Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Waterskiing show the latest attraction besides Ferris wheel


Two hours before show time at the Taman Tasik Titiwangsa boathouse, Toni Snow, the 25-year-old lead skier breaks the 12-member crew of the H2O multinational ski team into small groups to practise their pyramid stands.

Snow, an American who started skiing at the tender age of 17 months, has done more than 10,000 pyramid formations in her show career.

All set: The skiers getting ready with their ropes and boards before the boat drags them on skis.
In forming the upper tiers of a pyramid, female skiers are always favoured because they are more agile.

“Sometimes the lighter girls can feel very heavy on the guys who form the base of the pyramid and vice versa, the heavier girls may seem lighter. It’s all in the climbing technique. If you apply heavy steps on a supporting shoulder, this will create unevenness where balance is concerned. The secret of keeping a pyramid formation steady is in keeping the body tight,” said Snow.

In Snow’s case, even minute details like where the girls’ ropes should hang after they have descended from their upper tiers is looked into as dangling ends can get entangled with the base skiers’ legs and cause accidents.

But these are no green horns that Snow is working with. Even Maddie Genengeles, 17, the youngest member of the show, was already waterskiing by age three.

Starting off: The girls sitting on the men’s shoulders before assuming a standing position.
Dave Thornton, 29, who has done close to 3,000 pyramid formations with other performing ski troupes, said he had been part of a five-tiered pyramid formation on a few occasions.

“They call this the sport of a thousand falls.

“Practise and team work are essential to getting it right,” said Thornton.

While the uninitiated may wonder where these pros find the strength to hang on to the towlines, perform stunts and wave at the crowd at the same time, Gary Choong, 39, a Malaysian performing with the troupe, would brush it aside as an easy feat.

Highly-skilled skier: Toni Snow doing a solo on her swivel board. Waterskiing is second nature to this American who started skiing at the age of 17 months.
He said the secret was in finding one’s point of balance in the water instead of fighting the line.

The double-tiered pyramid formation is one of the many tricks the H2O ski team is currently famed for.

According to Richie Terrril, 29, an employee with the Australian-based company, choreography for the water ski show had been planned weeks in advance before the grand-scale launch of the ‘Eye of Malaysia’ Ferris wheel on the night of Jan 6 this year.

The H2O skiers are here until April 7. The show’s repertoire includes waverunners (jetskis), pyrotechnics, spectacular water screen images as well as laser lights and music.

Terril provides an insight into how the team has found a way to synchronise the whole show, especially when it comes to the deployment of pyrotechnics.

The 18-minute show will start off with a countdown and this is when the ski team will start their stop watches.

Guided by the times, they will then press the required buttons to activate the pyrotechnics.

The result is a spectacular display of sparks cleverly timed to gel in with the beat of the music and the laser lights.

The Wet and Wild Ski Show is on from Wednesday to Sunday at Lake Tititwangsa.

Showtime is at 9pm and entrance is free.

Published in The Star on 8 March 2007.