American national water ski champions from the Cypress Gardens Water Ski Show Team gave an incredible performance at the Lebanon Water Festival's water ski shows in Tyre on September 12 and 13. The team, composed of Rachael Zenk, Jeremy Armstrong, Joe Sawaska, Mark Voisard, Taylor Voisard, Caleb Turzinski, Austin Walstad, Shauna Pasanen, Bailey Nadeau, Travis Jervik and Cathy and Gerry Luiting (recently introduced to the Water Ski Hall of Fame) performed its first show on Saturday night, under fireworks and in front of a crowd of 12 000 to 15 000 spectators who had gathered on Tyre's main corniche, between the Islamic University and the Rest House.
Approximately 7000 people showed up for the day show on Sunday September 13. Skiers were pushed to their limit in difficult water conditions, which tested their skills. They performed highly difficult tricks such as pyramids, jumps, barefoot water skiing and ballet choreographies in a very agitated sea and high waves. Lebanese water ski champion Silvio Chiha also opened the show carrying the Lebanese flag with the Lebanese national anthem. American announcer Eric Stener commented the show and even addressed the crowd in Arabic.
"It's the fourth time I come to Lebanon for the water ski show and it's always a pleasure, even when the water conditions are difficult. We made great friends in Lebanon over the years and are always excited to come back", says Jeremy Armstrong, water skier and boat driver.
"Simon Khoury is passing on his knowledge with the Lebanon Water Festival. I didn't know much about Tyre, but I will definitely try to come ski here more often. It is a beautiful region that deserves to be promoted", Silvio Chiha says.
The water ski shows were also an occasion to raise awareness about the importance of the preservation and depollution of Tyre's coastline and sea. In the past years, the municipality has put a lot of efforts into preventing illegal fishing and creating a natural reserve to protect underwater Phoenician ruins and marine life.