The 85 skiers in the first run made a dramatic sight at Strahan in the water skiing world record attempt.
In an attempt to break the record for most water skiers towed behind a single boat, the Horsehead Waterski Club crossed the line with 99 skiers upright at Strahan. The record is 100.
But even though they fell short of the record, club spokesman Nic Wilson said no one was disappointed.
“Nobody else in the world has managed more than 100 skiers, and we had over 100 for most of that run,” he said.
“We will most likely try again. We’ve been newly invigorated knowing we now have the hardware to do the job.
“So all we need now is to work on the human factor.”
This is the third attempt the club has made to break the record, with bids in February 2009 and February 2008 foiled by bad weather and equipment failures.
This time, towed behind the catamaran Eagle, from Strahan’s World Heritage Cruises, and using special tow ropes that were stronger than steel cable with no stretch, the towing rig did not break.
The 120 skiers from the Lake Barrington-based club made their first run on Saturday at sunrise.
After some early falls, 85 skiers were still upright as they crossed the line at the end of the nautical mile (1.8km) run.
The second run was at 6pm and this time the record seemed within the club’s grasp as 101 skiers remained upright for most of the run.
But not too far short of the finish line two record-seekers fell as they tried to negotiate the ropes of fallen skiers.
Failing light meant a third attempt could not be made.
But Mr Wilson said the euphoria of being so close and having equipment working tempered the disappointment.
“We’re calling it a huge success,” he said.
“Water skiing is a sport you can’t do on your own, it requires teamwork and we had 300 people supporting our 120 skiers, so even from that perspective it went amazingly well.
“And everyone had a lot of fun.”
The world record was set in Cairns in 1986.