Backward Glance: water skiing a favourite sporting activity
  • Wednesday 14 October 2015
Aquaplaning on the Maroochy River, 1937

Did you know as early as 1910, people were enjoying the thrills of aquaplaning on the Maroochy River?

They used homemade boards towed behind auxiliary launches which sped along the waterway from the mouth of Petrie Creek to Cotton Tree. Skiers often performed acrobatics on the boards to add to the excitement.

In the 1950s power boats, with their greater speeds, made their appearance. Water skis replaced the home made boards and the sport quickly became a popular pastime. Tourists and local spectators would enjoy the attractions of the district while watching the more adventurous out on the water.

The first ski boat to operate on the Maroochy River was the ‘Aloha’, launched at the Cod Hole in December 1956 by the Maroochydore Club to tow its skiers. The Club then bought ITS own boat the ‘Cavalier. When the Aloha Club formed in 1960, the ‘Aloha’ became its official tow boat along with the boat ‘Sheena’.

In 1959, the Maroochydore Water Ski Club held the National Show Ski Titles at the Cod Hole, which was also the venue selected for the Queensland Titles in 1960.  In the same year, the Club approached the Regional Harbour Master to use Eudlo Creek as a competition site and, after approval was granted, logs and debris were removed from the creek bed and a competition slalom course with a ski jump was built.

The State Championships were then held on the Creek in 1964. Nearly 100 waterski boats could be seen lining the Creek bank on weekends during water skiing’s peak era of popularity in the 1960s.

By 1960, the first official permit was granted to water ski on the Maroochy River and two local water ski clubs were operating with a combined membership of close to 70. Both clubs were affiliated with the Sunshine Water Ski Zone established late in 1962 for the area from Caloundra to Maryborough.

Both the Cod Hole and adjoining Eudlo Creek were favoured as locations for water skiing. They provided long stretches of water, good access for launching boats and undeveloped foreshore where people could enjoy picnics while watching the skiing. A concrete boat ramp was built by the State Government in 1960 with the Maroochy Shire Council adding a rest area and amenities block in the next year.
 
A notable local pioneer of water skiing during this period was John Graham Rogerson. He built his own boats and made a living running fishing tours and operating the Rogerson School of Waterskiing from the Maroochy River bank.

Learn more about the Coast’s unique history by reading our Backward Glance series. There’s a new story every Wednesday.