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MY BIG WET GREEK ‘HOLIDAY' - Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Thursday August 1, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

The PlanetSKI team gets up to all sorts outside the winter season. For our Chief Reporter, a relaxing break in Greece turned into a busman's holiday.

Spending much of the winter hopping from one ski resort to the next as I do, it's rare that I decide to take a full two-week break in the sun during the summer months.

I usually choose to stay close to home to pursue my other passion of water skiing at a lake just six miles from where I live.
This year I had the chance to combine a holiday with watching an international water ski competition.

My partner, James, (also a water skier) was going to the event to test some technical kit he's been working on so I thought, why not?

I told the PlanetSKI editor not to expect to hear from me for a full 14 days.

I had no intention of doing any work whatsoever.

It started according to plan with a tranquil five days on the beautiful island of Corfu.

Corfu Corfu


Then it was off to Ioannina on the Greek mainland for the competition, the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation Europe & Africa Over 35s tournament.

I had visions of lolling around lakeside, sunning myself, eating ice cream,sipping the odd beer while watching the sport.

Ski Pamvotis, IoanninaThe competition site in Ioannina


About 36 hours before the four-day competition was due to start, the official commentator pulled out due to family illness.

Time for the organisers to panic.

"Would Jane be prepared to do it, do you think?" they asked James, desperately.

"Well, she might. I'll ask."

And that's how I ended up commentating on site and for the live streamed webcast at a major water ski competition.

Live webcastAt the mic

Fortunately I had 30-plus years of broadcasting at the BBC behind me so the speaking bit wasn't too alien.

My expertise in competitive slalom, tricks and jumping - the three events being contested at Ioannina - was rather more limited.

I needed to do my research and make copious notes.

Score sheetsScore sheets & notes

A bit of blagging and a LOT of support from the many skiers who agreed to become the Alan Shearer to my Gary Lineker and we just about pulled it off.

CommentaryWith top skier Genadi Guralia & Greek commentator Sophia Kostoula

Shame I wasn't earning Gary Lineker's salary.

It was exhausting work.

Even at the BBC I didn't have to sit at a mic for up to 11 hours a day for four consecutive days.

But it was a lot of fun and I made many new friends.

 Dusko Lukic & Tim HazelwoodTop skiers, pundits & new friends, GB's Dusko Lukic & Tim Hazelwood

It was a great championships for the Brits, who excel at water skiing.

Several medals of all colours were collected, including Team Gold.

Team podiumTeam podium, 1st GB, 2nd Greece, 3rd Germany

Now, you'd think the wrap pool party at the Over-35 championships (with age categories right up to the over-65s) would be a sophisticated, well-behaved event, wouldn't you?

Judge for yourself..

And yours truly was not spared.

At the pool partyFully clothed & dripping wet






GB's multiple gold medallist at the competition, Tim Hazelwood (58) and Sweden's Magnus Jonsson (51) were the main culprits.

Proof that age is just a number.

With Magnus JonssonWith Magnus Jonsson
















Now My Big Wet Greek ‘Holiday' is over.

And I need another one to recover.


Ioannina has mountains.  It's in the Epirus region of Greece which has three ski resorts (for skiing on snow, I mean).

Now, there's an idea.....

And if you don't believe me see this earlier report from PlanetSKI's Konstantinos Valtadoros as he looks at all the main ski resorts on offer:

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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