Water ski pyramid sets world record
JANESVILLE It's official.
Thirty-two Rock Aqua Jays, two Rockford Ski Broncs, two Muskego Water Bug Warriors and 12 Chinese water skiers set a new Guinness World Record by completing a quadruple, four-tier human pyramid.
It happened Sept. 23 in Linyi, the Shandong Province of the People's Republic of China, and was certified by a Guinness World Records representative who rode in the towboat, said Joel Shapiro, Aqua Jays club president.
"It was pretty exciting," said Gerry Luiting, Aqua Jays international show director.
"It's just another achievement in a long list of achievements the club has had. And the Guinness people are viewed as the official people of world records, so it's kind of fun to be a part of that,'' he said.
Guinness had videographers, photographers and rules experts in the towboat, a mini helicopter 20 feet from the skiers and rules experts in boats and on shore with binoculars and stop watches to verify the technicalities of the pyramid, Luiting said.
"This is a real legitimate thing for them," he said.
"The Aqua Jays, have enjoyed a long lists of firsts, bests and greatest, and this ranks right up there," Luiting said.
Building water ski show pyramids is fun, but it's a test of teamwork, he said.
"Everybody had to work together for a common cause. It's a nice challenge, but in this case we had to work with people half way around the world with different languages and other challenges to overcome," he said.
The Aqua Jays had their Dyne boat with three 300-horsepower Mercury Optimax outboard motors shipped overseas. Aqua Jays member Edd Rinehart made sure all shipping and customs regulations were met. Other club members built a trailer for the boat and motors to fit in the shipping crate.
"That required quite a bit of coordination," Luiting said.
Additional ski ropes, custom ski bags, leaders and costumes had to be made, and ski equipment for 44 people had to fit in ski bags that weighed less than 50 pounds.
Even making travel arrangements was interesting, Luiting said.
In addition to passports, skiers had to get a Chinese Visa to be allowed into the country. That required each skier to receive an official invitation from the Chinese government, he said.
The Chinese Water Sports Administration made arrangements to ship the triple rig boat, paid for the skiers air fare and reimbursed them for their Visa applications. Skiers paid for the rest of their expenses, Luiting said.
The Aqua Jays and several Chinese water skiers also established an unofficial world record by successfully completing a 55-person, quadruple, four-tier human pyramid Sept. 22 in Linyi, but the pyramid did not meet all the criteria for the Guinness Book of World Records, Shapiro said.