Oak Bay twins test warm waters of Florida for world water ski competition

Water skiing may seem like a solo sport, but it took a team to get a pair of Oak Bay teens to world competition next week in Florida. Support from family to teachers and coaches to financial aid from community groups all helped the duo overcome obstacles, both usual and pandemic-related.

Recent Oak Bay High graduates Jonathan (John) Horwood and Christopher Horwood left for the U.S. on the weekend, for a week of international competition before heading to university.

“To make it further than we ever thought we would is a dream come true,” Chris said.

With stringent travel restrictions due to COVID-19 impacting training, the two got some good wet suits and hit the waters of Shawnigan Lake as temperatures dipped well below optimal.

“It’s been a long journey and a lot of hard work,” John said.

Most recently, John finished first overall in the Canadian National Championship in Calgary over the August long weekend with gold in jump and slalom. Christopher won silver in jump and slalom, and bronze in tricks, finishing second overall just behind his brother.

Both look forward to meeting new people, and the tougher competition. Growing up here, ski seasons are usually just two months, John noted, as opposed to those who live in warmer climates and train 11 months of the year.

He expects this week’s training, and next week’s competition, will be something he remembers for the rest of his life. The pair will compete in the U17 competition and are official alternates for the U21 team, and both say they have a chance to reach the podium.

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