Daredevil water-skis around island

  • Man on a rope: Frank Cook passes Fort St Catherine while waterskiing around the island (Photograph supplied)
  • Frank Cook, right, with Harold Conyers

A daredevil tourist water-skied around Bermuda and plans to do it again next year.

Frank Cook, 64, took an hour and 18 minutes to complete the 42-mile circuit with Harold Conyers, a Bermudian architect, at the helm of the boat.

Mr Cook said that although he had water-skied on lakes in his native New Hampshire, he had never done it on open water.

He added: “I’m normally in a confined lake that is actually about the size of Bermuda, so I have land all around me and water inside, instead of water all around me and land inside.”

Mr Cook said rough seas caused by Hurricane Florence had caused some problems.

He added: “We ran into some pretty big swells which I had never experienced before — it was like I was skiing up big mountains and down the other side.

“I had never even ridden around the island before so it was fantastic. I’d love to come back next year and to have other people doing it.”

Mr Cook set out from Wreck Hill in Sandys on Monday at about 4pm and finished the course at Caroline Bay Marina in Sandys.

The journey was calm for much of the route but because of increased surf caused by Florence passing the South Shore was more of a challenge.

Mr Cook, a regular visitor to Bermuda for consultancy work, decided to bring his wife, Rose, and other family members on vacation to help him with the challenge.

He said: “The swells were a little scary at first. It was really interesting because when the boat’s riding up the swells it slows down but when it went over the crest and was coming down the other side while I was still coming up the swell, I could feel myself speed up while he was going down.

“I enjoyed skiing close to some of the breakers but you don’t want to fall in those kinds of conditions.”

Mr Cook added: “We got to see Pompano Beach Club where I’m staying, so we got to wave which was cool. We saw a high-speed catamaran go by, but the most exciting parts were the swells.

“I have done this distance a number of times — I never thought the distance would be an issue but had no idea what the water conditions would be like. It was very hard on the legs with all the ups and downs.”

Mr Cook is interested to find out if he is the first water-skier to circumnavigate the island.

He said Kent Richardson, owner of Bermuda Waterski and Wakeboard Centre and a “ski guru”, told him he was not aware of anyone else who had done it.

Mr Cook offered some advice to anyone interested in joining him next year. He said: “I had a big race during the summer, which I prepared for by hiking and doing workouts. Then I do as much skiing as I can.

“The skis are 7½ft long — they are not a typical slalom ski.

“People should always wear goggles and helmets, and wetsuit for protection, and just ski a lot.”