FOR IMMMEDIATE RELEASE: DECEMBER 7TH; ABU DHABI, U.A.E.- It took all 54 jumps to decide who would be the eventual winner of the 1st Abu Dhabi Marine Festival’s "Abu Dhabi Jump International Trophy" but for Canadian skiier Jaret Llewellyn, he saved his best for last, doing a 61.9 meter masterpiece to outdo Australian World Record holder Bruce Neville to win the championship and the $10,000 first place prize.

If this was a book, it would take you to the final word to find out the finish as 10 of the world’s best ski jumpers as they arrived in the United Arab Emirates as one of the featured events of the 1st Abu Dhabi Marine Festival. The International Water Ski Federation’s tie in came with a unique but well worked sinario with the U.I.M.’s F1 World Championship powerboat racing tour as they finished off their 9 race season and battle for the World Championship in Abu Dhabi’s inner harbor.

In the first day elimination that would trim the field of skiiers from 10 to 8 for the next day final’s, young 20 year old skiierJesper Cassoe of Denmark, who won the 1998 European Championship, just missed out making to top 8, while Great Britian’s Jason Seels, nursing an injured knee tried his best but couldn’t get all he needed and joined Cassoe on the beach as a spectator for the next day’s final.

Warm, calm, perfect conditions greeted the field of 8 ski jumpers as they played in front of the Prince of the United Arab Emirates His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the many interested spectators from throughout the world as the skiiers hit the jump and the start of competition with daytime tempatures of 33 degrees. France’s 27 year-old Christophe Duverger was first out and did a solid 52.3 meter best in his 2nd jump to set the mark to beat early.

Italy’s Andrea Alessi came out 2nd and improved 2 meters on his 1st day’s best with a 55.9 meter attempt and moved to the point. 1998 European Record Holder Germany’s Steffen Wild did a 56.2 meter jump and also improved by over 2 meters from the day before to move into the top spot with five jumpers remaining in the line-up.

The 1998 Xtreme World Cup Champion Kyle Eade of New Zealand was up next and couldn’t get into his groove finishing with a 55.9, tieing with Italian Andrea Alessi for the 2nd best at this point. World Record Holder Bruce Neville of Australia came out 5th in the competition and stunned the crowd with a 59.1 meter jump on his first attempt. The "Moses" of the competition Neville moved the bar to a new level being the first skiier to break the 60 meter mark with a tremendous 61.6 mark.

What seemed unapproachable at this point was when American Scot Ellis’s best was a 60.9 being the 2nd to hit 60+ meters and move into 2nd, while Austria’s Daniel Dobringer battled to a 57 meter mark and left the door open to the 3-time World Jump Champion the last 3 years Jaret Llewellyn. The 28 year-old native of Calgary, Alberta who now makes his home in West Palm Beach, Florida, did a 58.1 and a 56.9 attempt leading up to the final attempt of the competition and $10,000 in the balance.

Jaret, who began skiing at six, used everybit of his knowledge of the sport as he dug down deep and waited for the last minute to make the cut, attacking the 8 meter jump ramp and sailed to a winning attempt of 61.9 meters beating Nevelle by .3 of a meter and came away with the first ever Abu Dhabi Jump International Trophy. "It was great, I knew if I just was patient I could get the jump I wanted," stated the 11 year professional, "It was a long flight here but well worth it we all had a great time and loved the site. I only hope I can come back to defend my title next year."

It’s only happened once but the International Water Ski Federation may have hit gold with their connection with the U.I.M. and the Abu Dhabi Marine Festival. Ten of the best coming together and showing their talents to a new and appreciable audience in the desert. Its taken the vision of IWSF’s Secretary General Tognala Graziano and his officals to put this into a remarkable finale and wrap up a wonderful year of skiing.