Belfast Telegraph

Our girl Ali proves she's not afraid of a challenge

By Ali Gordon

Spluttering up what felt like half the Lagan, with mascara streaming down my face and a most unflattering wetsuit on, wasn't exactly up there with my most attractive moments but, boy, did I enjoy it.

It all looks so easy when you see the professionals do it. They glide along the water, twist and turn themselves around ever so fluidly and then return ashore effortlessly. And then there was me.

My bottom was so low down it looked as though I was sitting on an imaginary toilet, my arms were locked out so much I thought I'd never get them bent again and my skies were going in two separate directions – and neither in the way I wanted.

But it was wonderful, just whizzing up and down Belfast Lough on water skiis.

It's the perfect tonic for a busy week or even a quick adrenaline rush at lunch time – and it's right in the city centre.

With the 2014 Irish Cable Wakeboarding Championships under way this weekend at Titanic Slipways, I turned my hand, or rather uncoordinated limbs, to watersports.

Despite confirming my initial thought that the competitors wouldn't be shaking in their boots at the new girl in town, I managed to manoeuvre my way along the course with the help of the friendly bunch at Cable and Wake.

Even when I was bobbing up and down at the far end of the course, skis in the air, wafting my arms around after an unfortunate face-plant into the water, I could hear the guys guiding me.

"Wakeboarding is really growing in Northern Ireland, we've probably grown the sport about 1000% here in the last year," said Cable and Wake's Samantha Thompson. "It really is for all ages and I think it's reawakened a love for watersports."

Set up in 2013, Cable and Wake offer wakeboarding and water-skiing lessons for all and today they host the first day of the prestigious Championships.

Attracting Ireland's top wakeboarders, there is set to be an epic battle between reigning champion and Ireland captain David Coates and rival David O'Caoimh.

Belfast Telegraph

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