Winter Haven to host the world at IWWF World Water Ski Show Tournament
The largest competitive water ski event in decades will take over downtown Winter Haven from Oct. 20 to Oct. 23 as the International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) World Water Ski Show Tournament, presented by Nautique, takes to Lake Silver.
More than seven nations will be represented, between the team competitions and the individual competitions in swivel ski, adagio doubles and freestyle jumping.
“Think of this as the Olympics of water skiing,” said Mark Jackson, the Director of Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing. “These teams are made of all-stars who are coming together, many for the first time, to represent their country in the sport’s only team discipline.”
The Opening Ceremony, held at LEGOLAND at its fabled ski stadium, harkens back to the roots of Florida tourism.
“Before it was the LEGOLAND Florida Resort, it was Cypress Gardens, the state’s first theme park,” said Jackson. “Founded by Dick Pope Sr., he utilized water skiing in before-movie programing in theaters to highlight Florida in general and the park in particular. Most scholars think he single handedly created the tourism industry that today is the largest employment sector in the state.”
To celebrate both the county’s water ski history and the IWWF World Water Ski Show Tournament, downtown Winter Haven will host the International Food and Drink Street Festival Thursday, Oct. 20, starting at 5:30 p.m. This family, and dog friendly, event will close Central Avenue and Third Street and features food from local restaurants and vendors as well as live music. Admission is free.
The IWWF World Water Ski Show Tournament, presented by Nautique, starts Friday, Oct. 21 with individual events and a show ski exhibition by Team Mexico. Saturday and Sunday will be team competition, closing out with the freestyle jump competition on Sunday afternoon. Centered around Lake Silver in downtown Winter Haven, the free event will close some streets around Martin Luther King Jr. Park.
For more information on the IWWF World Water Ski Show Tournament, go to www.worldwaterskishow.com or the Visit Central Florida website, www.visitcentralflorida.org/waterski100. You can also find links to livestream the event at both places or on social media.
For a calendar of events, click HERE.