Champion water skier Wade Bennett’s return to competition has gone better than he expected.
In 1995, Bennett was ranked as one of the country’s top water ski racers. He held four national titles, 27 state titles, twice took home the Skier of the Year trophy and represented Australia in international competition.
But an accident at the Mildura 100 left Wade in a coma for 17 days with such extensive injuries to his body that it’s taken him 52 operations to get back to where he is today.
Wade would not compete again until the 2000 Sydney Gay Games in which he competed in the paralympic track running event.
Bennett said of his November showing in the Bridge to Bridge race on the Hawkesbury, “It went really well — I set a record for the disabled, and ended up coming 21st outright.
“I’ve been absolutely rapt by the result, just having teary moments here and there. We had all sorts of exciting things happen — we actually ‘threaded the needle’ between two boats we’d caught up to that were racing side by side.”
Bennett is not ready to return to regular competition, but don’t expect this to be the end of it.
“I’d planned to have another go in February down at Echuca — the Southern 80 ski race which is the biggest ski race in the world,” Bennett said.
“The guys I skied behind in the Bridge to Bridge offered me the run, and I thought, ‘I’ll give it another go’. There are a fair few major river classics coming up and, with my leg being how it is, river skiing is all I can do, so there might be a few more on the cards after this.”