A EUROPEAN waterskiing champion - who started out at the Penarth waterski club - has been tragically killed in an accident on Lake Mead in the USA.

Karl Brooks, 25, the current European and four-times British waterski racing champion, died after a fall last Friday while practising the sport he had dedicated his life to.

Karl won the silver medal at the World Championships in 2005.

Karl's mum, Karen Brooks, said: "We are in total shock and I cannot even express how we feel other than numb.

"We just want to hold him again and tell him how much we love him and miss him."

Family friend Robbie Llewellyn of Penarth Waterski Club said: "His mother and grandfather were waterski competitors in Penarth.

"I can vividly recall the day that I saw Karl in one of his early races - it was incredible to see a novice skier to go on and become one of the finest waterski racing athletes in the world.

"Not only was Karl an exceptional athlete whose success was borne from tenacity, commitment and extraordinary ability, but he was one of the most likeable young men in this highly-competitive sport.

"He was the epitome of a true sportsman who excelled on the world stage, yet remained a down-to-earth man with a splendid personality."

Mr Llewellyn added: "I know hundreds of people will be truly saddened by the loss of Karl.

"Let our thoughts be with Karen and Martin, his two brothers Kurt and Scott and his grandparents who have all been involved in waterskiing."

Karl's father Peter Harding lives in Sully.

A special service was held last Tuesday for all Karl's friends in the USA at Palm Green Valley.