There are three things that Dr Gabrielle Allen of Adelaide Hills Family Dental in SA needs to make her happy—a powerful boat, a placid river and a single ski.
I love waterskiing and, in particular, slalom. The buoys are fixed in the river so you have to ski around them while the boat travels in a straight line. Each time you master a run, the boat’s speed is increased until it’s travelling at 55 kilometres per hour. Once you can handle that speed then the rope is shortened so it gets even more difficult. The movement is like a swinging pendulum and if you get it right, it all flows really nicely.
“I have two older brothers. When I was a kid, we had a shack by the river and Dad owned a speedboat. Most holidays and weekends we would be down on the river waterskiing. I started very young, probably four years of age, and Dad would often have all three kids behind the boat.
“We never used children’s equipment, Dad was very much of a mind that we had to learn to ski the proper way. It was great fun and I was using one ski by the time I was seven or eight.
“When I was a bit older, I joined the local branch of the South Australia ski club. They had training days, and people would take turns providing their boats for the use of the club. When I was 18, I started entering the competitions.
“I competed in the nationals each year, and used to travel from state to state. I’ve skied in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. I won the Under-21 Nationals when they were in Adelaide, and went to New Zealand for the Under-23 Kiwi Challenge.
“That all took place through my university years, but I had to slow down in fourth year as the program was getting much busier. I haven’t competed since then, but I will again one day. It might be in the golden oldies, but that’ll be okay!
“I’m pretty busy with post-graduate study specialising in paediatric dentistry now and I recently became engaged, but I still get down to the shack often. There’s nothing better than a day on the water with family and friends.