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7/5/2011 12:00:00 PM

The Global Invitational Water Ski Championships will be making its debut at Millennium Park on July 9-10, 2011. The world's top professional water ski athletes will compete in traditional slalom and long-distance jumping for over $40,000 in prize money. Free-style jumping, wakeboarding, barefoot skiing, hydrofoil, and show skiing will round out the exciting two-day event. The Kent County Parks and Recreation is estimating approximately 10,000 spectators will attend this great event.

The Global Invitational is great example of the Kent County Park system bringing quality programming to Millennium Park for the benefit of the entire region. Unique events such as the Global Invitational attract participants and spectators from across the country, helping to shine the light nationally on Kent County Parks," said event organizer Dana Reed. "Athletes from around the world will be here competing and fans will have an opportunity to interact with them, take photos and get their autographs."

Returning Global Invitational Champion Will Asher of England, World Jump Record holder Freddy "The Nightmare" Krueger of the United States and World Slalom Record holder Regina Jaquess will be just a few of the top athletes making a splash at Millennium Park. Roger Sabine, Kent County Parks Director stated, "Kent County Parks is pleased the Millennium Park has been selected as the site to host the Global Invitational Water Ski Championships. The international water ski competition is a unique opportunity for residents to watch some of the best water skiers in the world."

"The Global Invitational Water Ski event this July in Millennium Park is another great example of the diversity of events our Kent County Parks can host," stated Doug Small, President of Experience Grand Rapids. "This event is a great opportunity for water sport enthusiasts to enjoy outstanding competition at one of the many popular attractions in the Grand Rapids area."

In slalom skiing, athletes navigate through a six-buoy course while the boat travels at a constant speed of 36 mph with an initial 32-foot line. After completion of each pass, the rope is shortened by a pre-determined length to increase difficulty. Whichever athlete rounds the most buoys at the shortest line length, wins.

In the breathtaking long-distance jumping event, skiers race toward a 6-foot high ramp reaching speeds of 70 mph and fly distances well-over 200 feet. The athletes get three approaches at the ramp, and the furthest jumper wins. Top men's jumpers, Ryan Dodd of Canada jumped 226 feet at the 2011 Moomba Masters night finals held in Melbourne, Australia earlier this year and Freddy Krueger recently soared to a remarkable 240 feet under the Louisanna lights at the fourth annual LA Night Jam.

"Professional waterskiing events are usually held on private lakes, so we are very excited to experience the perfect venue of Millennium Park." The finals will be held Sunday afternoon starting at 3 p.m. and ending with the men's jump finals at 6 p.m.

The Global Invitational is a family oriented event with a fun atmosphere for all to enjoy. The event is produced by Pro Slalom Events, sponsored by Global Marine Insurance and hosted by Action Water Sports. Concessions and parking will be organized by the Kent County Parks Department.

Global Invitational Events Schedule


8:00 AM Open Men Slalom

12:00 PM Wakeboard/ Demo

12:15 AM Open Women Slalom

1:45 PM Hydrofoil/Barefoot

2:00 PM Open Men Jump

3:20 PM Hydofroil/Wakeboard

3:35 PM Open Men Slalom

5:30 PM Barefoot/ Hydrofoil

5:45 PM Open Men Slalom


10:00 AM Open Women

11:20 AM Open Men Slalom (6)

12:00 AM Wake Board/Barefoot

12:20 PM Open Women Slalom (6)

1:00 PM Barefoot Hydrofoil

1:15 PM Open Men Jump

2:20 PM Hydrofoil/Surf

2:40 PM Open Women (4)

3:05 PM Wake Board

3:20 PM Open Men (4)

3:45 PM Show Ski

4:15 PM Open Women (2)

4:25 PM Open Men (2)

4:40 PM Hydrofoil/Barefoot

5:00 PM Open Men Jump (6)

6:00 PM Awards Ceremony

To learn more, visit the website.

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