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Water skiers take jumping to extreme | News

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Water skiers take jumping to extreme

Polk City, Florida - We've all seen the lovely ladies on water skis in old film footage from Cypress Gardens, but water skiing in Florida has changed.

A new crop of athletes is revving up the sport to the extreme and it's called water ski flying.

"You gotta have the technique, the training, you got be a little bit crazy," says professional skier Ryan Dodd.

Here's the sport by the numbers: 90 inch skis, 6-foot ramp, 70 miles an hour, 240-foot jumps and the crazy... well, you just can't measure that.

Photo Gallery: Extreme Water Skiing

"I see pictures of me when I was a kid, I was always jumping off stuff; had some towel wrapped around my neck, so the thought of flying through the air or jumping off stuff is evidently in my blood somewhere," says professional skier Scot Ellis.

Ellis is a top ranked jumper and next month his Polk County training facility, Fluid Ski & Sports, will host the finals of the World Ski Fly Tour.

As exciting as it is to watch the skiers zip up the ramp and fly through the air during the daytime, the highlight of the October competition will be skiers jumping at night. For both spectators and skiers, that just ups the fear factor.

"So you have to go out there, turn the fear right off and hope for the best," says Dodd.

Hit the jump wrong or misjudge the landing and skiers can be in a world of hurt. "The water's not so soft when you hit it 60 miles an hour," says Ellis. "You tend to skip like a rock."

But despite the risk, skiers keep coming back. They say there's nothing quite like the high of flying high and landing long.

The Rocketman Night Jump World Ski Fly Tour Finale takes place October 8th  from 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Fluid Ski & Sports is located at Lake Grew at 1251 Holy Cow Road in Polk City. There will be vendors and give-a-ways. Spectators can watch for free. For more information click here.

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