Here’s something inherently nutty about the Catalina Ski Race. First, most competent water-skiers wouldn’t even consider trying to ski for 62 miles, much less do so at speeds exceeding 90 mph, on the open ocean. Heck, given the sometimes downright nasty conditions between the Port of Long Beach and Catalina, the only populated island in the Southern California Channel Islands chain, even diehard go-fast boat owners are reluctant to run hard at those speeds in that water. Most prefer to take their sweet time.
Yet for 66 consecutive summers, superb athletes clinging to long lines behind big-horsepower beasts have steeled themselves for what is, without a doubt, the world’s most prestigious high-speed waterski event—the Catalina Ski Race. And while there have been some spectacular finishes during the years, none can top the one that went down on a clear July morning this year.