Herwin never let go of gift
ASHLEY Herwin is so at home on the water, he actually grew up in a ski club. Born into a family with a love of waterskiing, Herwin would spend hours on end at the Emerald Ski Club as a young boy before taking up the sport himself.
After a 13-year layoff, Herwin's amphibious instincts brought him back to the sport two-and-a-half years ago, and earlier this month he achieved greatness in his fifth race since being back.
"It still doesn't feel quite right, and I keep pinching myself," the 41-year-old explained.
"I haven't been involved in the sport for 13 years.
"But it was awesome. It was good to win while my wife Debbie watched nervously and my three children cheered me on.
"From about six weeks old, my parents would sit me up on the deck of the boat under the life jackets and I would sleep there, so I more or less grew up at the ski club. When the boat would stop I would start crying.
"My parents are life members now."
Herwin won his first Queensland title in 1983 as a nine-year-old, and counts nine other titles along the way.
This, however, tops them all.
"This is the top. The best I had done before on the nationals was second in the 20-30 men's in 1996," he said.
"To come back 20 years and win was really good.
"My parents used to come to all of my races, but they were back home in Emerald for this one. But they were the first people I called."
Herwin spent his entire race focused on the water, unaware of how many boats he passed. He knew he had done well, but delayed telling anyone of his feats until he received the official confirmation.
"After I crossed the finish line, I pulled into the middle of the course and did a bit of a head count," he said.
"I was confident, but didn't want to jump the
"Until they printed it out, I didn't know for sure - but I made sure I called my parents straight away.
"I think they were worried, as I was skiing behind such a quick boat. But the driver and observer had a couple of world titles between them. So they were worried I would push myself too hard."
Herwin has no plans to stop at one Australian title, but work and life commitments have ruled him out from exactly knowing when his next meet will be.