time left to volunteer for something else.

One would be wrong.

The four-day Wisconsin State Tournament will be held July 18-21 on Lake Wazeecha at Red Sand Beach at South Wood County Park near Wisconsin Rapids.

Hosted by the Wisconsin Rapids Aqua Skiers, the championship is the largest ski show tournament in the world, with 28 teams being judged to find the best of the best.

The Ski Sharks are a Division 2 team and will ski on the afternoon of July 19.

The tournament is free for spectators.

The Shawano Ski Sharks will host the BankFirst Division 2 National Water-ski Tournament presented by Visit Central Florida on Aug. 2-4.

“Our ski site is one of the most desirable sites in the industry and is a popular place to hold events,” said Dave Passehl, president of the Ski Sharks. “We bid for the tournament each year and have been awarded it for 2024.”

The tournament moves around the country to give other teams an opportunity at hosting.

“It is an incredible amount of work to set up, but once you see 3,000 people come to our community and fill our hotels and restaurants and fill the stands for three days, it’s pretty exciting to see.”

On Sept. 8, there will be an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most barefoot skiers in a single line.

The record of 38 was set exactly five years earlier in Shawano. The line started with 40 water skiers, but two fell during the step-off process.

The record was achieved by the Webfooters at the Big Pull 2019 event in Shawano, powered by Evinrude Big Pull. To earn the title, all participants had to remain barefoot for a minimum of 300 meters.

This record was set with three 300 hp Evinrude G2 outboards mounted on a 21-foot DynaSki boat.

This year, 45 skiers will try to break the record with a new boat rigged with triple 500 racing Mercury engines.

To witness the first attempt, show up at 7 a.m. at Smalley Park.