Southern California Skier Finishes In 49:32 And Wins For Record-Tying 11th Time
Going from Long Beach to Catalina Island and back on water skis is accomplishment enough, but to do it in less than an hour is an incredible feat.
Unless you are Todd Haig.
The tall – and obviously thin – big-smiling and friendly professional water skier from Redlands, CA (that’s about an hour from the Pacific Ocean in Southern California) does it in less than an hour. And in 2013, he covered the 55+ miles in an incredible 49 minutes 32 seconds, breaking his own record of 50:13.90 set just two years ago.
“It wasn’t smooth,” he said, beer in hand afterward, of going through the chopping Pacific from Long Beach to Avalon and back to the finish at the Queen Mary. “We were just pushing it.”
The personable Haig received a big welcome from a huge spectator fleet of more than 100 boats at the finish, some of whom were already celebrating. Another couple of hundred people lined up along the railing of the Queen Mary. The Catalina Ski Race, which in 2013 celebrated its 65th anniversary, is an annual highlight of the summer-long Long Beach Sea Festival in Long Beach, CA.
I was also pleased to see Lauren Eagle at the event. She’s a former Miss Teen Australia – now in her 20’s – who is a knockout. Literally. In addition to doing these water ski races, she’s a boxer. She finished second in the women’s division.
There were 60 boats and skiers in the 2013 event and many competitors and land-locked spectators were back on shore partying right after the finish, beers in hand by 11 a.m. Which was a couple hours after the people on the boats at the finish line. Some boats even made it into a mini tie-up party.
Hey, it was 5 o’clock somewhere, and at this fun event, the clock seems stuck on 5 o’clock.
Except when its timing the racers, and especially Todd Haig.
By the way, many of these competitors race around the world. There are events October thru February in Australia – including the “Bridge to Bridge” in Sydney in November, for example – and the World Championships are the first weekend of September in Spain’s Canary Islands.
If you’re in any of these areas, I highly recommend checking out the race, as well as the the racers. And they won’t mind if you party.