Ageliki Andriopoulou, active athlete for over 30 years, is one of Greece’s most successful Waterskiers ever. She was National Champion in every age category for 23 years from 1988 till 2011. Excluding injury breaks, she held Open Greek National Records in Overall, Slalom and Tricks from 1994 until today and in Jump from 1994 until 2015. Her International achievements included 1992 Europe Africa Junior Overall and Trick Gold medals and 1993 Junior Gold medals in all events, 1996 U21 Jump Gold medal,1997 U21 Jump, Trick and Overall Gold medals, 1997 Mediterranean Games Overall Gold medal, 1997 World Games Trick Gold medal, 1997 Mediterranean Games Overall Gold medal and 2005 World Games Jump and Slalom Gold medals. Europe Africa Open Overall Gold Medals in I995,1996,1998, 1999 and 2002. Other Gold medals included 2005 and 2006 World Cup Jump in Enniskillen Northern Ireland, 2007 Moomba Masters Jump, 2007 U.S Open Jump, French Masters Jump and World Cup Jump in Dubna, Russia, and 2008 World Cup Jump in Putrajaya, Malaysia. She was also IWWF World Jump Champion in 2005, 2007 and 2009 and in 2007 in Linz, Austria, set a World Championships Jump Record of 54.9m. Other contributions included Europe Africa and World TC Athlete Rep 2007-2015, participation in IWWF IOC Exec. Board demonstration in Seville, Spain, and lobbied with passion for Waterskiing inclusion in the Athens 2004 Olympics. Her National Association of Sport Press awards included 1990 Best Young Rising Athlete of the Year, and 2007 for her 20 years of sports achievements.
There can be very few in the world of Waterskiing today who do not know the name Kristi Overton Johnson! Between 1985 and 2002, she was rarely off the podium. Thirty-two years ago, at the Junior World Championships in Milan, Italy, she took gold medals in Slalom and Tricks. In 1996, almost 30 years later, with a score of one buoy, she became the world’s first female to set a World Record on the 10.25m Slalom line. In the intervening years, her achievements are extraordinary. Six times US Masters Slalom Champion, two times US Masters Trick Champion, four times US Open Slalom Champion and World Slalom Champion 1999. She set five World Slalom Records between 1992 and 1996, plus Pan Am., U.S.A, Collegiate and World Cup records. Ranked number one from 1992 to 2002, some of Kristi’s many other achievements include 1994 and 1996 American Water Ski Association Female Athlete of the Year, North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame and US Hall of Fame Induction, U.S.A. Olympic Committee Athlete of the Year, U.S.A. Waterski Slalom Skier of the Year and U.S.A. Waterski Skier of the Year. In 2003, Kristi established the non-profit organisation In His Wakes, introducing over 17,000 youths to water sports, holding over 65 events annually and 730 events to date. She has been known to even take her boat into maximum security prisons to bring hope and victory to incarcerated people. Kristi Overton Johnson is a State of Florida Licensed Attorney.
Kris LaPoint both embodies and pre-dates parts of the history of our sport. This makes these IWWF Awards priceless in recognising extraordinary achievements which were recorded even before our Official records were established. Also, prior to 1975, single event skiers could not compete in World Championships. Also prior to 1975, Kris LaPoint had already won seven US Masters Slalom titles in 1967,1968,1970,1971,1972,1973 and 1975. He was National Slalom Champion nine times in the years 1965,1968,1971,1972,1973,1974,1975,1977 and 1982. With advancing technology and equipment, Robby Zucchi (ITA) recorded the first Official IWWF World Slalom Record in 1973 of 2 buoys on the 12m line. Prior to that, Kris LaPoint held the US Record in 1966 with 3 buoys at 36′ Off and in 1969 with 6 buoys at 36′ Off. Then in 1970 he increased this to 1 buoy at 11.25m and in 1975 to 2 and 4 buoys that same year at 11.25m. AWSA established the role of Homologator in 1975. Kris’s Official IWWF Slalom Records then came in 1982 with 3 buoys on the 10.75m line, following two years later in 1984 with a new World Slalom Record of 4.5 buoys on the 10.75m line. Other outstanding titles achieved at that time included US Pro Tour champion at Tampa, Marine World, Saint Paul and San Diego. Off the water, Kris was the first Skier’s representative on the USA Waterski Board, Pro Event Tournament Director, senior boat driver for 15 years and of course renowned and highly successful slalom ski designer.
Just mention the word Barefoot and for most of us the name Ron Scarpa immediately leaps off the page! Known to many as The Raging Bull, his skiing career began at the age of twelve. Within one year, he discarded the skis and the Barefoot legend began. With no Barefoot teachers available then, by watching Cypress Gardens shows and experimenting, he was soon winning local events. Five years later in 1980, he entered his first Barefoot World Championships. However, just days before, he tore some ankle ligaments. On the day, he just buried the pain, tied the World Slalom Record and took home the Overall Bronze medal. Some outstanding achievements which followed included 12 Open Men’s National Overall Titles and competing in every USA National Team for 24 years from 1978-2002. He was Men’s World Jump champion in 1982 and 2000, Men’s World Slalom champion in 1984, 1986, 1988, and 1992, Men’s World Tricks champion in 1990, 1992, 1996, 1998 and 2000 and Men’s Overall champion in 1992, 1996, 1998 and again in 2000. Apart from World titles, his list of 12 World Records includes two in Open Men Start Methods, three in Slalom, six in Tricks and one in Jump. Outstanding at promoting Barefoot skiing, Ron Scarpa frequently appeared in national newspapers, magazines and in TV commercials for Juicy Fruit Gum, Mitsubishi, Pepsi-Cola and Mountain Dew. His skills also included working behind the scenes as technical advisor, site locator and story developer. Featured in the Guinness Book of World Records for his Outstanding Barefoot Accomplishments, he was inducted into the USA Water Ski Hall of Fame in 2011.
Jeffry Armstrong is living proof that you do not have to be retired as an official to be inducted into our International Hall of Fame. Her service to the sport has exceeded a period of 30 years. She is currently a member of the IWWF Tournament Council, the PanAm Executive Board and is Chairwoman of our Women and Sport Committee. She has been an official at World Championships, PanAm Championships, World Games, World Cup and US Masters. She was chief judge at the 1995 World Waterski Championships in Roguebrune and four times chief judge at both the US Open and Malibu Open. She was instrumental in bringing Waterskiing to the first PanAm Games in Argentina and was their Chief Judge in 1990, 2000, and 2012. She was elected Secretary General of the then IWSF in 2001, pushing for entry to the Athens Summer Olympics in 2004. Jeffry has been an active member of the USA Water Ski International Activities Committee for the past 29 years, a member of the World Tournament Council for over 23 years and for 10 years a Board Director of USA Water Ski. She was inducted into the USA Water Ski Hall of Fame in 1999.
Mike Kjellander was a Pro Waterskier for 21 years and was one of the greatest Slalom skiers of his time. In his early days, he was the owner and coach of his own Waterski School and today is the Sports Director of both the Swedish and Norwegian Waterski Federations where he still contributes greatly to the development of young athletes on the water. Over a 14 year period between 1978 and 1992, he set Swedish National Records in Slalom, Tricks and Jump a total of 27 times. His Swedish Slalom Record of three buoys on the 10.25m line stayed intact for 22 years. He was European Champion a total of eleven times. Between 1984 and 1997, he was ranked in the top three places in the world 12 times and as number one in both 1987 and 1988 against fierce competition from Andy Mapple OBE. Also in 1988, he broke the World Slalom Record in Palm Beach USA with a score of one buoy on the 10.25m line. As a first class ambassador for our sport over the past 35 years, he is still today affectionately remembered as Slam Dunk Mike for his unique use of his elbow in defying gravity when one extra Slalom buoy made all the difference!
Cory Pickos has competed in the World Waterski Championships at the highest level for a period which has spanned three decades. He first hit international headlines in 1977 when at the age of just thirteen, he set a new World Tricks Record of 6,860 points. This was just the start of an extraordinary career which saw him break the World Tricks Record a total of 24 times. In 1981, he was the first in the world to exceed 9,000 points. In 1984, he was the first in the world to trick 10,000 points. In the year 2000, he had raised his 1977 World Record of 6,860 points of 38 years ago to 11,680 points. A two-time World Tricks Champion and recognized as a living legend in our sport, he continues to mentor and coach international skiers to this day. Breaking world records for 23 years must be unique in any sport. In operating the Cory Pickos Ski & Wakeboard School for the past 19 years in Destin, Florida, his site has hosted 15 IWWF World Records and holds four World Record Tournaments each year. He is also a USAWS/AWSA Tricks Judge.
Mike Seipel and his brother John started Barefooting at the age of ten. That was the start of an extraordinary career. As one of the greatest ever Barefooters, he is also renowned as a true innovator and promoter within the sport. In 1982, at 22 years of age, he won his rst World Championships gold medal in Slalom. His total World Championships collection includes six gold medals, three silver and two bronze medals, his final one being in 1990 in Jump. Between 1981 and 1990, he also set a grand total of seven Barefoot World Records in Start Methods, Tricks and Jump. He took eleven gold medals at home in National Championships. In 1988, he decided to quit Slalom and Tricks in order to concentrate on Jump. This decision led to his creation of the new inverted jump method now preferred by most top jumpers. In 1983, he launched his Barefoot Boom to help beginners – another significant innovation. In 1993, a year before he retired from competition, he took the World Games gold medal in Jump in the Netherlands. In addition to these achievements on the water, he founded Barefoot International, one of the first significant Barefoot training centres and with his brother began manufacturing and selling barefoot accessories, wetsuits, ropes and handles. He still continues his popular traveling clinics from his home in West Palm, Florida.
During his 50 year career as an Airline pilot and as captain on Boeing 747s, Clint Ward’s induction into the Halls of Fame of Water Ski and Wakeboard Canada, Water Ski and Wakeboard Ontario and the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, clearly indicate that his talents are indeed very special. The enormous impact which he has made on our sport both nationally and internationally has already been widely recognised. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 presented him with the Diamond Jubilee and Jubilee Medals for his leadership in Canadian sport. As a champion athlete himself, his unselfish focus became more on developing young Canadian athletes through innovative and unique training and fitness programmes which later brought many to World titles. His programmes have led the way to Canadians winning 27 individual and team World Championship titles plus 51 other medals. Athletes such as three-time world champion George Athans, and Jaret Llewellyn with eleven World Records to his credit, are examples of some who have benefitted. Clint Ward was also a driving force behind Canada’s hosting of two of the most successful World Waterski Championships to date in Sherbrooke 1967 and Toronto in 1979. Clint and George Athans also found time to co-author an instructional book on waterskiing, published in English, French and Russian. As a CBC Television and Radio waterski commentator and prolific producer of magazine and newspaper articles, his promotional contribution to our sport has been enormous. Other positions as President of Water Ski Canada, Executive VP of the Sport Federation of Canada and Board member of the Canadian Olympic Committee, were somehow combined with producing and directing many musical and dramatic productions which were also often designed to support our athletes.
To say that Bill Bowness won nine individual World Championship gold medals, is a six time World Record holder and a nine time member of the US Disabled Waterski team, does not really do him justice ! By any standards, his contribution on so many levels has been quite extraordinary. He was also a seventime US National Overall Champion, a past manager of the gold medal US team in 2009 and held the World Jump Record for five years. ‘And again, that is only a part of his achievements. Off the water, Bill’s contributions to our sport include 26 years as President of the IWWF PanAm Confederation Disabled Skiers Council, 25 years as Representative of the IWWF Athletes Advisory Council and for 10 years a Board Director of USA Water Ski.
He is a past Skier of the Year and Athlete of the Year, still coaches Disabled Skiers at his Unlimited Skiing Waterski School and has even been an advisor to Western Australia’s Minister of Sports and Recreation. Somehow Bill also found time to snow ski in the Winter X Games, is a traveling Clinician for adaptive snow ski programmes in Korea and Spain, plays Sled Hockey, Kyaks and also enjoys Nordic skiing.
Devoting a lifetime to our sport is no exaggeration in the case of Australia’s Ron Fergusson. For 35 years, as a member of both the IWWF Executive Board and as a member of the IWWF Technical Committee, Ron has played a key role at our sport’s leading edge at international level. For 17 years, he was Technical Chairman of Australia’s Tournament, Barefoot, Kite, Ski Racing and Disabled Waterski disciplines. He has also judged at no less than nine World Waterski Championships and two World Disabled Waterski Championships. He has conducted Judging Seminars over the years in all of Australia’s States, and also in China, Korea, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei.
He has been a Moomba Masters Committee Member for 28 years and a Moomba Masters judge for 16 years. He was Chief Judge at the Asian Australasian Championships for 20 years and was inducted into both the Hall of Fame of Australia and also Asia Australasia.
Just about everybody in our sport knows the name Lucky Lowe ! Few know that his birth name is actually Carlton Wayne. Seven years later he was already a Waterski competitor. His first of no less than forty US National Championships was in 1970. Within another four years he was both National Overall and Jump Champion. With coaching help from Jim McCormick, he became a US Elite Waterski Team member, going on to take World Championships medals in 1985, 1989, 1991 and 1993. Many still recall the great 1991 Finals drama at the Villach Austria Worlds. With an extraordinary Slalom threeway tie between Andy Mapple GBR, Mike Kjellander SWE and Luck Lowe, he had to beat two of the greatest Slalom Skiers ever. Coming last off the dock, he created history by being the oldest ever to take a World Championships gold medal for the first time.
Lucky also competed in 14 US Masters and held the Robin Lake Course Jump Record from 1985 to 1989. He was inducted into the AWSEF Hall of Fame in 2009. Running his own Ski School for over 20 years, he has also coached Collegiate Teams throughout the US.
Before retiring eleven years ago in 2002, throughout the 1990’s, Toni Neville was rarely off the Podium at so many major Slalom or Jump events around the world. She dominated Slalom at Australia’s Moomba Masters for a period of seven years from 1991 to 1998. In 1997 and 1999 she set World Waterski Championships Records in both Slalom and Jump. She then made history in the year 2000 by being the first female Waterskier ever to Jump more than 200ft. when she established the first Women’s SkiFly World Record of 66.6m / 219ft. As both a US Masters and Moomba Masters Champion, her tally of four World Championships Medals and four World Jump Records, established her as the best Jumper of the day.
In securing eleven major international titles in that 1990’s decade including breaking Australia’s National Slalom Record four times, her status as an international star is now part of the history of our sport.
The family name of de Villiers for many really means Barefoot Waterskiing! Nadine, Andre and Zane have made an extraordinary impact – and none more than Nadine. By the age of 17, she had already captured three Girls World Barefoot Records and this was just the begining. In what was then the Europe Africa MiddleEast Waterski Championships, she went on to take nine gold medals between 1997 and 2001, dominating in Slalom, Tricks and Jump. In the Barefoot World Championships between 1998 and 2002, she won a total of seven Gold Medals and two Silver Medals. In the 1997 World Games in Lahti Finland and again in 2001 in Akita Japan, again she took the gold medals home to South Africa. In all of this era, World Records were demolished by this extraordinary athlete. In one fouryear period, she set eight World Barefoot Records – two in Slalom, two in Jump and four in Tricks.
Along the way, her Trick score of 4,400 points got her into the Guinness Book of Records where she was also listed as scoring a record seventeen Wake Crossings in 30 seconds. Her 2001 World Slalom Record still remains unbeaten today.
Since his appointment 52 years ago in 1959 as WWSU Technical Committee Chairman, his contributions to our sport both at national and international level have been outstanding. He has held virtually every office possible in the American Water Ski Association. He was responsible for drafting the rules for the 1959 World Championships. These subsequently became our first “modern” set of rules. He held the positions of Executive Board Member for thirteen years, International Hall of Fame Chairman for twenty years, Judge at seven World Championships, including the positions of Chief Judge and Assistant Chief Judge, Congress Delegate, Hospitality Chairman, Award and Opening Ceremonies presenter, World Games organiser and a highly valued advisor on a wide range of subjects.
In winning her first World Barefoot Waterski title in 1980 at just 14 years of age, Australia’s Kim Izzard (Lampard) immediately signalled a rare athletic talent in a very tough sport. This was actually just four years after her first Barefoot Waterski lesson. In 1985, she was voted Female Athlete of the Year and received the Sports Australia Award. She subsequently went on to win a total of four World Barefoot Overall titles in the USA, Mexico, Australia and Germany, showing particular strength in Tricks. Her total count of World Barefoot Waterski Championships Medals was 15, with 10 Gold Medals, plus 4 Silver Medals and 1 Bronze Medal. She represented Australia a total of eight times.
Andy Mapple OBE learned to ski at the advanced age of 13, before he learned how to swim! From the moment he was selected for the British National team at the age of 18, his extraordinary Slalom skills were obvious. He was a British National Team member for 24 years. He set his first World Slalom record in Sacramento, California, in 1985 and won his first World Slalom Champion title at the age of seventeen. He accumulated 9 World Slalom records by 1998 when he also became the second person ever to score on the 9.75m Slalom line. His 168 professional Slalom victories included 6 World Slalom Champion titles, 14 US Masters Slalom titles, 13 Moomba Masters Slalom titles and 15 US Open Slalom titles. He announced his retirement at the 45th US Masters Banquet in 2004 having just set a new course record at Callaway Gardens. His lifelong interest in product development and slalom technique continues to this day.
His first experience on the water was at the age of four. Spanning a period of 15 years, Michael Jon Neville went on to represent Australia at 8 World Waterski Championships. He captured 23 Open National titles and took 8 podium places in the World Waterski Championships in Tricks, Slalom and Overall. His Overall Silver Medals secured at the World Waterski Championships in Toulouse, France in 1985, and London, England, in 1987, were two of the closest ever contests when he was beaten by Sammy Duvall USA by just 11 points and 24 points on those occasions. As a past Moomba Masters Overall Cham- pion and US Masters Overall Champion, he retired in 1993.
Isidro “Bilo” Oliveras started his Waterski career at the age of twelve. Between 1959 and 1975, he took Spanish National titles six times in Tricks and Slalom. His contributions to our sport then moved off the water where he held the titles of Technical Director and Spanish Federation President between 1972 and 1979. Moving on to IWSF Region EAME (Europe Africa Middle East), he joined the Technical Committee from 1975 to 1980 and served as Committee President from 1980 to 1982. From 1977 to 1981, he also served as IWSF Technical Council member and eventually became IWSF President in 1983, holding this post till 1991. As an outstanding contributor to sport at many levels, he became an Olympic Movement Commission Member from 1988 to 1993 and President of the International Roller Sports Federation (FIRS) in 1989.
The 1980s and 1990s were a time of fierce competition in the Men’s overall, with many outstanding skiers. One of them, Andrea Alessi, better known to his friends as Bubu, emerged as a true champion during this time.
Bubu won his first medal at the age of 16 in 1983, qualified for his first World Championships in 1985, and won a gold medal in his strongest event, jumping, at the Singapore Worlds in 1993. Along the way he won five additional World Championship medals, including three silvers, two in overall and one in jumping, and two bronzes, one in tricks and one in overall.
In the European Championships, Bubu amassed 26 medals. Among these were 15 gold medals, six in overall and eight in jumping.
Competing and earning high placements in eight World Championships and numerous international events was an essential contribution to the achievements of the Italian team over a period of nearly two decades.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of Italy’s most successful overall skier: Andrea ‘Bubu’ Alessi.
Tory Baggiano had always said that he wanted to retire from competitive water skiing while he was still on top. It would seem that he would be taking a serious risk of failing to do so when he had a competitive career of some two decades including competition in five World Championships. Nevertheless, when he announced his retirement in 1998, he was, in fact, still at the top among a highly competitive group of trick skiing specialists.
In the World Championships Tory took home two medals in tricks: a bronze in 1987 and the coveted gold in 1993. He set World records in 1990 and 1991, with his record in 1990 making him the first skier to exceed 11,000 points. The year 1990 proved to be a high point in Tory’s career: a year in which he also won his first U.S. Masters and the Pan American Championships title while a member of the U.S. team. Also in 1990 Tory was honored by the United States Olympic Committee as water skiing’s male athlete of the year.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of one of the finest trick skiers of the 1980s and 1990s: Tory Baggiano.
It has been said that water skiing is a family sport, and in Canada the Graham family has offered an exceptional example of that. We have previously honored siblings in the Hall of Fame and even father and son. For the first time we will have a husband and wife enshrined in the Hall. But Susi Graham hardly needs to rely on 2003 inductee Ricky McCormick’s honors for her own induction.
Susi skied in nine World Championships from 1983 to 1999, and, while she competed in all three events in the first four of these, she only entered her strongest event, slalom, in the last five. During that period Susi garnered four slalom medals-one silver and three bronzes-and was a significant contributor to Canada’s World Championship team victories in 1991, 1993 and 1999.
Susi has also had great success with her slalom in other major international tournaments with numerous victories at the U.S. Masters, U.S. Open and World Cup events. World records were set in 1990, 1993, 1994 and 1995, and a World tournament record in 1991. Fourteen years after it was set, Susi still holds the Canadian slalom record.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of one of the world’s most successful Women’s slalom skiers and one of Canada’s most ardent ambassadors: Susi Graham.
Dominance in the trick skiing event for a considerableperiod of time is not unusual among the elite members of the Hall of Fame. At least six of the 32 individuals so far inducted as competitors began their careers as trick specialists, and some of those used trick skiing dominance as a road to overall fame. Even the inclusion of sisters is not unique, with Ana Maria and Maria Victoria Carrasco falling squarely in that category.
But the Larsen twins—Britt Larsen-Kovak and Tawn Larsen-Hahn will probably remain unique in being inducted jointly as a single entry in the records of the Hall of Fame. The committee felt this was appropriate, not only because they are identical twins, but also because they so often used the same trick run with the winner of the event depending on who was a bit faster or more accurate or managed to avoid—Heaven forbid!—a fall. Indeed there are those who have uncharitably concluded that there was only one Larsen twin skiing, giving herself a second chance at a win or record by changing bathing suits in mid-event.
The Larsen twins competed in seven World Championships, and while neither won a medal in their first Worlds in London in 1987, one or the other won the title for the next six. Tawn won five trick event medals—four of them gold—and Britt won six—two of them gold. Their trick skiing also dominated the U.S. Masters during the same period, and Tawn held the World trick record from 1988 to 1999.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of a matched pair of the dominant women’s trick skiers of the closing years of the twentieth century: Britt and Tawn Larsen
Kaye Thurlow-Faulkner has one distinction that none of the others being honored tonight can claim: she is the only one to have skied in a World Championship in Canada. And it was 1967 in Sherbrook and not 1979 in Toronto. Kaye may well have thought she had been irretrievably overlooked, since so many of the fine women skiers she competed with had already been inducted: Liz Allen, Maria Victoria Carrasco, Sylvie Maurial and Jeanette Stewart-Wood.
Kaye skied as an overall skier on the Australian team for the World Championships five times from 1967 to 1975 picking up eight medals in the process: a bronze and silver in 1969, two silvers and a bronze in 1971, and two bronzes and a silver in 1975. In the five World Championships she placed third in overall twice. When Kaye won medals, the Australian team also prospered, coming in a strong second to the United States team in each of those three years.
One of the distinctions of which Kaye is most proud is her selection to ski in the Olympic demonstration in 1972 where she placed second in tricks, jumping and overall. She was a consistent winner at the Moomba Masters, raking in a total of 24 gold medals, including eight overall titles.
Kaye and her husband, Colin Faulkner, authored a book on water skiing which has influenced a generation of skiers in Australia.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of one of the finest women overall skiers of her time: Kay Thurlow-Faulkner.
In 1968, while still a competitor and Colombian National Water Ski Champion, Andres Botero almost single-handedly organized the first PanAmerican championships to be held in South America. One year after competing in the Olympic demonstration event in 1972, he was involved in organizing South America’s first World Championships.
In 1980 Andres was elected as President of the PanAmerican Region and served in that capacity for 11 years. This was followed by ten years of service as President of the International Water Ski Federation.
During that term, Andres declared as a maJor goal the full participation of water skiing in the Olympics. While this goal was not achieved, the effort laid the foundation for greater international recognition of water skiing as a competitive sport.
Since his retirement as IWSF President in 2001, Andres has been President of the Colombian Olympic Committee, and within the last few months has been elected to membership in the International Olympic Committee.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of one of water skiing’s most enduring and steadfast contributors: Andres Botero.
Beginning with his first victories in the Jr. Boys division at the U.S. Nationals in 1967 (slalom and overall), Bob LaPoint put together a 35-year career in water skiing climaxed by five gold medals in slalom in the World Championships in 1977, 1979, 1983, 1985 and 1987.
Bob skied in seven World Championships, from 1975 to 1987 and won eight medals, including a bronze medal in jumping in 1977 and a silver and a bronze medal in slalom in the two years he didn’t win the event. He set the World slalom record five times from 1976 to 1984, and held or co-held the record for slightly over ten years.
Bob was a five-time u.s. Open slalom champion and a five-time u.s. Masters slalom champion as well. Following his retirement from World Championship competition, he concluded his career with continued success in slalom on the professional tours. Bob was inducted into the u.s. Hall of Fame in 2006.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of one of the greatest slalom skiers of his time: Bob LaPoint.
Patrice Martin began his water skiing career as a trick specialist, winning open trick competitions as early as age eleven. After winning a gold and a silver medal in tricks at the World Championships in 1979 and 1981, Patrice expanded his skills to all three events, ultimately putting together an unprecedented string of six consecutive World overall titles from 1989 to 1999.
In all, Patrice won 10 individual gold medals in the World Championships: the six in overall and four in tricks. In addition he earned two gold medals as a member of winning French teams. His total of individual medals was a remarkable 15 earned in the 10 World Championships in which he competed.
Between 1978 and 1996, Patrice set SlX World trick records. His record goes on to include 34 European Championships in tricks, slalom, overall and team, six World Games titles in tricks, slalom and overall, and 17 times ranked first in the World Ranking list in tricks and overall.
France has awarded Patrice the Prix de l’Esprit Sportif du siecle, Chevalier de l’Ordre du Merite National, and Chevalier de l’Ordre de la Legion d’Honneur.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of one of the greatest overall skiers in the history of the sport: Patrice Martin.
Bruce Neville has been one of Australia’s strongest water skiers of the past two decades both as an overall skier and, later, as a jump specialist.
Competing in seven World Championships between 1985 and 2001, Bruce garnered four medals, including bronzes in overall and jumping in 1989 and gold medals in jumping in 1991 and 1995. From 1995 to 1999, Bruce set three World jump records, holding the record for a full two years from 1995 to 1997.
Among his other accomplishments he was three times U.s. Masters jump champion, and at the Moomba Masters he was five times overall and three times jumping champion. In international competition he has recorded a total of 56 victories. Bruce has been honored by the International Water Ski Federation with its Sportsman Award.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of one of water skiing’s outstanding jumpers: Bruce Neville.
Aubrey Sheena has served the sport of water skiing for half a century at the highest levels, and he continues to offer his wisdom and his financial expertise to this day.
Taking up the sport as a skier in the 1950s at the historic Ruislip Water Ski Club, Aubrey represented Great Britain in competition into the 1960s. As a Chartered Accountant, Aubrey was naturally called upon for his fiscal proficiency. He served the British Federation as Treasurer several times but was also elected President for four years and has served on its management committee for more than four decades.
In 1984 Aubrey was elected as President of the EAME Region (then Group II), and continued in that office for a remarkable 14 years. During that period he created within the Region a bonded unit of friendship among countries and combined that sense of unity with healthy fiscal soundness.
While still serving as EAME President and a member of the IWSF Executive Board, Aubrey took on the newly-created responsibility of IWSF Treasurer, a position he held until 2002. Aubrey continues to provide the IWSF with the benefit of his business insight.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of one of the sport’s most dedicated and experienced volunteers:
Wayne Grimditch has been both a competitor with major international accomplishments and an influential ambassador who has helped to advance water skiing as a sport for millions of television viewers.
Wayne competed as a member of the United States team in four World Championships from 1969 to 1975 and as one of two U.S. men invited to compete in the 1972 Olympic demonstration in Kiel. In the process he won eight World medals, including two gold medals in jumping and one in tricks.
Although Wayne has every right to regard himself as a strong overall skier, it was in jumping that he achieved his greatest recognition. He set his first World record in 1972 and held the record continuously through 1979.
In 1978 Wayne won the ABC Television Superstars competition, which pitted him against top competitors in several better-known sports in a variety of athletic activities from running to cycling. In three years of this televised competition Wayne proved that an overall water skier developed skills that would qualify him as being among the most versatile of athletes. Following his competitive career Wayne entertained and instructed even more viewers as a color commentator for televised water ski tour events.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of one of the sport’s outstanding overall skiers and most effective ambassadors: Wayne Grimditch.
Max Kirwan has not only represented the Asian-Australasian Region, he is the Asian-Australasian Region (or Group III. depending on how far back your involvement in organized water skiing goes). It would be easy to believe that Max began promoting water skiing with the appearance of water on Earth.
Just over four and a half decades ago, Max co-founded a tournament which has since become one of the most prestigious in the world and a pioneer in offering cash prizes-the Moomba Masters. He has been involved with that event in one capacity or another ever since.
After serving for a dozen years as President of the Australian Water Ski Association, Max moved up to President of his Region in 1978, continuing in that office for a quarter of a century until retiring in 2003. During that period the Region grew from one which was essentially Australia and New Zealand to encompass sixteen active federations today. Because of their importance to water skiing in Australia, Max played a major role in bringing barefooting and racing into the IWSF fraternity. His efforts on behalf of the sport in Australia earned Max the Order of Australia Medal.
Max has never been shy about promoting the virtues of water skiing as a sport and the merits of his Region within that sport. In fact, he is almost certainly the only IWSF official who has literally blown his own horn on behalf of our sport.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of the guiding organizational spirit for his third of the world of water skiing, Max Kirwan.
Over two decades in ten World Championships, Helena Kjellander represented Sweden and represented that country with distinction. Helena won a total of four World Championship medals, all of them in slalom, and all of them gold.
With that medal summary, most observers would assume that Helena was a slalom specialist only, but in her first six World appearances she skied in all three events. In fact, her first gold medal was earned in the Swedish Nationals at the age of twelve in the trick event. But after her gold in slalom in 1991, Helena concentrated her World efforts in that event, successfully defending her title in 1993, 1995 and 1997-an unprecedented feat.
Combining those World medals with eleven Professional Tour Championships and two U.S. Masters titles, one might think Helena’s slalom dominance had been unchallenged. Again the facts say otherwise. Two of her World victories came by narrow margins only after exciting runoffs of ties.
Helena has contributed significantly in the administrative side of water skiing as well. She served as chair of the International Water Ski Federation Athletes Commission from 1996 to 2000, where she devoted herself to the efforts to introduce water skiing into the Olympics. For her athletic accomplishments and contributions to sport, Helena was inducted into the Swedish Sports Association in 2002.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of the most dominant female slalom skier in the final decade of the twentieth century, Helena Kjellander.
Canada has always been among the most successful countries in developing overall skiers, and among the most successful of those skiers has been Judy McClintock-Messer.
Skiing for Canada in nine World Championships from 1979 to 1995, Judy was able to contribute to her country’s team score in every year. The highlight of her team contribution came in 1991 when Canada became the first team ever to defeat the U.S. in the World Championships.
In those nine Worlds Judy received a medal in overall five times. There were three bronze medals in 1987, 1991 and 1993; one silver medal in 1985; and she capped her career with a gold medal in her final World Tournament in 1995. Along with her five overall medals were two event medals, both in Tricks: a bronze in 1995 and a gold in 1985.
Not surprisingly Judy dominated Canadian skiing during her career with more than 30 national titles and 48 national records including the Canadian trick record which stands to this day. Tricks also served her well at the U.S. Masters where she won the overall in 1981.
Judy grew up in a water skiing family. Three of her brothers were competitive water skiers, and Joel McClintock was World Overall Champion in 1979. Judy and Joel remain the only siblings who have been World Overall Champions. Judy was inducted in the Canadian Water Ski Hall of Fame in 2004.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of one of the world’s outstanding trick and overall skiers, Judy McClintock-Messer.
The name that first brought Russian water skiing to international attention was that of Natalia Roumiantseva. A member of the Russian national team for 25 years, Natalia skied in ten World Championships from 1979 to 1997.
Although Natalia competed in all three events in every World Tournament but one, her fame rested on her trick skiing, partly because of her dominance in the event which included five World records, and partly because of the unique way she practiced tricks in the winter: skiing while being towed in an indoor swimming pool.
Natalia was definitely the one to beat in tricks. She was World Champion in 1979, 1983 and 1987 and captured silver medals in 1981, 1989 and 1993. Her lowest result in tricks in a World Championship was eleventh in 1991, but Natalia regards that tournament as one of her most notable because she earned a silver medal in slalom. Becoming World Overall Champion in 1993 is an equally impressive achievement. All in all Natalia won eight World medals, including four golds.
In European Championships, Natalia earned 25 titles in all three events and overall as well as numerous Russian championships. She continues to be involved in organization of the sport in Russia, and her outstanding achievements earned her the title of Honored Athlete of the USSR and a Medal “Mark of Honor”.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of one of water skiing’s most famous trick skiers and a World Overall Champion, Natalia Roumiantseva.
Not since the days of André Coutau has anyone held a position of such influence and importance for as long as has Bob Corson. This year marks Bob’s twenty-fifth year of service as a member of the International Water Ski Federation’s Tournament Council.
Elected to the Technical Committee, as it was then called, on September 1, 1978, he has served continuously since then. In 1979 he was elected chairman of the committee, and, except for a three-year period from 1981 to 1984, he has guided the Council ever since. His tenure has been distinguished by such fairness and efficiency that no one has even considered challenging him for his position.
During his term on the Tournament Council, Bob has not only had responsibility over the competitive rules but has also personally created and maintained the World Standings List, worked on the introduction of standards for boat speed control, electronic jump metering devices, and many other innovations. He has also created and maintained the IWSF web site.
In addition, Bob has been a qualified international judge, and, as such, served as Chief Judge for the World Championships in Villach in 1991. It would be impossible to count the number of times he has homologated World and other major international competitions.
It has always been a rule of the Selection Committee that an official, unlike a skier, need not have retired from major water skiing posts to be honored with induction in the Hall of Fame. Despite that long-standing rule, Bob is the first to be inducted while there seems to be no end to his contributions to international water skiing.
It is my pleasure to announce the induction into the International Water Ski Hall of Fame of a technical constant in the sport of water skiing, Bob Corson.
Sylvie Maurial won her first French national title when she was thirteen years old. She went on to be a dominant force in European and World water skiing into the first half of the decade of the 1970s.
In the European championships, Sylvie won six gold medals in all disciplines, was overall champion in 1970, 1971 and 1973, and, in addition, captured four silver and seven bronze medals.
She participated in four World Championships as a member of the French team, culminating with her victory in the Slalom event at the 1973 World Tournament in Bogota. In addition to that gold medal, she won four silver and two bronze medals in World competition.
At the water skiing demonstration event in the 1972 Olympics in Kiel, Sylvie became the Olympic champion in jump and won the bronze medal in tricks.
After her retirement from competition, Sylvie married fellow French team member Jean Michel Jamin, and together they have built the famous water ski training center in Lacaneau. Her involvement with skiing has continued on an official level, serving for over a decade on the board of the French Water Ski Federation, working as a judge, and helping to organize the annual French Masters at Lacaneau.
The story of water skiing continues to be written in the Jamin-Maurial family, as their daughter won the 2002 edition of the French Masters.
It is my pleasure to announce the induction into the International Water Ski Hall of Fame of World and Olympic water ski champion Sylvie Maurial.
It is possible to say that Ricky McCormick has been in water skiing his entire life. Born into a water skiing family at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks, Ricky learned to ski at the age of five.
Ricky entered his first U.S. National tournament at the age of seven, and, although he performed better on his unicycle than on the water at that competition, he never looked back thereafter, skiing in the next twenty-three National Championships and winning a total of twenty-five National titles.
Ricky essentially invented the approach of turning a youthful specialization in trick skiing into a long-term career as an overall skier, a route subsequently followed by such stars as Carlos Suarez, Ana Maria Carrasco and Patrice Martin.
In international competition, Ricky was a member of the United States team for the World Championships six times. He won two World titles in the process, a gold medal in tricks in 1971 and another in jumping in 1973. Other medals in the World Championships include the silver in tricks in 1969 and the bronze in 1967 and 1973; the silver in slalom in 1973; and two silvers and one bronze in overall from 1971 to 1975.
At the water skiing demonstration for the 1972 Olympics, Ricky won gold medals in both tricks and jumping, an achievement that he regards as the highlight of his skiing career. Ricky continues his involvement in the sport by training skiers for competition.
It is my pleasure to announce the induction into the International Water Ski Hall of Fame of an innovator in tricks and a dominant overall skier, Ricky McCormick.
It was a cold day in Sherbrooke, Quebec, when Jeannette Stewart-Wood took to the water for the finals in the Women’s trick event. She had already won the gold medal in the Jumping event. When she returned to the dock she had run a solid trick run in what was her weakest event and had garnered the points she needed to become the 1967 World Overall Champion as well. If Jeannette was pleased with her performance, as she certainly should have been, her coach and mentor, David Nations, was delirious. It would be more than a quarter of a century before another European woman would win the overall trophy at the World Championships.
This was the culmination of a water skiing career in which Jeannette dominated the Women’s division in Europe for much of the 1960s and finally in 1967 took that supremacy to the World level. Between 1964 and 1968, Jeannette was European Slalom champion three times and Jump champion four times. She also set a new European Jump record in 1966 of 31.54 meters.
Jeannette was a member of the British Water Ski Team for three World Championships from 1963 to 1967 and, in addition to her 1967 medals, won a silver medal in Jumping in 1965.
It is my pleasure to announce the induction into the International Water Ski Hall of Fame of one of Europe’s strongest women skiers, Jeannette Stewart-Wood.
Glenn Thurlow will always be remembered as the man who first jumped over 200 feet.
Although the metric system has long been dominant in international competitions, it seems that some of the great psychological and physical barriers in sports have been measured in the English system. Whether it was the fifteen foot pole vault of the 1930s, the four minute mile of the 1950s or the 200 foot jump in water skiing in the 1980s, feet and inches seem often to be the obstacles to be overcome. In March 1983 Glenn Thurlow was the man who overcame the 200 foot jump mark with a record-setting leap of 61.57 meters or 202 feet.
Not that Glenn has only that achievement to his credit. He represented Australia in the World Championships eight times, from 1973 to 1987. Along the way he won the silver medal in his speciality of jumping four times and the bronze medal two other times. He dominated the jumping event in Australia from 1977 to 1988, winning the gold in each of those twelve consecutive years and was the first Australian man to win all three competitive events in a single year in 1981.
Since his retirement from competition in 1989, Glenn has continued to promote the sport through his involvement with the Australian Water Ski Association as Coaching Director at Junior and Senior levels and with his support of Junior Development programs and Australian teams selection.
It is my pleasure to announce the induction into the International Water Ski Hall of Fame of the barrier-breaking Australian jumper, Glenn Thurlow.
Bruce Douglas was a pioneer of water skiing in New Zealand, maintaining his interest and continuing to contribute to the sport he loved at the highest levels until his death late last year.
He was a founding member of the first water ski club in New Zealand as well as a founding member of the New Zealand Water Ski Association. He skied in his national tournament for nearly forty years and served as President of the New Zealand Water Ski Association for nearly a decade.
But it was as a judge that Bruce found his greatest rewards and offered his greatest service. He was a judge at every World Championship between 1989 in West Palm Beach, Florida and 1999 in Milan. During that same period he was also a judge at every Junior World Championship and every Asian-Australasian Championship. Bruce served as Chief Judge of the 1996 Junior World in Canada and of the 2000 Asian-Australasian Championship in New Zealand. His judging experience enabled him to make valuable contributions as a member of the IWSF Tournament Council.
It is my pleasure to announce the induction into the International Water Ski Hall of Fame of a pioneering water skier and devoted tournament official, Bruce Douglas.
Men’s World Overall Champion: 1981 at Thorpe Park, England; 1983 at Goteborg, Sweden; 1985 at Toulouse, France; 1987 again at Thorpe Park, England. It hardly seems necessary to say anything else, but, of course, there is much more to Sammy Duvall’s water skiing record.
There are two World Tournament gold medals in Jumping and a silver medal in Tricks. There are numerous titles in the U.S. Masters and the U.S. Open. And Sammy was a consistent winner for a decade on the professional tour.
Sammy has also set six World Jumping records, and, except for a period of two months in 1992, he held that record constantly from July 1988 to the fall of 1995.
If the purpose of the Hall of Fame is to honor competitors, it would be hard to find a better example than Sammy Duvall. Tell him how many slalom buoys or trick points he needs, and he manages to get them. Tell him how far he has to jump to win an overall title, and that’s how far he will go, even if it takes a new record to do it.
It is my pleasure to announce the induction into the International Water Ski Hall of Fame of the dominant male skier of the 1980s and early 1990s, Sammy Duvall.
Once again we have the opportunity of honoring a skier who, after a long and successful competitive career, had devoted himself to the administration of the sport with even greater success. In the case of Franz Kirsch we have a person who has been a strong competitor in two different disciplines.
For seven years, Franz Kirsch was a member of the German National Tournament Water Ski Team. For another five years he was a member of the German National Barefoot Team, placing second in the European Championships in 1977.
Franz has devoted more than a quarter of a century to water skiing administration, serving on the board of the German Water Ski Federation, publishing the German Water Ski Magazine, judging, homologating and organizing many national and international barefoot championships. He has been the chief judge of two World Barefoot Championships and has organized or co-organized two others. For ten years he was the Chairman of the IWSF Barefoot Countil and a member of the IWSF Executive Board.
It is my pleasure to announce the induction into the International Water Ski Hall of Fame of the principal organizational force behind the success of barefoot skiing as a competitive discipline, Franz Kirsch.
Making the U.S. Water Ski Team for the World Championships six times in a row, from 1979 to 1989, is a worth accomplishment in itself. Mention that in those six tournament, Deena Mapple won four gold, two silver and four bronze medals in slalom and jumping events, and you describe a real champion. Add that her overall record in those six tournaments includes a bronze medal in 1981, silver medals in 1979 and 1983, and gold medals in 1987 and 1989, and it is clear that Deena Mapple was the outstanding female skier for more than a decade.
A strong slalom skier, Deena set or tied the World Slalom record five times between 1982 and 1990. And in jumping she set five records between 1982 and 1988. Her last jumping record of 46.6 meters was set in July 1988 and remained unbroken until 1996.
Her record in the U.S. Open, the U.S. Masters and tour events is equally impressive.
Since her retirement Deena has been active in raising a third generation of skiers in her family, cheering on her husband to his many slalom victories, and contributing her expertise to numerous volunteer committees.
It is my pleasure to announce the induction into the International Water Ski Hall of Fame of the dominant female skier of the 1980s and early 1990s, Deena Mapple.
Forty years ago in Long Beach, California, Jean-Marie Muller won the gold medal in the Men’s Trick event at the World Championships. Two years later, he helped his father organize the World Championships in Vichy, France. In 1971 he organized the first World Cup Tournament in Tahiti, and in 1980 organized yet another World Cup in Bordeaux.
Jean-Marie has served on the Technical Committee, now the IWSF Tournament Council, and began the organization of both the Barefoot and Racing Commissions. He was elected as President of the French Water Ski Federation in 1976 and has served his federation in one capacity or another ever since.
His father, Jean Muller, was elected to the Hall of Fame ten years ago, and Jean-Marie’s election to the Hall of Fame now completes the first father-son combination to be so honored.
It is hard to imagine that anyone could have made more diverse and spectacularly successful contributions to the sport of water skiing over such a long period of time.
It is my pleasure to announce the induction into the International Water Ski Hall of Fame of one of the sport’s fiercest competitors and most effective administrators, Jean-Marie Muller.
Chantal Amade-Escot is an example of the kind of individual who is the envy of all international sports organizations: the champion athlete who moves effectively into officiating and administration at the end of her competitive career.
As an athlete, Chantal was a member of the French national team from 1970 to 1984, placing well in the World Championships from 1973 to 1979, and earning 24 French national titles and six European titles during that period.
Since then the sport has benefitted from her twelve years as a first class judge, including service as Assistant Chief judge at’a World Cup and the European Championships, and her contributions to the organization of many tournaments including the 1985 World Championships in Toulouse. For the past seven years Chantal has served with distinction as Secretary General of the IWSF.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of the immediate past Secretary-General of the International Water Ski Federation: Chantal Amade-Escot.
Maria Victoria Carrasco was the first of the Carrasco sisters to appear on the water skiing scene and almost immediately took her place as the foremost trick skier in the Women’s division.
Maria Victoria competed in the World Championships as a member of the Venezuelan team in 1971 and from 1975 to 1979 and became the first Woman to win gold medals in a single event in three consecutive World tournaments. She also set the first recognized Women’s World Record in tricks in 1975 and went on to set two additional records in 1977 and 1979. In her last World tournament in 1977, Maria Victoria was able to capture a silver medal in Women’s Overall.
Following her successful career as a competitive skier, Maria Victoria published a water ski magazine, Esqui Acuatico, to help promote the sport in South America.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of Venezuela’s three-time World Champion trick skier, Maria Victoria Carrasco.
One of the most important international competitions and the longest-running cash prize tournament in the world is the Moomba Masters, a tournament which is now nearing its fortieth anniversary. A prominent figure in the success of that tournament has been Australia’s Ian Faulkner.
Ian competed in the tournament from 1962 to 1975, was a member of the organizing committee from 1965 to 1995, and served as the chairman of the organizing committee from 1976 to 1995. As a member of the World Water Ski Union Technical Committee for fifteen years from 1974 to 1989, Ian was able to put this experience to work in drafting the special rules for the Moomba which are for the most part still in place today.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of an individual who contributed his technical and organizational skills to one of the world’s most prestigious tournaments for over three decades: Ian Faulkner.
Forty years ago, here in Milan, Renate Hansluvka made her debut as a skier in the World Championships winning a bronze medal in the Women’s jumping event to go with respectable fourth and fifth place finishes in slalom, tricks and overall. She went on to compete in four World tournaments as a member of the Austrian team taking home a total of seven medals including consecutive gold-medal performances in the Women’s jumping event in 1961 and 1963 and medals in all three events and overall in the latter year.
In the European championships from 1959 to 1966, Renate accumulated 20 medals, including five gold medals in jumping, two in slalom, and three in overall.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of the first European woman to win the World jumping title: Renate Hansluvka.
Chuck Stearns appears on almost everyone’s list of the greatest water skiers of all time; so perhaps it will come as a surprise to learn that his only overall victory in a World Championship came here in Milan in 1959. Chuck was never far out of the money, however, and in competing on the United States team at six World tournaments from 1957 to 1967, his overall scores placed him first, second, third, fourth and fifth. Along the way Chuck won a total of 11 World Championships medals, including a gold in slalom in 1959 and a total of five silvers and four bronzes. His domination of the sport in the United States for over a decade is legendary. He was overall champion in the U.S.Nationals six times in 11 years and in the U.S. Masters four times in six years of competition.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of one of the world’s most famous overall skiers: Chuck Stearns.
Recently, Bill Barlow Jr., IWSF Hall of Fame Chairman was able to present the Hall of Fame commemorative trophy to Chuck who was not able to attend the ceremony in Milan.
The youngest of the Carrasco sisters, all of whom were world-class trick skiers, Ana Maria was the only one of the three to achieve the goal of World Overall Champion. She earned the coveted title in 1983, although placing second in tricks that year combined with a third in slalom and a fifteenth place in jumping.
Ana Maria competed in the World Championships as a member of the Venezuelan team from 1979 – the year in which her sister, Maria Victoria Carrasco, retired from World competition – until 1987, winning seven medals in the process. Four of the medals were in the trick skiing event, including a gold medal in 1981. Only once in the five World Championships she entered did she fail to obtain a medal in the event. From 1981 to 1984 she was ranked first in the World Standings list in both Women’s Overall and Women’s Tricks, and during that same period she established five World trick records.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of Venezuela’s Women’s World Champion: Ana Maria Carrasco.
In the three World Championships in which Geoff Carrington competed, he won the jumping event twice: in 1985 and 1989. In 1987 he earned the bronze medal.
Prior to the 1991 World Championships Geoff was injured in a freak ski jumping accident at Sea World in Queensland which almost cost him his life and left him a paraplegic. The water skiing community around the world contributed funds to help Geoff regain some of the qualities of life. Geoff was awarded the honor of O.A.M. in 1990 for his services to his country in the sport of water skiing.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of one of the world’s outstanding jumpers: Geoff Carrington.
In 1961 Sylvie Hulsemann became the second European woman to win the World Overall Title, earning, in the process, a medal in each of the three events: a gold medal in tricks, a silver medal in jumping, and a bronze medal in slalom.
Sylvie competed in in 8 world championships over 18 years (1959,1961,1963,1965,1967,1971,1975,1977), unsucessfully defending her title in Vichy in 1963, finishing 4th overall, and returning to take a silver medal in tricks in 1965 at Surfers Paradise. She competed in Europe, and was the European Women’s Overall champion three times between 1960 and 1975.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of a woman who almost single-handedly put Luxembourg on the water skiing map: Sylvie Hulsemann.
As one of the sport’s outstanding international officials, Neville May, of Australia, served as Chief Judge of the World Championships in 1977 in Milan, twice as Assistant Chief Judge, and once each as Assistant Homologator and Appointed Judge, But he is likely to be best remembered as an official for his service as Chief Judge of the Moomba Masters for each of the thirty-four years from 1964 to the present. This uninterrupted service as Chief Judge of a major international competition is almost surely unequaled in the sport.
As one of the most highly respected members of the Asian Australasian Region, he has also served eight times as Chief Judge of the Group III championships.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of one of the sport’s most experienced Chief Judges: Neville May.
Karen Neville, who also competed under her maiden name of Karen Bowkett, is one of only five women to have won the title of World Overall Champion more than once. Karen was a two-time winner, in 1985 and 1991.
Karen competed in the World Championships on the Australian team from 1979 to 1991 and earned two gold, three silver, and two bronze medals in that period. Marriage apparently agrees with Karen, since in the three World Championships prior to her marriage she never placed higher than eleventh in any event; in the four tournaments after her marriage, in addition to the two gold medals in overall, she placed second and third overall and only once fell below sixth in any event. With ten Moomba overall titles and more than ten Australian overall victories, Karen has been Australia’s strongest overall skier, and her excellence as an ambassador for the sport was recognized with an O.A.M. and the Australian sportswoman of the year in 1985.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of a two-time World overall champion: Karen Neville.
A competitive career of five years may seem short by current standards, but when Piera Castelvetri was skiing in 1955 as a junior and from 1956 to 1960 in senior competition, it was about average.
Piera’s success, however, was anything but average. During that five years she won eighteen Italian national titles, with clean sweeps of all events in 1957 and 1958. She won the European title in tricks in 1957 and went on to win slalom, tricks and overall for the next three years in a row. In two World Championships, she won four silver medals, including one in overall, and then capped her accomplishments with the gold medal in the Women’s tricks in her final World Tournament in 1959.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of one of Europe’s strongest Woman skiers of the 1950s: Piera Castelvetri.
Perhaps the first Australian water skier to achieve international recognition, Bruce Cockburn represented Australia at the World Championships from 1967 to 1977 and was the Men’s World Trick Champion in 1969.
With that victory, Bruce became the first individual from the Asian-Australasian Region to win a gold medal in the World Championships, and he retained that unique distinction until fellow countryman Geoff Carrington won the Men’s Jumping in 1985. Bruce medalled again in Tricks in 1973 and in Jumping in 1975.
Bruce continues to compete in Senior divisions while actively participating in the administration of the sport as Australian Technical Director and as a member of the Australian Tournament Council for the last fifteen years.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of Australia’s first international champion: Bruce Cockburn.
During the decades of the 1960s and 1970s, Roger Codere was a significant contributor to the technical side of the sport of water skiing.
When the World Technical Committee (now the Tournament Council) was expanded from three to nine members in 1974, Roger moved from an advisor to the committee to a full membership. From 1975 to 1978 he was the chairman of that important committee. He was also active as a judge, serving at four World Championships, beginning in 1965, and was accorded the honor of being Chief Judge for the World Championships at Thorpe Water Park in 1975. For the 1967 World Championships in his home town of Sherbrooke, Quebec, Roger acted as the chief on-site official for the organizers. He also served a term as President of the Canadian Water Ski Association.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of one of water skiing’s leading technicians and organizers: Roger Codere.
Dick Cowell represents a continuing presence in the sport of water skiing as almost no one now living does. He skied in the first World Championships in Juan les Pins in 1949, and he has attended all but one of the World Tournaments ever since,
As the Secretary General of the Pan American Region from 1963 to 1971, Dick was actively involved during the emergence of the sport on an international level, but he regards his greatest achievement as the development, in that period, of organized water skiing in Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the West Indies.
Although he has never been much concerned with technical details, if there is something to be remembered or to be celebrated in the sport of water skiing, Dick is there to reminisce or to organize the party.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of a man who has been around water skiing longer than any of us and who, unfairly, does not look it: Richard Cowell.
For three decades Rene Daumas has been the stabilizing force in Mexico and Latin American for the sport of water skiing. He was the President of the Pan American Region and a member of the World Water Ski Union Executive Board from 1978 to 1980, but he has served in many other capacities: a member of the World Technical Committee, a judge at the World Championships in 1967, a member of the Hall of Fame Selection Committee, a Vice President of the Pan American Region, President and Secretary of the Mexican Water Ski Federation.
Rene has taken official roles whenever and wherever he was needed, but his greatest contribution to the sport has been in the development and encouragement of competitive water skiing throughout Latin America. He organized, almost single-handedly, three Pan American Water Ski Championships, including the first one in 1966.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of a man who can justly claim to be the father of organized water skiing in Latin America: Rene Daumas.
As the first person to hold the office of President of the World Water Ski Union for more than four years, Jean-Jacques Finsterwald exercised more influence on the international development of the sport than anyone since Andre Coutau.
J-J, as he was known to everyone, was a member of the Executive Board of the World Water Ski Union for nearly twenty years, as President and Secretary-General of Group II and as WWSU President. During that period, J-J helped water skiing to gain in Olympic status, to become involved in the first World Games, to increase and to lose television revenues, to add new disciplines, and to expand commercial relationships. He was the first President of the WWSU to travel whenever and wherever in the world his official presence could help to promote the sport. When his seven-year reign as President ended in 1983, his accomplishments, achieved through ambition for and devotion to the sport, were monumental.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of one of water skiing’s most powerful and effective administrators: Jean-Jacques Finsterwald.
Simon Khoury is another of the handful of distinguished champion water skiers who has effectively turned his attention to administration as his competitive career came to a close.
One of the world’s outstanding slalom skiers, winning four silver and one bronze medal in that event while representing Lebanon in the World Championships from 1953 to 1963 , Simon has since introduced and organized water skiing in the Middle East, As President of the Royal Jordanian Water Ski Federation for the past twenty-seven years, he has promoted twenty-eight international water ski festivals and three European championships . He has been active in the Disabled Council and has hosted a European Championships for the Disabled in Jordan. Simon was also one of the world’s foremost show skiers, acting as show director for Cypress Gardens and skiing there in over 6000 shows.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of a champion slalom skier, flamboyant showman, and dedicated administrator: Simon Khoury.
Betty Leighton has been a pioneer in the sport of water skiing in Australia and the Asian-Australasian Region as well.
At the 1953 World Championships in Toronto, Canada, Betty and fellow-Australian John Kumm became the first skiers from the Region to enter international competition. While neither went home with medals, they left with experience and enthusiasm which was to nourish competition in Australia and throughout the Region for many years to come. Betty went on to become an internationally recognized official, serving as a judge for the World Championships in 1969, 1971 and 1973. She also was active in the initial organization of barefoot and delta kite competition in Australia.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of Australia’s pioneering water skier and official: Betty Leighton.
Indefatigable, enthusiastic, and totally devoted to the cause of promoting water skiing, particularly in cold water countries such as his own Great Britain, David Nations was an indispensable element in the development of the sport for thirty-five years.
The lone British skier in the first World Championships in 1949, David competed for another ten years, winning British titles and setting records, before turning his full attention to training and organization. He was a founder of the British Water Ski Federation as well as federations in Ireland, Israel and the Caribbean. He trained skiers from all over Europe at his home course in Ruislip and travelled to teach others in such remote areas as Russia and China.
Although he was an international judge and briefly a member of the World Technical Committee, his enthusiasm and expertise was perhaps less appreciated by the water skiing establishment than by the competitors whom he loved and supported. His award of the Order of the British Empire in 1975 was proof, in his mind, that water skiing had arrived as a serious sport and that he had helped to get it there.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of one of water skiing’s most enthusiastic and effective proponents: David Nations.
Dick Pope was almost certainly the greatest promoter that the sport of water skiing has ever known, and few have made greater contributions to tournament skiing. A pioneer water skier and a founder of Cypress Gardens, Dick used his famous Florida attraction to create movies, television shows, magazine features, and newspaper articles which promoted the beauty and fun of water skiing all over the world,
But Dick’s contribution to the sport was more than pretty girls and daredevil water skiers. He sponsored the second World Water Ski Championships in 1950 and helped to form at that time the World Water Ski Federation as a rival organization to the International Water Ski Union, whose foundation in 1946 we celebrate tonight. He was equally involved in the negotiations which brought the two organizations together again in 1955 as the World Water Ski Union. He sponsored another World Championship at Cypress Gardens in 1957, as well as the All-American and Dixie tournaments which set the standard in water skiing for decades. Several of the members of our Hall of Fame owe their skiing careers to the support and experience gained as members of the Cypress Gardens water ski team, including Willa Worthington McGuire, Alfredo Mendoza and Marina Doria.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of a pioneer and a prodigious promotor of the sport of water skiing: Richard Downing Pope, Sr.
Barefoot water skiing competition was dominated by the Australians throughout its first decade, and the most dominant of all the Australians was Brett Wing.
Brett was the Men’s Overall champion for the first three World Barefoot competitions in 1978, 1980 and 1982, picking up a total of eight individual event gold medals along the way. In Group and Australian barefoot competition, he was undefeated in overall from 1975 until his retirement in 1982. From 1978 to 1982 he set eleven World Records in Slalom, Tricks, Jump and Start Methods, and he still holds the World Barefoot Speed Record of 152.8 km/h set in 1979. With his worldwide travels, Brett worked to change the attitude toward barefooting from a ski show stunt into a competitive sport, and helped to create the active international competition that we have today.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of the pioneering champion of competitive barefoot water skiing: Brett Wing.
Ivan cantacuzene, born as a prince to refugees from the Russian revolution but affectionately known in water skiing as Popoff, was involved in the sport of water skiing from 1953 until his death in 1987. During that period he served the sport in administrative and technical capacities at all levels from the Water Ski Club Montreux, where he held a position on the executive committee for over 30 years, to the International Water Ski Federation, where he was a member of the Executive Board for fifteen years including two years as World Secretary General.
Ivan’s interests were mainly in the technical side of water skiing. He took a place on the World Technical Committee when it was expanded from three to nine members and served as its chairman for two different terms totalling slightly over five years. His calmness in the face of confusion made him the ideal scorer, and he relished his position as Chief Scorer of every World Championships from 1967 to 1975. An international first class judge for thirty years, he reigned as Chief Judge of the 1979 World Championships in Toronto.
There are few in the sport of water skiing who can match Ivan’s long, dedicated and effective service to the sport; and none can claim, as Ivan could, that he has never had a pair of water skis on his feet.
I am pleased to announce the induction of one of water skiing’s most dedicated officials into the International Hall of Fame: Ivan Cantacuzene.
Carlos Suarez, like Rick McCormicic before him and the Carasco sisters and Patrice Martin after him, turned a youthful domination in trick skiing into ultimate success as an overall skier. A trick skiing boy wonder when he competed in his first World Championships in 1971, he placed only 37th that year in his favorite event. Nevertheless he became the first South American skier to achieve international recognition.
Skipping the 1973 World Championships, Carlos returned in 1975 to win the Men’s Overall title with a first place in tricks, and he repeated his championship performance in the trick event in 1977, slipping to second in the Overall race. His final World Championship was in 1979, where he placed second overall and second in tricks. Carlos is credited with the first trick record recognized by the World Water Ski Union, a score of 6260 points set at the 1975 World Championships, and he went on to set three more such records in subsequent years.
Following his success in the 1975 World Championships, Carlos used his dominance in tricks to become the 1976 overall champion at both the U.S. Masters and Moomba Masters. He retired from the sport in 1979 and has all but disappeared from view.
I am pleased to announce the induction of one of the water skiing’s foremost trick and overall skiers into the International Hall of Fame: Carlos Suarez.
Cindy Todd, one of the few women to win back-to-back overall titles at the World Championships, has had a competitive career stretching over more than two decades. A strong skier in all three events, Cindy holds three World Slalom titles (1977, 1981 and 1983) and two World Jumpi ng titles (1979 and 1983) along with her Overall Championships in 1977 and 1979.
Cindy’s victories in slalom and jumping at the 1983 World Championships in Sweden were the highlights of the tournament, coming, as they did, after a return from her second announced retirement.
Cindy is credited with five World Records in slalom between 1975 and 1982 and a World Record in jumping in 1982. She can count four overall titles at the U.S. Masters among her many trophies.
She and her husband Les, one of the world’s top boat drivers, remain active in the sport, and Cindy was inducted into the U.S. Hall of Fame in 1993.
I am pleased to announce the induction of one of water skiing’s strongest skiers into the International Hall of Fame: Cindy Todd.
Roby Zucchi throughout the decade of the 1970s was recognized as one of the world’s finest slalom skiers. Despite competing in all three events as a member of the Italian Team in 1967, 1969 and 1971 and placing as high as fourth overall, his reputation remained that of a slalom specialist. In that event he finally achieved the title of World Champion in 1975.
Roby was particularly dominant in slalom in the European championships, where he won that event in more than half of the years between 1968 and 1976.
Following his retirement from competition in 1977, Roby has been active in the Italian Water Ski Federation, serving on technical and competition committees, as vice-president, and, for the last three years, as president of the Federation.
I am pleased to announce the induction of one of water skiing’s finest slalom skiers in to the International Hall of Fame: Roby Zucchi.
George Athans’ position as the first of a long line of top competitive Canadian water skiers has been recognized in his own country by the award of the Order of Canada and his induction into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. Now it is the turn of the International Water Ski Federation to recognize the third man to win two consecutive World Overall Championships.
George entered his first World Tournament in Sherbrooke in 1967 at the age of only 15, placing well in slalom and tricks. With age, his jumping improved until in 1971 he was able to overtake the reigning men’s overall champion, Mike Suyderhoud, by just 60 points to become the first Canadian to win a gold medal in world competition since Charlie Blackwell’s slalom win in 1953. He repeated this victory in 1973 in Bogota, winning with a substantial 150 point margin and picking up a gold medal in slalom at the same time.
Since his retirement from competition, George has continued to promote the sport as the co-author of a best-selling book on water skiing and a frequent television commentator for the Canadian Broadcasting System. He now owns his own television production company in Montreal specializing in sports and entertainment programming. At this moment, although he claims he would rather be here, he is in Barbados working on a television series featuring scantily-clad models in bathing suits.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of Canada’s first internationally recognized water skier: George Athans.
When the World Water Ski Union Technical Committee was formed in April 1960, Alan Clark became one of its three founding members. That influential committee, responsible for drafting all of the rules, selecting judges and drivers for the World Championships, and controlling all the competitive aspects of international competition, remained a body of three until 1973, and Alan served as the representative of Group III until his election as President of the WWSU in 1971,
His four-year term as President was marked by significant expansion of the sport. During those four years the Olympic demonstration of water skiing was held at Keil, the first World Cup was organized in Tahiti, and the World Championships were held for the first time in South America.
Alan began his water skiing career as a competitor and was among the first to recognize the importance to the growth of the sport of improvement in judging, technical matters and administration. After more than fifteen years on the international scene, judging three World Championships and numerous Moomba Masters, Alan continued his service to water skiing in Australia until his untimely death in 1978.
I am pleased to announce the induction of one df the sport’s most important contributors to its technical side: Alan Clark.
Bill Clifford served as Secretary-General of the WWSU from 1956 to 1958 and Secretary-General of Group I from 1980 to 1984. Those relatively modest international positions, however, do not begin to describe the influence Bill had in international water skiing. As the Executive Director of the American Water Ski Association for 27 years, Bill Clifford held a unique position in the sport. For most of that period, few national federations were nearly as well organized as the AWSA, and water skiers on the U.S. teams dominated competition. Federations from around the globe looked to the AWSA for administrative and technical advice, and Bill generously made the resources of the AWSA available to all.
Until his election as AWSA Executive Director, Bill was both an active competitor and a judge, serving as Chief Judge of the World Championships in 1957. He was instrumental in the organization of the Masters Tournaments at Callaway Gardens and the expansion of that tournament to include international water skiers. He was the Chief Judge of the Masters for ten years and the chief advisor for several years beyond that. By the 1970s Bill was heavily involved in the politics of international water skiing, and, during his term as Secretary-General of Group I, fought for greater disclosure and broader control within the Executive Board, a battle that ultimately led to the resignation of WWSU President J. J. Finsterwald in 1983.
Bill Clifford died in 1989, just a few months after his induction into the American Water Ski Hall of Fame.
I am pleased to announce the induction of one of the sport’s most effective and influential administrators: Bill Clifford.
Mike Hazelwood competed as a member of the British team in eight consecutive World Championships, the longest competitive record at that level of anyone who has ever won a World Overall Championship. During that period, from 1973 to 1987, Mike won three gold medals, including the one in 1977 for overall, five silver medals, and two bronze medals. As one of the most successful competitors of his long era, he was honored by the British Crown with the title MBE, “Member of the British Empire”
Jumping was always Mike’s strongest event, which he demonstrated by setting three world records between 1980 and 1986. As the World record in jumping now approaches 65 meters, we recall that Mike was the first to jump 60 meters. Mike was the dominant skier in Europe for over a decade, winning the European Overall Championship eight times between 1976 and 1986.
Mike now operates a water ski school in Florida, where he trains future water skiing stars and continues to remain active in the sport.
I am pleased to announce the induction of one of the most successful skiers of the 1970s and 80s: Mike Hazelwood.
Mike Suyderhoud was only the second man to win two consecutive World Championships in Overall. The first was Alfredo Mendoza, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in its initial year of 1989. Mike won the World Overall Championship in 1967, at the age of 17 entering his first World Tournament. His second World Championship came in 1969 at Copenhagen, in water conditions that many will remember were extremely difficult. In 1971, despite winning first places in both slalom and jumping, Mike placed second in overall to George Athans; and in 1975 Mike finished fourth.
In his fifth World Tournament in 1977, Mike skied next to last in the jumping event in Milan in water conditions that were far from ideal and increasing darkness. His leap of 51.45 meters won the event, and J. J. Finsterwald described the jump at the awards ceremony as the most incredible jump he had ever witnessed,
Mike set four World Records in jumping between 1968 and 1970, won the overall at the first World Cup held in Tahiti in 1971, and held numerous overall and individual titles in the Pan American Championships, the U.S. Masters and the U.S. Nationals.
Mike continues to compete in the United States in his age division and, in addition, has trained many top skiers at his ski school at Lake Shasta in California. He has helped many thousands more through his columns in water skiing magazines and video tapes, and this week he is serving as the Coach of the U.S. Team for the 1993 World Championships.
I am pleased to announce the induction of one of water skiing’s foremost competitors into the International Hall of Fame: Mike Suyderhoud.
No one has ever dominated a skiing division for as long a period and to such a degree as Liz Allan. She was world overall champion three times: 1965, 1969, and 1975 including a clean sweep at the 1969 World’s, a feat which has never been duplicated. She set four World Jumping Records from 1965 to 1974 and a World Slalom Record in 1975. Liz was on the U.S.team for the World Championships 5 times and won 11 gold medals. Liz’s dominance elsewhere was equally impressive. She competed in four Group I Championships and won the overall at each of them. In the U.S. Masters tournament she won the overall in 9 consecutive years and also picked up a total of 38 U.S. National gold medals competing from the Jr. Girl’s division to the Open Women’s division.
Liz was a top skier in all three events.
I have already mentioned her records in Slalom and Jump, and she never placed lower than second in either of those events in five World Championships. Even though falls in tricks put her out of overall contention in 1967 and 1973, she won that event in the 1969 World Championship.
Liz was not just a champion skier; she was also a teacher of champions.
Establishing one of the foremost water ski schools in Florida, Liz trained skiers from around the world. Many of those skiing in this year’s world tournament profited from her instruction. Now that she is married to the former Canadian champion Bruce Reid she has been of great assistance to the Canadian Team.
I am pleased to announce the induction of one of our greatest competitive water skiers into the International Water Ski Hall of Fame: Elizabeth Allan Reid.
Water skiing has been fortunate in having officials who have given so generously of their time and talents over the years. An outstanding example was Bill Barlow Sen. who served as President of the World Water Ski Union from 1960 to 1961. In 1961 water skiing was rather loosely organized on the international level, and after serving a term as WWSU President and presiding over the organization and ceremonies of the 1961 World Championships in Long Beach, California, Bill took on the task of organizing Group I which to that date existed in name only.
He served as the first President of Group I from 1961 to 1971. During this period he promoted the organisation of the first Group Championships in Mexico in 1966, developed Group By-Laws, enlisted new countries and held the first Group meetings and elections.
Bill continued to be active in the American Water Ski Assosiation as well, where he had served a term as President from 1959 to 1960 and attend nearly every AWSA Board meeting in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years. He was a Senior Judge in the AWSA and judged or scored many U. S. Nationals and other major tournaments including the Masters and the California International Cup.
Even after his decade on the WWSU Executive Board, Bill continued to contribute as he attended every World Championship from 1961 to 1985, assisting in tournament positions and performing the biannual audit of the WWSU records with Jean Muller.
I am pleased to announce the induction of the man primarly responsible for the organisation of Group I, William P. Barlow Sen.
Franco Carraro was the first president of the World Water Ski Union who truly came up through the ranks. In 1956 Franco was European overall champion. In 1957, 1959 and 1961 he was a member of the Italian teams for the World Championships. Although a fourth in slalom in 1957 in Cypress Gardens was the closest he came to a medal, he was indeed a world class skier on one of the strongest teams.
By 1963 he was judging and was Chairman of the Group II Technical Committee, placing him on the WWSU Executive Board. In 1965 he was Chief Judge of the World Championships in Surfer’s Paradise, and from 1967 to 1971 he followed Andre Couteau as WWSU President. During that period he was heavily involved in the relations with the Olympics that led to our demonstration sport status in 1972.
Indeed his carrer in water skiing was so meteoric that he shot well beyond our sport alone and now he is member of the International Olympic Committee where we hope he continues to look favourably on the sport which nurtured him and to which he so greatly contributed.
I am pleased to announce the induction of one of water skiing’s most effective officials and most brilliant alumni. Franco Carraro.
Thirty-five years ago Marina Doria did what would now not seem at all remarkable – she left her native Switzerland and went to Florida to train. In 1955, however, it was a unique decision. There were, of course, no competitive Ski schools in Florida at the time, and Marina did what so many American competitors of that period did – she joined the ski show at Cypress Gardens and became one of its star performers.
Marina skied in three World Tournaments 1953, 1955, and 1957. In 1955 she placed second in overall, with a gold medal in tricks. In 1957, with the World Championships at the now-familiar Cypress Gardens, Marina won the overall, with gold medals in both tricks and slalom, becoming the first European woman to win the World Overall title.
Although skiing at Cypress Gardens, Marina continued to compete in Europe, winning four consecutive overall titles in the European Championships from 1953 to 1956 and at least five consecutive overall titles in Switzerland where she continued to compete successfully until 1960.
I am pleased to announce the induction of the finest female skier from Europe of the first decade of international competition and former World Overall titlest, Marina Doria.
Every once in a while some one comes alone who serves as a real catalyst for a sport. For water skiing Jean Muller was just such a person. Jean Muller learned to ski in 1929, long before most of us where born let alone knew anything about water skiing. He was not only a pioneer in the sport but he stayed with it and helped it grow for nearly 60 years.
Since he did not carry a series of impressive official titles, it is hard to list his accomplishments but it is just as hard to imagine water skiing in France, in Europe and in the world without Jean Muller. He was Secretary General of Group II and on the WWSU Executive Board from 1961 to 1963 preceding the World Championships in Vichy for which he was technical director. As technical director he brought Longines into the sport and he helped them to create the first automatic slalom and tricks timing devices as well as an innovative, though less successful, photographic jump measuring system.
Whatever was needed, he did. When ski racing needed organisational help, he served as secretary to the Racing Council for many years. Though not an accountant, he willingly served as WWSU Auditor with Bill Barlow Sen. at several World Tournaments until finally declaring the records unauditable.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of a pioneer, an innovator, and a consistent voice for reason and progress amid the storms of politics: Jean Muller.
Andre Coutau, of Switzerland, could rightly be called the father of international water skiing. He was one of the founders of the first world group, the International Water Ski Union, established at a meeting in Geneva in 1946, and he led the organization through the turmoil of the early days and into the stability that now characterizes the 40-nation federation that governs the international sport.
Coutau, then a young Swiss engineer, first observed water skiing at the Chicago Century of Progress in 1932, and he returned home with an inboard runabout and a pair of water skis, thus introducing the sport to central Europe.
His enthusiasm carried over into a desire to organize the sport nationally and internationally. He succeeded in both goals with the formation of the Swiss Water Ski Federation and the IWSU.
In the early 1950’s when several Western Hemisphere nations, including the U.S., split with the IWSU and formed the World Water Ski Federation, Coutau worked tirelessly to effect a settlement of the differences, finally succeeding in April of 1955 with the formation of the World Water Ski Union which he served as secretary-general and later as president. (The WWSU was renamed the International Water Ski Federation, effective in January 1988).
Coutau was in the forefront of the campaign to attain Olympic recognition for organized water skiing. His effort finally succeeded when the International Olympic Committee voted to recognize the WWSU at a meeting in Teheran in 1967 and admit water skiing as a non-participating sport. This action resulted in water skiing being in the Munich Games of 1972 as an exhibition sport.
Coutau served as a member of the world Technical Committee which promulgated the rules governing international competition and was its president for four terms. He was also secretary and president of Group II of the WWSU embracing Europe, Africa and the Near East.
Willa’s lifestyle took a radical change when she was forced to water ski for the first time on Lake Oswego, Oregon at the tender age of fourteen. One turn about the lake and she vowed a love for the sport that would endure a lifetime.
She won the first tournament she entered, which happened to be the U.S. Nationals. Willa had never seen a jump or slalom course until the day before this tournament, but managed to walk away with two firsts and a second.
Three years later, Dick Pope, Sr., sent her to the first world tournament in Juan Les Pins, France, where she won her first of three world overall titles.
Willa’s forte was creativity, an ability that gave skiing its first back swan, backward jump, and 360 swivel turns.
She was a Prima Ballerina at Cypress Gardens for a decade and U.S. National Overall Champion eight times. Willa currently lends her creative talents to sculpting the American Water Ski Hall of Fame, as Chairperson of the Museum.
Water Skiing continues to be a daily activity for this dedicated skier, even though she retired from competition in 1959. Skimming over the water on one ski, under the tropic skies of Florida, will always be the best way to live for this champion of champions.
Alfredo Mendoza was the premier male water skier in the world during the early 1950s and he turned his tournament successes into a professional career as a skiing star at Florida’s Cypress Gardens.
Mendoza first learned to water ski at Lake Tequesquitengo southwest of Mexico City in 1949. His fascination with the sport, coupled with his viewing of a film of show skiing at Cypress Gardens, convinced him to change from his earlier ambition of becoming a bullfighter.
His name soon became well known throughout the world of tournament water skiing, especially for his skill as a jumper. Mendoza won the U.S. national jumping titles in Minocqua, Wisconsin in 1952, and in Long Beach, California in 1953. He became the national tricks champion in Laconia, New Hampshire in 1954, and won the jumping overall titles at the 1956 U.S. Nationals in La Porte, Indiana.
Mendoza captured the jumping and overall gold medals at the 1953 World Championships in Toronto, Canada. He repeated as jumping and overall champion at the world meet in Beirut, Lebanon two years later and added the slalom gold medal to his victory string.
His jumping wins were characterized by an unusual “crack-the-whip” approach to the ramp, now known as the double-wake cut. Mendoza introduced it in 1951 after he and his fellow Cypress Gardens skiers had used it successfully in practice. It enabled him to set records at the world tournaments and later became a standard for water ski jumpers of all ages.
Mendoza later retired from water ski competition, concentrating on show skiing, and then turned to ice-skating. He became a star of a traveling ice spectacular in the 1960s and 1970s.
At the time of his induction to the International Water Ski Hall of Fame in 1989, he resided in Clearwater, Florida.