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Wake'n stars cruise into Emerald

Wakeboarding instructor John Schottelius.
Wakeboarding instructor John Schottelius.

PROFESSIONAL wakeboarder John Henson lives the life many could only dream of.

At just 25 he owns and runs his own wakeboarding school on the Gold Coast, tours Australia for coaching clinics and wakeboarding demonstrations and has competed in almost a dozen countries.

Known affectionately as “Rubber” in wakeboarding circles, Henson will join a number of professional wakeboarders on a whirlwind visit to Emerald for an event touted as the first of its kind in the Central Highlands region.

The waterborne craftsmen will be hitting the Emerald pool for the Wake’n for the Kids charity event to raise funds for the Royal Queensland Bush Children’s Health Scheme.

“We’re bringing something new, it’s never happened before in Emerald,” Henson said. “They make the pool look like a skate park.”

Without the pressures of competition, Henson envisions there will be plenty of action on show as boarders will be eager to push the limits of their trick repertoire while performing at the pool.

Back out on the open water, Henson’s pride and joy comes in the form of the Tigre RZ2 tow boat.

“It is like the Mercedes Benz of boats,” Henson said. “It’s top-of-the-line and comes with everything you could ever want on it.”

It also comes with a $120,000 pricetag.

It’s worth every penny according to John, who has a life which is “lived and breathed on the water”.

Another John, John Schottelius, will also be making a splash in Emerald this weekend for two days of ski coaching at Fairbairn Dam.

John spends much of his time in the United States running schools before returning to the Australian ski season to continue his instruction.

John’s coaching experience encompasses almost every discipline from the conventional to barefoot and wakeboard, with one of the most difficult challenges teaching students to correctly utilise the equipment in the way it was designed.

“We try to teach them to ski more effectively,” he said. “There is a big gap in how the gear is made and how it is meant to be used… we’re just trying to help them ski to their fullest.”

One of the more eye-catching displays developing in the sport is the night ski. Theresa Creek Dam in Clermont held one its first night events of the year late last month using neon buoys and flood lighting set up at the water’s edge.

Johnny said while the night events were only just starting to take off in Australia, overseas it was a totally different story.

“It’s pretty crazy over there, the night skiing is massive,” he said.

For Schottelius, skiing was more than just a job; it was a life-long passion of his.

“It’s a love of the sport,” he said. “The best thing is helping people succeed.

“It’s about putting something back into the sport which has given me so much… I try and pass on the things I’ve learnt because that’s what makes the world go round.

“Personally I really enjoy the challenge of pushing myself to the limit to go one better.”

The ski clinics run today and tomorrow, and are open for everyone of all levels of the sport from six to 60-years-old.

Contact John for information on 0429 857 134.


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