23rd March 2022

The IWWF is mourning the passing of Max Kirwan OAM who passed away at home on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, aged 96.

Max Kirwan was responsible for developing water skiing through 40 years of involvement and was President of the Australian Water Ski Association for eight years between 1970-1978. As a sport, water skiing made giant strides during this time, especially in the barefoot and ski racing disciplines.

He founded the Mulwala Water Ski Club in 1982, which has become one of the world’s most successful ski clubs. He said at the time that the Ski Club – first known as Paradise Water Ski Club – could eventually be the headquarters for water skiing in Australia and he wasn’t too far off the mark as the Mulwala Water Ski Club is now ranked among the best water skiing facilities in the world with the Max Kirwan Water Ski Park named in his honour.

In 1985 Kirwan became the first person to be recognised on the Queens’ Honours List for services to water skiing in Australia when he received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) and in 2010 he was presented with the Melbourne Award for his contribution to the City of Melbourne and for promoting the Moomba Masters International Water Ski Championships for over 50 years – he served as either Chairman or Moomba Masters Coordinator throughout this period. He first approached the then Melbourne City Development Organisation in 1958 with a proposal to run exciting events on the Yarra River over a one-week period. In 1960, his dream became a reality when he launched the first Moomba Masters Water Ski Championships on Melbourne’s Yarra River – an event that has become one of the most famous international water ski events in the world.

Max served as a director of the International Waterski  & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) and the IWWF Asia Australasia region’s President for many years. He was inducted into the IWWF International Hall of Fame in 2005.  The world-class waterskiing facility, the Max Kirwan Water Ski Park, named in his honour, is a truly fitting legacy.

IWWF Executive Director, Paul Fong, said, “Max was not only instrumental in the development of towed water sports in Australia but also in Asia.   His contribution to our sport is like none other – made it the sport it is today.  He was a mentor to many of us and a remarkable gentleman.  A Good Innings, Max!”

The IWWF’s deepest condolences are with Nicole, the Kirwan family and the entire towed water sports community. He will be truly missed. RIP.

About the IWWF:  The International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) is the world governing body for towed watersports and has over 90 affiliated Federations worldwide. It was founded in 1946 in Geneva, Switzerland. It is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the sole authority for towed watersports. The IWWF is an affiliate member of the Association of IOC Recognized International Sports Federation (ARISF) and the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF). The IWWF’s sports disciplines include, amongst others, Tournament Waterskiing (slalom, tricks & jump), Wakeboard, Cable Wakeboard, Cable Waterskiing, Disabled Waterskiing, Show Skiing, Ski Racing, Barefoot Waterskiing & Wakesurfing

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