Special Needs

Disabled Water Ski National Championships to Be Held In GA

18 Apr, 2014

Athletes to Compete in 23rd Nationals at Whitestone Lake Estates

The Water Skiers with Disabilities Association (WSDA), a sport discipline organization of USA Water Ski, is pleased to announce the 23rd Disabled Water Ski National Championships, sponsored by the Shepherd Center and the Barbara Bolding/Jim Grew Foundation, will be held Aug. 29-31 at Whitestone Lake Estates in Talking Rock, Ga.

The competition will include more than 30 disabled water ski athletes from across the United States and as many as four additional countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico. The tournament will offer slalom, tricks and jumping events for vision impaired individuals (blind or partially sighted), multiplegics (paraplegics and quadriplegics), leg amputees (above and below knee), arm amputees, and athletes with both arm and leg disabilities. The skiers in the latter three categories compete with the same water ski equipment used by able-bodied athletes and have the option of using prosthesis.

“If you want to be truly inspired, come out and see our skiers,” said Matt Oberholtz, president of the Water Skiers with Disabilities Association. “It is amazing. Talk about overcoming obstacles. Have you ever seen a blind person go over a five-foot water ski jump ramp going thirty-plus miles per hour?”

The results of this tournament will be used to select the members of the 2015 U.S. Disabled Water Ski Team, which will compete in the 2015 Disabled Water Ski World Championships. Team selections will be announced at the tournament’s awards banquet on Sunday evening, Aug. 31. The U.S. Disabled Water Ski Team has won the previous three world championships and will attempt to be the first team in history to win four consecutive world titles.

The Nationals is open to the public and admission is free.

Friday, Aug. 29 – Competition Day 1
Saturday, Aug. 30 – Competition Day 2
Sunday, Aug. 31 – Competition Day 3 and Awards Banquet

Whitestone Lake Estates – www.whitestoneskiclub.com – is a gated water ski community nestled in the foot hills of the Appalachian Mountains in Talking Rock, Ga., about an hour drive from Atlanta. The facility was founded and built by Paul Kiker and John Roach and includes two private man-made water ski lakes, 45 property lots and paved roads. Currently, there are 12 homes and more on the way. Whitestone typically hosts several tournaments during the season. Previous events include: the Southern Regional Water Ski Championships, the Southern Region Barefoot Water Ski Championships, the Kneeboard  National Championships and the first stop of the 2008 Pro Water Ski Tour. “We are pleased and honored to host these inspirational athletes at our facility,” said Adam Webb, a Whitestone board member and local resident.

Shepherd Center – www.shepherd.org – is located in Atlanta, Ga., and is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury and brain injury. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. Shepherd Center is a 152-bed facility. Last year Shepherd had 965 admissions to its spine and brain inpatient programs and 571 to its day patient programs. In addition, Shepherd treats more than 6,600 people annually on an outpatient basis. “We are very proud to support this event,” said Matt Edens, Sports Teams Coordinator at the Shepherd Center. “It exemplifies what we are all about here at the Shepherd Center.” The Shepherd Center's mission is to help people with a temporary or permanent disability caused by injury or disease, rebuild their lives with hope, independence and dignity, advocating for their full inclusion in all aspects of community life while promoting safety and injury prevention.


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