Catalina Connection

Catalina Ski Race Turns 71: Join the Festivities for the World’s ‘Premier’ Waterskiing Race

LONG BEACH—Celebrating 71 years, Catalina Ski Race has been around nearly as long as waterskiing, which was invented in July of 1922 by Ralph Samuelson. This year the event will take place on July 20, offering much in the way of entertainment for competitors and onlookers alike.

This global event attracts competitions from around the world to begin the 62-mile race beginning in Long Beach, making the trek to Avalon and then finishing near one of Long Beach’s most recognizable attractions, Queen Mary.

The competition is made up of 20 different classes, including racers at the beginning and expert stages. Classes for the race are: Super Class; Men’s Open; Women’s Open; Junior Boys; Junior Girls; Intermediate Men; Intermediate Women; Senior Men; Senior Women; Veteran Men; Expert Men; Masters; Formula II Outboard; Open Day Cruiser; Mixed Doubles; Double Up; Open Jet; Novice; Over & Back; Sportsman. World Team Rules will be enforced during the events. Boaters looking for skiers and skiers looking for boat owners are welcome to enter; contact for more information.

Hotel Maya, inspired by “Mayan mystique” and “urban chic,” serves as the headquarters for the race. Before the race begins on Friday, there are a variety of activities and events planned to entertain guests and celebrate the race. The festivities will wrap up on Saturday evening after all the races have completed. In addition, Hotel Maya has set aside rooms for competitors and visitors to enjoy. The rooms typically sell out quickly, but email requests to book a room can be sent to David Hein, Long Beach Boat & Ski Club (LBBSC) Commodore at LBBSC members receive a discounted rate.

Entry forms to enter the race can be found online. The fee to enter is $400 and the entry form must be filled out and mailed to Catalina Ski Race, P.O. Box 5246, Garden Grove, CA 92846-5246 by July 10 to be considered. For those who would like to volunteer as a patrol boat, contact Doug Urewicz at 562-533-3321. Contact Jim at or Heidi at to learn more about sponsorships.

Visit for more information about the race.

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