A Brighouse man has been selected to represent Great Britain in a water skiing competition in South Africa.
Nick Lodge is jetting off in just over a week to compete in the Europe and Africa Barefoot Championships and is looking for sponsorship from businesses or individuals to fund it.
The 21-year-old will be out there for two weeks. He will train for a week before the four-day competition against competitors from ten different countries.
Nick trains at White Rose Water Ski Club in Brighouse and has been water skiing since he was four-years-old.
He was trained to be a whole rounder and can do wakeboard, knee boarding, slalom as well as barefoot which is what he will be competing in.
“Skiing barefoot is a lot faster than what you can do on a wakeboard or knee board. I ski at 44mph on the water which is quite fast, whereas with a knee board or wakeboard you go at speeds like 20mph.
“Not a lot of people do barefoot so I did a lot of training with the Great Britain team although at the time I didn’t ski for them.”
Nick who lives at Laverock Lane, Brighouse, will do various tricks in the competition including one foot toe hold (where he is holding on to the handle with his foot while standing on the other), and tumble turns (turning 360 degrees while on your bum).
“It can be quite nerve racking because you are competing against 200 people in front of their spectators, family and relatives. As well as people that just want to come and watch,” he said.
“I do enjoy it. This is my main sport but I do scuba diving, motorbiking, and used to play rugby. But every night when I finish work I go straight home, all my gear is out ready from the night before and I can get two skis in before it gets dark. In the middle of the summer I can get at least five skis a week in.”
Last year the Great Britain team came third overall in the competition which was held in France.
After the European Championships, Nick, who is an apprentice electrician will start training for the World Championships in January due to be held in Australia.
“They are held every couple of months and there is usually five in a year. In between competitions you are constantly training to improve by each national competition. The Great Britain team watches these competition and looks at your bad and good points and what needs to be worked on and what can be put to one side for now,” he said.
Nick is one of two members of the Great Britain team who trains at Brighouse and he now coaches youngsters between six and 17 to do barefoot.
“I don’t charge them to do this, I do it because I enjoy the sport and because I have been coached by the Great Britain team I help them to get to my standard to ski in the near future.”
People travel from all over to attend the club off Elland Road and despite having to cancel their open days for insurance purposes they are still attracting a lot of members.
Anyone that can sponsor Nick should contact him on or firstname.lastname@example.org