From the 14-17 June 2021, the RAF Waterski Championships took place at the Oxford Wakeboard and Waterski Club in the south of England. The RAF Waterski & Wakeboard Association was set up (nearly 20 years ago) by Wing Commander Andy Fell, with the purpose of introducing new people to the sport at a grass roots level, getting them hooked and encouraging them to take it up more seriously.

The competition had 28 competitors including a number of beginners who were on the training bar on Monday and launching themselves off a 5-foot ramp by competition day on the Thursday. In three days, OWSC coach Steve Glanfield and his team got the beginners to the stage where they could comfortably cut across the wakes and tackle a mini slalom course on two skis. They learned the basics of trick skiing and gained enough confidence to tackle the jump.

As well as these gutsy beginners there were also some more seasoned skier’s competing in the Advanced category including Sgt Tristan Fahey. Tristan is a new member of Aberdeen WSC after being stationed at RAF Lossiemouth earlier this year.

Tristan was brought up in Surrey but is half Scottish and ‘had no choice’ but to take up waterskiing at the age of 4 years old. Tristan’s mother (Adaline Fahey), who is from Caithness, is a 15-time Disabled World Waterski Champion! Adaline was a professional lottery-funded athlete from 1997 to 2009. During her career she competed in all disciplines, achieving 14 World Records and 19 podium appearances. She was also a recipient of the esteemed SJA Bill McGowran Trophy in 1998 – other winners, of which, include Tanni Grey-Thompson, David Weir and Gordon Reid. Across his childhood, Tristan accompanied his Mum to competitions in Italy, the USA and Australia (to name a few) and was, of course, inspired to compete in the sport himself.

At the recent RAF event, the 21-year-old placed 3rd in Ski Jump, 4th in Trick, 7th in Slalom and 3rd Overall!! Tristan will continue to make the 3-hour round trip to Aboyne to train 2-3 times per week. He plans to compete in the RAF Championships again in 2022 where he aspires to better his performance and qualify for the Inter-Services Championships.

In his spare time, along with his Mum and Dad, Tristan volunteers at Access Adventures near London, where he buddy skis with participants with a disability.

If you have a sensory, physical or learning disability and would like to get involved in waterskiing or wakeboarding please get in touch with Louise Gillespie our National Development Officer.