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Hitting the water . . . Steven Shearing, of Riverton, races his jet boat in the Otago Rivers Jet Boat Race last year. PHOTO: MIKE SMITH – STILL MOTION GRAPHICS

The Waitaki Jet Boat Race is expected to make a big splash in the Waitaki River tomorrow.

Three legs will feature in the annual race.

The first leg of the event starts upstream, near Te Maiharoa Rd, from where racers will make their way to Kurow Island.

Competitors will then circuit-race around the island, before racing each other downstream back to Te Maiharoa Rd.

Race organiser Tim Guthrie is looking forward to the annual race.

“As organisers, we get a very good following from the race teams,” he said.

“It’s a good spectacle. They’ll be racing in groups of five or six.”

Mr Guthrie said the racers looked forward to the Waitaki event.

“The racers like the Waitaki. It’s a controlled river, and while it’s wide and braided, you can actually look after your boat.

“We’ve got a good bunch of racers.”

About 20 teams will compete in the race, the fourth event in the New Zealand Jet Boat River Racing Association series.

Jet boat marathon champions John Derry and Roger Preston are lining up.

“They’re the main contenders,” Mr Guthrie said.

“These guys are running helicopter turbines in their boats – so it’s probably 1300 to 1400 horsepower.”

Setting up a challenging course for the competitors was what Mr Guthrie enjoyed most about the event.

The race will start at 10am tomorrow and finish at 4pm. Prizegiving is at the Northstar at 6.30pm.