Forty-eight performers remain poised on waterskis as they glide down a waterway in Linyi, Shandong, China. Slowly and with impressive ease, 24 of these acrobatic waterskiers climb onto each others shoulders until the team creates a perfect quadruple, four-tier human pyramid.

In 2012, the Jiangxi Team of Chinese Youth Waterski Show Team from China and the United States Rock Aqua Jays Water Ski Club, Inc. joined forces to break the world record for the largest human waterskiing pyramid.

Creating a multiple-tier human pyramid on solid ground is already a difficult feat, but doing so while speeding behind a boat adds an entirely separate element of danger to the stunt. These performances require both artistic ability and extreme athleticism. Water ski show teams choreograph acts and practice rope work and pyramids in swimming pools and gyms. The performance art version of the extreme water surface sport boasts many teams nationally and globally. And for some, waterski performing is a family tradition.

“It’s just a good family sport,” Todd Benjamin, a performer for the United States Water Ski Show Team, told the New York Times. “It’s pretty athletic, and if you like performing in front of a crowd, it’s a lot of fun.”

The Jiangxi Team of Chinese Youth Waterski Show Team and the Rock Aqua Jays Water Ski Club, Inc. pyramid was beaten in 2013 when Big Pull 2013 built a 60-person pyramid on waterskis. Perhaps the record will be broken again at the upcoming 2016 World Water Ski Show Tournament beginning on September 9 in Wisconsin.

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