Waterskiing brothers fly high

Joel, Joshua and Luke Runciman – Water skiing brothers (from left)

Cricket has Brendon and Nathan McCullum, rugby has the Barretts and now Cambridge has the Runciman brothers.

Siblings Joel, Luke and Joshua Runciman might one day be in the same league of sporting stardom after singling themselves out as three of New Zealand water skiing’s hottest young talents.

Joshua, 10. who attends Leamington School, won gold in the U10 slalom and silver in tricks at the national championships in Whanganui over Easter, two weeks after equalling the New Zealand sub-junior slalom record.

Luke, 12, a Cambridge Middle School student, won gold in the U14 boys slalom and tricks classes and silver in the jump, emerging as the overall New Zealand 2021 junior water ski champion.

He took the slalom title ahead of Joel, 14, who won the Waikato championships this year and was favoured to grab the gold but had a fall in his final run.

To cap off their stellar season, Joshua and Luke also competed at the New Zealand wakeboarding championships from April 9-10.

“Neither had been on their wakeboards since last year’s nationals but they entered just for kicks and Josh came third and Luke won, which was pretty phenomenal,” their father Neil said.

Water skiing runs in the blood for the Runciman brothers, who all took up the sport before they were four years old.

Their father Neil is a former national champion who has coached professionally in New Zealand, Florida, Dubai, London and Australia, while their mother Julie is the country’s current senior women’s slalom title holder.

Neil is humble about his own role in his sons’ success.

“A good friend of mine, Duncan Hancock, gets more involved with their training than I do because I’m dad and what would dad know?” he said.

“But there’s a lot of athleticism on Julie’s side of the family.  The boys’ cousin, Samuel Tanner, is a pretty amazing 1500m runner who is currently at university in Seattle on a scholarship, and he’s just been selected for this year’s Olympics.”

Neil said his boys  were competitive, but also spurred each other on.

All three now have their sights set on the International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation World U17 Waterski Championships in Santiago, Chile in 2022.

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