CARP – The Ottawa Water Ski Club (OWSC) hosted their first competitive event last weekend (Aug. 28 to Aug. 30) on a private lake in Carp.

The private lake, rented by the OWSC, is just off Carp Road right beside Evolution Wake Park’s private lake.

The lake itself is long and narrow, but wide enough to host a sanctioned or “record capable” event. Last weekend’s event, called the Carp Classic by OWSC President Ross Mirski, was a first in the club’s 47-year history.

“It’s our first tournament ever,” Mirski told West Carleton Online from the shores of the scenic lake Saturday afternoon (Aug. 38). “Waterskiing is a popular thing at the cottage, but at the competitive level it’s a small sport.”

The OWSC, formerly known as the Gloucester Water Ski Association (GWSA), was established in 1973, and is the longest-standing water ski club in Ottawa, and the largest in the area open to the public. The OWSC is a member-run, not-for-profit organization.

Corkery's Mickey Gellar shows agility during the foot pass of his tricks routine Saturday. Photo by Jake Davies
Corkery’s Mickey Gellar shows agility during the foot pass of his tricks routine Saturday. Photo by Jake Davies

The OWSC was founded by Pat Messner, a slalom specialist who holds Canada’s only Olympic medal in water skiing—a bronze in women’s slalom at the 1972 Summer Olympics—along with four world championship medals, 18 Canadian champion titles and 19 different Canadian records.

The OWSC has called Eccolands Park (334 River Rd.) home for more than 45 seasons and Carp (3119 Carp Rd.) since 2018. The lake on Carp is perfect for hosting record capable events, Mirski said.

It is long enough to set up the standardized slalom course. Divers are used for this process to ensure the distances and spacing is consistent with other record capable events.

“This is our home lake, it’s fantastic,” Mirski said. “The water skis great. It’s calm, it’s tree shaded. The club itself is growing because of this lake. We received nothing but positive comments.”

But there is still enough room for the power boat to navigate the lake. The lake is narrow enough and tree-lined which helps keep the wind off the water.

“People want to ski record capable events,” Mirski said. “It all has to be surveyed. Divers set up the pylons. Cameras are needed for judging. Boat speed and length of rope determines the best skier. We’ve got some great skiers here. Everyone knows Cambridge’s Jason McClintock (a Team Canada member). A lot of people here have set personal bests.”

There is a slalom competition and a trick competition. For the tricks round, held Saturday, skiers get two 20-second passes. The first is a hand pass, the second a foot pass (skiers hold the tow rope with their foot).

“Do as many tricks as they can do in 20 seconds,” Mirski said. “It’s based on a point system.”

Mirski says, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the OWSC did not have a lot of time to set up the Carp Classic.

“We didn’t have much notice,” he said. “Two weeks ago, we found out we would be record capable.”

Because of the pandemic restrictions in place, their event was one of the first water ski competitions held in the province. Despite the short notice, the OWSC was able to find 62 competitors for the Carp Classic.

But the weekend’s event is just the start of something growing in watersports in Carp. Next year the Carp lake will host the Eastern Canadian Water Ski Championship.

For more information on the OWSC, click here.