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Wallet-Friendly Wakeboarding

Wallet-Friendly Wakeboarding

Queenslanders love wakeboarding and skiing. Joining a social skiing club can be a great way to experience the sport and learn about the different capabilities of high-powered watercrafts, in a very easy-going environment.

Is wakeboarding or waterskiing something you would like to do, but you don’t own a boat or don’t know anyone who does? If you are keen, joining a social club may be a good option for you. Jack Mills, UQ Wakeboard and Waterski Club president, provides us a background on their club, and how they are able to offer these activities to their members.

The University of Queensland Wakeboard and Waterski Club was founded in 1961 by a few passionate water skiers who donated their own boat. For over half a century, the club’s dedicated volunteers have ensured it keeps meeting every Sunday at the university, welcoming both students and the general public for skiing along the iconic Brisbane River. “Our focus is primarily on teaching beginners how to wakeboard. There is always a bit of light competition as we egg each other on, but it is not too serious. So you definitely do not need to be a pro to attend. You just put your name on the list, and then we work through it, giving everyone 15 minutes each,” Jack explained.

As well as the Sunday meet-ups, the club organises a host of other events. Every year, on ANZAC day, the club holds a big competition, with a qualifying round the night before. “We compete across three categories: girls, boys and big boys. You must be able to land some sort of trick to be in big boys.”

The club also hold activities outside of Brisbane. They conduct regular trips to Coomera, where they spend the weekend relaxing on two houseboats and doing a whole lot of wakeboarding and skiing. Their camping trips to Lake Moogerah have been going since 1961 and are always popular. “I think they have been so enduring because it is the perfect balance of camping, combined with proper facilities, and of course, a lot of water sports.”

The club offers wakeboarding and water skiing. “Wakeboarding tends to be the most popular because it is easier for beginners to get up into a standing position because of the bigger surface area of the board, compared to skis. It is also easier to pull off big tricks, which helps its popularity. On the other hand, skiing is faster, but it is more about developing control, and is a lot more physically demanding on your body.”

Rope-free wake surfing is also something that the club is looking at for the future. “Wake surfing is beginning to take off as well. It does require specialised boats to create big enough waves for you to surf on without a rope. I have tried it myself and it is great fun, so I would love to see the club get one of those boats in the future.”

The number of participants fluctuates significantly throughout the year. There are big influxes at the beginning and middle of the year, when they normally sign up about a hundred new members during each of the two university’s semesters. Many of these students are international, which means they do drift away from the club as they return overseas. However, there is a core standing membership of about 40.

Although the cost of owning a boat is one of the barriers preventing students to take up the sport on their own, there is definitely strong passion for the sport, a passion that the club nurtures. “All the members absolutely love the sport. The club has two Malibu Response boats, which are perfect for us because you can use them for skiing and the wedge, means you can get enough of a wake for boarding as well. These boats cost $80,000 new though. One of our members did go on to buy his own boat, and he comes back to wakeboard with us on ANZAC day.”

The club holds sessions in the water with both boats from 10am to 4pm each Sunday. Annual memberships cost $60 for students and $120 for public, and then it is $20 per ride.

By Narayan Pattison

Keep track of what’s happening at the club For more information about the club visit



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