A MAJOR brawl marred what was an otherwise trouble-free start to the Southern 80 waterski event in Echuca, police say.
Three men were arrested and will face criminal charges after the fight involving about 40 people Saturday afternoon.
The brawl happened at Wills Bend, near Echuca just after 4pm.
Senior Sergeant Mick Carroll said 15 people were also arrested for being drunk in town Saturday night.
He said the arrests represented a very small minority of the crowd at the event that draws between 50,000 and 100,000 people each year.
"It's about par for the course," he said.
"Every year most people are doing the right thing and enjoying themselves and their weekend is interrupted by a few idiots."
Senior Sergeant Carroll said there was a strong police presence monitoring behaviour beside the Murray river.
He said extra police patrols have travelled from Melbourne for the event.