Published online by Cobram Courier on 2 December, 2013.

This article also appeared in print on 27 November.


Cobram man Dion Sullivan looks set to represent Australia once again at the World Barefooting Championships, which will be held at Lake Mulwala in March.

Dion, who has been waterskiing since he was aged three, qualified for the Australian team in two of the three categories (slalom and jumps) at the trials near Sydney on November 16 and 17.

In addition to the qualifying time for the jump, Dion also added 3m to his record.

His previous personal best was a 21.8m jump, but he managed to jump 21.8m on St Georges River, Liverpool at the trials.

But Dion was unable to qualify in the tricks section, which required a score of 25.50.

He scored 19.60 at Liverpool, and 22.50 at a second round trial at Lake Mulwala on Sunday.

Officials will soon select the Australian team from the pool of skiers who achieved qualifying times, and industry heavyweights are confident Dion will make the cut in the slalom and jumps sections.

‘‘If the selectors didn’t pick him to be on the team, they’d be mad,’’ Mulwala Waterski Club ski professional Pete O’Neill said.

Dion’s father is local barefoot legend Brian Sullivan, who has competed at all but one of the last 30 world championship competitions.

Brian hoped Dion could help Australia continue its recent winning streak.

‘‘He has a good chance of making the Australian team,’’ Brian said.

‘‘He was in the Australian gentlemen’s team that won last year in Waco, Texas.’’

Last year was the first time any country had beaten the United States at the world championships, Brian said.

The Australian team won slalom, jumps and tricks in all divisions; juniors, seniors and open ages.

Brian said in the unlikely event Dion missed out on a team place, he would compete as an individual.

Skiers who make the qualifying times but are not selected to join a national team can still enter the competition as individuals.

But Dion is less concerned with how he competes, as long as he gets to spend some time on the water.

‘‘I just want to go and ski my best,’’ he said.

‘‘I don’t really worry about it. If you can do a (personal best) and ski to your ability, there’s not much more you can do.’’

O’Neill said Dion was a born skier with talent that spoke for itself.

‘‘Dion’s a really unassuming guy who goes about his business politely, without stepping on anyone’s toes. But deep down, there’s an aggressive bear in him. He’s a lovely guy.’’

AuthorToni Brient