Watch "The World's Greatest Ski Race" From the Queen Mary

Not waterskiing to Catalina Island? You can still enjoy the fun, sans sea foam.

By Alysia Gray Painter
|  Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013  |  Updated 6:57 PM PDT
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Watch "The World's Greatest Ski Race" From the Queen Mary

Queen Mary

Watch the start -- and end -- of the epic Catalina Ski Race from the Queen Mary on Saturday, July 20.

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Waterskiing is a popular movie device -- hi, "Freaky Friday" and high-jinx-y summer comedies -- and the Go-Gos put it on the cover of one of the '80s iconic albums.

As comically as it is sometimes portrayed, however, waterskiing is a rigorous form of sport, and even someone gliding across a lake is giving their all in the strength and skill departments.

But the zenith of waterskiing and athletically giving one's all merges every year in the Catalina Ski Race, which is often billed as "The World's Greatest Ski Race." It's the 65-year-old, 62-mile ski-off that's set to run -- er, ski -- again on Saturday, July 20.

And the course? Oh, just Long Beach to Catalina Island and back. That's all.

If you're not really up to skiing across 62 miles of open ocean, the Queen Mary has a pitch for you: Stay dry and cheer the start of the race from the ocean-liner. Easy? Easy. You can also purchase breakfast, mimosas, Bloody Marys, and generally feel like a swell. 

Admission to the ship is ten bucks for the Catalina Ski Race, parking is additional. Oh, and you'll want to arrive early: That special admission price is good from 7 a.m. to noon.

You can catch the finishers by the Queen Mary Bow Area. The ship is cheekily calling itself "The World's Greatest Viewing Area" in honor of the race's famous billing.

The race kicks off in a split start just a pinch before 9 a.m., meaning you'll see skiers returning fairly soon after that. Record holders have made the whole shebang in under an hour.

We know. That's flipping amazing. We're agog. Total derring-do on display.

If there was ever a waterskiing event to put all of those comical movie scenes to rest, it's this epic competition. Open ocean, 62 miles of waves, and a single set of skis? For several hearty-spirited athletes, it's just another summer Saturday.

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