SunFest: Point Ruston to host world water ski racing championships this summer

First time in over a decade this competition comes to the U.S.

Glenn Gervais catching some air Photo by Sean Fields
Glenn Gervais catching some air
Photo by Sean Fields

POINT RUSTON, Wash. – The world’s fastest water skiers will converge on the Puget Sound this summer for the 20th World Water Ski Racing Championships. It’s all a part of the SunFest Watersports Festival presented by CHI Franciscan Health on Saturday, July 29th and Saturday, August 5th in Point Ruston, which is FREE to attend.

The world championships are conducted every two years and was last held in Wellington, New Zealand in 2015. The last time the world championships were conducted in the U.S. was 2003 in Long Beach. This summer, the competition comes to Point Ruston with its panoramic views of the South Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains and Mount Rainer.

“This international event is taking place on our very own shoreline for everyone to enjoy, regardless if you are a water skiing fan or not,” said Phedra Redifer, regional parks attractions manager for Metro Parks. “This event is just a continuation of our collaborative efforts that help us bring such unique and exciting events to Tacoma.”

The World Water Ski Racing Championships will showcase 180 high-performance athletes and powerful boats from Australia, Belgium, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Austria, Spain, and the United States. The competition consists of four races held over a 10-day period. Races are circuits between 30 to 60 minutes long. Points are awarded for each race and the worst score is dropped from the total. This sport combines extreme speed, strength, endurance and determination.

Fifty international teams will participate in six different classes – men, women and juniors. Each team consists of a driver, observer and skier behind specialized tow boats capable of speeds of more than 100 miles per hour (thanks to custom engines throwing off 1,600 horsepower). Skiers ride on a large, single water ski with the tow rope wrapped around their backs to stabilize them.

Along with the World Water Ski Racing Championship, the SunFest Watersports Festival will include Hyperlite and HO Watersports demonstrations plus skydiving demonstrations from world renowned skydiver, Luke Aikins. There will also be local food, live music, beer gardens, a family fun zone, and areas to ‘meet the teams.’ The land side portion of the event will be produced by local specialty event planning company, Festivals Inc., which produces large scale events like the Bite of Seattle® and the Taste of Tacoma®.

SunFest will benefit Ben’s Fund, founded by Seahawks General Manager John Schneider and wife Traci, in partnership with Families for Effective Autism Treatment, which provides financial assistance with services specifically related to autism spectrum disorder treatments.

For more information on the World Water Ski Racing Championships or the SunFest Watersports Festival, head to

– Festivals, Inc.