From Sea World to the World Waterski Championships

FORMER Sea World water skier Susan Cartwright has traded tricks for speed as she pursues a place in the Australian team for the 16th World Waterski Racing Championships in Belgium next year.

The 32-year-old, now based in Ballina, has a selection race at Gosford this weekend and she knows a win there would be a major stepping stone to national selection.

It's life in the fast lane for Cartwright, who can reach speeds of 169km/h behind team boat Stalker, driven by Brad Groves.

The race this weekend will be held at Gosford's Brisbane Waters, which will make life interesting for Cartwright, as it is a saltwater estuary.

“It can get really choppy there and reach heights between half-a-metre to a metre,” she said.

“The races last about 45 minutes and we will do laps around a 10km course they have set up there.”

Cartwright began water-ski racing at the age of seven and won her first Australian title at the age of eight.

She's also competed in the Southern 80, which is billed as the pinnacle of world water-ski racing.

The 80km course winds its way along the Murray River between Torrumbarry and Echuca and attracts crowds of about 80,000 people.

“As far as spectators go, outside of the Formula 1 Grand Prix and the AFL Grand Final, it is one of the biggest sporting events in Victoria,” Cartwright said.

“The course has something like 116 bends, so it is really fun and the event has become so big it is shown on Fox Sports.”

Cartwright trains on the Richmond River, favouring a run up to Wardell as part of her preparations for national selection.

Her aim is to place in the top three this weekend and then move on to the next selection races, which will be held on January 18 at Lake Charm near Swan Hill as part of the Australian titles.

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