AIR TIME: Cambell Davison gets some practice in ahead of the 2018 Victoria versus South Australia State of Origin wakeboarding event in Mildura in two weeks. Cambell is one of three locals who will represent South Australia. Photo: PAUL MENSCH
By MITCH RODD
STATE sporting rivalries come in many forms, but it would be hard to find one as visually spectacular as the upcoming State of Origin wakeboarding event.
Boarders from Victoria and South Australia will battle for air time in front of the Mildura Rowing Club for the third time on Saturday, November 17.
The brainchild of Wakeboard South Australia, this year 50 competitors, including professionals, locals and underage champions alike, will fight for state honours.
The first State of Origin event was first held in 2014, but would not return until last November.
Each state has 25 riders representing them. Points will be awarded to the podium finishers across all six classes, with the state gathering the most points declared the winner. Prize money courtesy of Mildura Regional Development and Baldwin Boats is also on offer.
Wakeboard South Australia president Daniella Lambert said there is a great vibe surrounding the 2018 event.
“The first event happened in 2014 and it was originally created to bring a wakeboarding event to Mildura. The first event was fairly successful, but as is always the case with any time you try a new event, you learn a lot out of the experience,” she said.
“The next one was scheduled for 2015 but was cancelled due to unsafe waters because of the flooding. That was held over until November last year when we held the second State of Origin where the Victorians came out on top. The event I think was much better. We had 45 riders taking part.
“South Australia are back with a bit of a vengeance for this year.
“I wasn’t actually planning on doing the event this year as I was going to be struggling for time. I was actually contacted by Wendy Davison asking if it was happening again because Mildura wants it back.
“I needed some help on the ground and Mildura Regional Development took it up as one of their projects. The have done most of the work in terms of promoting event where I have done more of the behind the scenes work. All 50 spots were taken so we’re hoping it will be a fantastic event. We’re really looking forward to seeing how it comes together.”
Wakeboarding giants Malibu Boats are on board bringing their brand new craft to the event.
The State of Origin has also attracted a number of professional riders including Parker Siegele, Chloe Mills, who is on the comeback trail from injury, Charli Shore and Thorry Henry. Australian Junior Champion Cooper Armstrong, 10, will also be competing.
Local trio Cambell Davison, Zac Nelson and Tim Featherston, will all represent South Australia. Sunraysia competitors, like a number of other sports, are aligned with the South Australian competition as they don’t need to travel as far.
“I think people started to hear the successes of the tournaments hopefully it can become an annual event and can provide a real injection into the community,” Daniella said.
“I have big visions for the future, and hopefully it can become a huge event that may even include a free family friendly concert.”
Mildura Regional Development senior communications and marketing advisor, Kirsten Lloyd, said they were proud to have been able to assist in bringing the event to Mildura.
“We have an exceptional riverfront and during the State of Origin, it will be showcased to a huge, water-sports-loving audience,” Kirsten said.
“Our role in the State of Origin has purely been one of support, Wakeboard South Australia have done a power of work and Daniella really deserves a lot of credit for everything she has done to get this event organised.
“It has been great to see so many local business get on board and support this event already and we hope everyone in Mildura really gets behind it because if successful, it could become an ongoing major event and tourist attraction for our region. Let’s all make the State of Origin a part of our weekend on November 17.”
The Wakeboard State of Origin event will begin at 9am at the Mildura Rowing Club on Saturday, November 17.