HomeSportRuby places second at waterski national champs

Ruby places second at waterski national champs

Ruby Di Salvo waterski champion
Ruby Di Salvo just after her successful run in the Women's Open Slalom at the Australian National Waterski Championships.

Bundaberg local Ruby Di Salvo has triumphed at the Australian National Waterski Championships, winning silver in the Open Women’s Slalom competition, at the event held in Mulwala, NSW over Easter.

Ruby shares the details of her success and explains what she loves about waterskiing and living in the Bundaberg Region.

How did you get into waterskiing?

My mum and dad moved our family to Bundaberg in 1997 when I was three and bought a house on the Burnett River.

Dad is a boat builder and skied throughout his life, so it was the natural thing for him to build us a ski boat and get us into waterskiing straight away with the river as our backyard.

We eventually progressed to tournament skiing and started competitions when I was about 10 and was instantly hooked.

I grew up in Bundy and although throughout my twenties I have come and gone, I returned about 3 years ago to settle with my partner and we are very happy to call Bundy home again.

The Burnett River remains my favourite place to be in town, I always find peace out there in nature and doing what I love – skiing.

Tell us about your recent success

Ruby Di Salvo waterski chamption
Ruby with her silver medal from the Australian National Waterski Championships.

Nationals is one of our two biggest competitions of the year for Aussies and the culmination of our season after training and competing all year.

I managed to place second in open women’s slalom.

This is the tournament you get to compete against everyone else in your division from around Australia and the comp you want to do your best at.

There can be a lot of nerves and pressure to perform and every skier wants to perform to the best of their ability at the right time and when you do it is the best feeling. 

What is slalom skiing?

Tournament skiing consists of three events – slalom, trick and jump.

I compete in slalom skiing which involves the skier riding a single slalom ski behind a boat travelling at a speed of 55kms/hour for my division in open women’s.

You ski through a course of buoys with the boat travelling though a central boat path and the skier skiing through a set of entry gates and then turning around 6 buoys (3 on each side of the boat) 11m from the boat course and then out exit gates.

The rope is shortened after each pass through the course which increases the difficulty.

You ski until you either miss a gate, buoy or fall off.

It can be pretty savage as just a little mistake and your go is over, so there is a lot of technique, strength and practice involved but it is very addictive!

What do you love about waterskiing?

Waterskiing, plain and simple, brings me joy.

It takes me back to the memories and happiness I felt as a child doing it and reconnecting to my sport after several years away from the sport in my early twenties has brought a lot of happiness and purpose to my life.

When I ski my mind is free from everything else as you have to be present to perform well and I love that.

The setting of waterskiing, being on a river or a lake in the boat surrounded by water and nature is so peaceful.

Where we ski in the river we often watch massive sea eagles fly above us and we’re surrounded by trees.

I often ski quite early before work so we get to be up before the rest of the world watching the sunrise when the river is still and it’s just a magic place to be.

Waterskiing also gives me a goal – something to strive for, train hard for on and off the water and makes me motivated to stay fit and healthy.

I am a goal oriented person so having that purpose and motivation to work towards a goal and the feeling when you achieve it is very rewarding.

Ruby Di Salvo waterski champion
Ruby in action at a previous competition.

How does this win compare to your previous success?

This isn’t the biggest win I’ve had before, but it is probably the performance I am most proud of and the one I have worked the hardest for.

I set a new PB (personal best) in round one, a score of 1@11m and then backed this up running 12m again in the final.

Not too many women in Australia are running 12m in tournaments and this has been my goal for two years now and something I have known I can do at home.

To finally do this at a National titles was incredible and proved that hard work does eventually pay off.

I have been training constantly for four years now, which involves me skiing about four times a week, most of these 5 am wake ups to get on the water before work or whilst the weather is good.

On top of that I also run, do gym and work full-time so I am always flat out.

Last season was a tough one and I was not skiing in tournaments the way I was at home so mentally I was not feeling the reward for my efforts.

This season I’ve achieved all of my goals I have been working on for two years so to ski how I did was such a high for me and motivation to keep working hard.

How important have the people who supported you been to your success?

To be a waterskier takes a lot of support – it’s not a sport you can do on your own, you need a boat driver and a crew to help you just to get on the water.

Without my Dad, my Mum and my partner Murray I wouldn’t be able to do what I do.

I work full time outside of skiing so I normally have to ski very early of a morning before work and without fail Dad will take me as many mornings as I want to go.

Dad and Murray help me get the boat in and out of the water and drive for me, and Dad also helps coach me.

Mum comes to video my sets in the lead up to comps so I can see what I’m doing and try to improve and feeds us when we are done which we love.

I also have coaches Emma and Rick Habermann who run OzSki Resort on the Sunshine Coast, so to send videos to them is also helpful when I can’t see them too often living up here.

They helped me a lot to get back into the sport in 2020.

Murray also tramps all around the country with me and makes my life much easier with getting to comps.

The support means so much to me and just getting to do a sport where you hang out with your favourite people as well in the boat is great. 

Looking ahead, what are your waterskiing goals and aspirations?

I want to be running 12m every time and work on getting deeper down 11m.

My original goal returning to the sport was to just see how good I could get and push myself to see what my potential was.

The goal was to run 12m and I am doing that now so it’s to make it consistent and keep pushing.

I would love to win the National title for open women’s slalom again one day and be ranked in the top 50 women slalomers in the world.

Anything further you’d like to add?

If anyone is interested in getting into tournament waterskiing look up Waterski QLD on Facebook and Instagram or on their website



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