Event leaves others in its wake

HOT MOVES: Professional wakeboarders will hit the Emerald Aquatic Centre for the Wake’n for the Kids fundraising event.
HOT MOVES: Professional wakeboarders will hit the Emerald Aquatic Centre for the Wake’n for the Kids fundraising event.

THE pros are coming to town and leaving a great fundraising event in their wake.

Sunflower Festival entrant Hayley Henson is holding a professional wakeboarding slider contest, Wake’n for the Kids, for the first time at Emerald Aquatic Centre.

Wake’n for the Kids will be held on Saturday, March 12, with the pool gates opening from 6pm, with competition heats starting at 7pm for three hours of demonstrations by seven pro wakeboarders.

Confirmed riders for the event include Hayley Smith, current Australian Pro Tour Champion and ranked fifth on the world’s elite pro wakeboarding circuit, John Henson, James Windsor, Sam Burne, Mayce Dipple, Matthew Payne and Jason Cook.

“It is an invite-only competition-based demonstration and a winch will tow the wakeaborders from one end of the pool to the other with a 10 metre obstacle in between,” Hayley said. “The rider will express themselves through creativity, style and skill on the slider and will be judged accordingly.

“Aside from the wakeboard demonstration, there will be auctions, raffles, stalls, competitions and prizes, plus lots of giveaways to keep the kids and adults entertained. Finals will start around 9pm finishing off the night with a bang.”

The event is being held to raise funds for the Royal Queensland Bush Children’s Health Scheme, better known as Bush Kids, whose Emerald branch lost everything in the January floods.

Since then, the local Bush Kids team of four – a speech therapist, psychologist, occupational therapist and a family health support worker - have been working out of a donga in a car park, beside a devastated centre.

Hayley said a highlight of the night would be the opportunity to watch professional wakeboarders from down south compete over a 10 metre obstacle course.

“It’s something you won’t see every day,” Hayley said.

“There’s also watching Hayley Smith, the only girl in the contest, take on the boys. She is one of the most established slider riders in Australia, if not the world. She competes and trains for six months of the year in the States and is quite a household name in the industry, world-wide.”

Cost is $5 for adults and $10 for a family of two adults and two kids.

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