The Russian aquabike championships took place in Moscow, bringing together competitors from all walks of sporting life.
Fun in the sun was just around the corner for capital dwellers, but other aquatic enthusiasts had to travel from as far away as Vladivostok to take part.
There was competition in a number of disciplines, but the spectators made their viewers’ choice by flocking to the aquabike freestyle event.
The favorite, Ivan Potanin, was noticeably absent from the competition, meaning the battle for the top spot was blown wide open.
An unlikely contestant from a completely different sport emerged at the end of the hard-fought outing. Twelve-time windsurfing champion Mikhail Ershov showed his prowess. And like any true winner, Ershov saw plenty of room for improvement, in what is a relatively new discipline for him.
“I would say I gave it about 70 percent of what I’m capable of. I lost some rhythm while trying to perform complex tricks, so I know I can do better,” he said.
However, the hero of the day strongly believes the overall level of the sport is on par with the global standard.
“We’re definitely a world-class team. We’ve got competitors who are fully capable of winning the World Championships. I would say Ivan Potanin is currently the best in Russia,” he said.
Plenty of multi-sport athletes had a chance to showcase their versatility. Aleksandr Shalnov, another one of those well-rounded participants, may have had one of his last aquabike outings.
He previously raced the Runabout F3 powerboat class, but initially made his mark in events where the water is at a much lower temperature.
“I’m looking to quit aquabikes, although I’ve just become Russian Champion for the first time. I previously won the same title in the snowmobile cross race. And now it’s time for me to start racing quad bikes,” he said.