Saturday July 31, 2021’s Smile of the Day: Waterskiing
On this Day:
In 1922, 18-year-old Ralph Samuelson rode the world’s 1st water skis (Minnesota).
Water skiing (also waterskiing or water-skiing) is a surface water sport in which an individual is pulled behind a boat or a cable ski installation over a body of water, skimming the surface on two skis or one ski. The sport requires sufficient area on a smooth stretch of water, one or two skis, a tow boat with tow rope, two or three people (depending on local boating laws), and a personal flotation device. In addition, the skier must have adequate upper and lower body strength, muscular endurance, and good balance.
There are water ski participants around the world, in Asia and Australia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. In the United States alone, there are approximately 11 million water skiers and over 900 sanctioned water ski competitions every year. Australia boasts 1.3 million water skiers.
There are many options for recreational or competitive water skiers. These include speed skiing, trick skiing, show skiing, slaloming, jumping, barefoot skiing and wakeski. Similar, related sports are wakeboarding, kneeboarding, discing, tubing, and sit-down hydrofoil.
Water skiing was invented in 1922 when Ralph Samuelson used a pair of boards as skis and a clothesline as a towrope on Lake Pepin in Lake City, Minnesota. Samuelson experimented with different positions on the skis for several days until 2 July 1922. Samuelson discovered that leaning backwards in the water with ski tips up and poking out of the water at the tip was the optimal method. His brother Ben towed him and they reached a speed of 32 kilometres per hour (20 mph). Samuelson spent 15 years performing shows and teaching water skiing to people in the United States.
Samuelson went through several iterations of equipment in his quest to ski on water. His first equipment consisted of barrel staves for skis. He later tried snow skis, but finally fabricated his own design out of lumber with bindings made of strips of leather. The ski rope was made from a long window sash cord. Samuelson never patented any of his ski equipment.
The first patent for water skis was issued to Fred Waller, of Huntington, NY, on 27 October 1925, for skis he developed independently and marketed as “Dolphin Akwa-Skees.” Waller’s skis were constructed of kiln-dried mahogany, as were some boats at that time. Jack Andresen patented the first trick ski, a shorter, fin-less water ski, in 1940.
In 1928, Don Ibsen developed his own water skis out in Bellevue, Washington, never having heard of Samuelson or Waller. In 1941, Don Ibsen founded The Olympic Water Ski Club in Seattle, Washington. It was the first such club in America. Ibsen, a showman and entrepreneur, was one of the earliest manufacturers of water skis and was a leading enthusiast and promoter of the sport. In 1983, he was inducted into the Water Ski Hall of Fame in Winter Haven, Florida.
The sport of water skiing remained an obscure activity for several years after 1922, until Samuelson performed water ski shows from Michigan to Florida. The American Water Ski Association formally acknowledged Samuelson in 1966 as the first recorded water skier in history. Samuelson was also the first ski racer, slalom skier, and the first organizer of a water ski show.
Parallel to this, an avid sailor, sportsman and early adopter of water skiing, the young Swedish engineer Gunnar Ljungström (1905-1999) pioneered water skiing in slalom moves from 1929. A demonstration behind a motorboat was made to the Swedish public at the 100th anniversary of the Royal Swedish Yacht Club in Sandhamn outside Stockholm in 1930.
Water skiing gained international attention in the hands of famed promoter, Dick Pope, Sr., often referred to as the “Father of American Water Skiing” and founder of Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven, Florida. Pope cultivated a distinct image for his theme-park, which included countless photographs of the water skiers featured at the park. These photographs began appearing in magazines worldwide in the 1940s and 1950s, helping to bring international attention to the sport for the first time. He was also the first person to complete a jump on water skis, jumping over a wooden ramp in 1928, for a distance of 25 feet. His son, Dick Pope, Jr., is the inventor of bare-foot skiing. Both men are in the Water Ski Hall of Fame. Today, Winter Haven, Florida, with its famous Chain of Lakes, remains an important city for water skiing, with several major ski schools operating there.
Water skiing has developed over time. Water skiing tournaments and water skiing competitions have been organized. As an exhibition sport, water skiing was included in the 1972 Olympics. The first National Show Ski Tournament was held in 1974, and the first ever National Intercollegiate Water Ski Championships were held in 1979. The Home CARE US National Water Ski Challenge, the first competition for people with disabilities, was organized ten years later.
The first patented design of a water ski which included carbon fiber was that of Hani Audah at SPORT labs in 2001. Its first inclusion in tournament slalom skiing was in 2003 (per Wikipedia).
First, a Story:
I was water skiing on the ocean and ran into a navigational marker. Buoy did it hurt!
Second, a Song:
Alan Eugene Jackson (born October 17, 1958) is an American singer and songwriter. He is known for blending traditional honky-tonk and mainstream country pop sounds (for a style widely regarded as “neotraditional country”), as well as penning many of his own songs. Jackson has recorded 16 studio albums, three greatest hits albums, two Christmas albums, and two gospel albums.
Jackson is one of the best-selling music artists of all-time, having sold over 75 million records worldwide, with 44 million sold in the United States alone. He has had 66 songs appear on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart; of the 66 titles, and six featured singles, 38 have reached the top five and 35 have claimed the number one spot. Out of 15 titles to reach the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, nine have been certified multi-platinum. He is the recipient of two Grammy Awards, 16 CMA Awards, 17 ACM Awards and nominee of multiple other awards. He is a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2001. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2017 by Loretta Lynn and into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018.
In Tennessee, Jackson got his first job in The Nashville Network’s mailroom. His wife Denise was a flight attendant. While working she came in contact with Glen Campbell and requested advice for her husband. Campbell handed her his business card of his manager and told her to call, which helped jumpstart his career. Jackson eventually signed with Arista, and in 1989, he became the first artist signed to the newly formed Arista Nashville branch of Arista Records. Arista released Jackson’s debut single, “Blue Blooded Woman”, in late 1989. Although the song failed to reach top 40 on Hot Country Songs, he reached number three by early 1990 with “Here in the Real World”. This song served as the title track to his debut studio album, Here in the Real World, which also included two more top five hits (“Wanted” and “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow”) and his first number one, “I’d Love You All Over Again”. Don’t Rock the Jukebox was the title of Jackson’s second album. Released in 1991, it included four number-one singles: the title track, “Someday”, “Dallas” and “Love’s Got a Hold on You”, and the number three “Midnight in Montgomery”. Jackson also co-wrote several songs on Randy Travis’ 1991 album High Lonesome.
A Lot About Livin’ (And a Little ’bout Love), his third album, accounted for the number one hits “She’s Got the Rhythm (And I Got the Blues)” (which Randy Travis co-wrote) and “Chattahoochee”, plus the top five hits “Tonight I Climbed the Wall”, “Mercury Blues” and “(Who Says) You Can’t Have It All”. “Chattahoochee” also won him the 1994 Country Music Association (CMA) awards for Single and Song of the Year. In 1994, Jackson left his management company, Ten Ten Management, which had overseen his career up to that point, and switched to Gary Overton. His fourth album was titled Who I Am, and it contained four number one hits: a cover of the Eddie Cochran rockabilly standard “Summertime Blues”, followed by “Livin’ on Love”, “Gone Country” and “I Don’t Even Know Your Name”. An additional track from the album, a cover of Rodney Crowell’s “Song for the Life”, made number six. In late 1994, Clay Walker reached number one with “If I Could Make a Living”, which Jackson co-wrote. Jackson also appeared in the 1996 “When Harry Kept Delores” episode of Home Improvement, performing “Mercury Blues”.
“Chattahoochee” is a song co-written and recorded by American country music artist Alan Jackson. It was released in May 1993 as the third single from his album A Lot About Livin’ (And a Little ’bout Love). The album is named for a line in the song itself. Jackson wrote the song with Jim McBride.
“Chattahoochee” also received CMA awards for Single of the Year and Song of the Year (per Wikipedia).
Here is Alan Jackson performing “Chattachoochee”. I hope you enjoy this!
Thought for the Day:
“I like to go wakeboarding. It’s my new favorite sport. It’s like skiing but on a snowboard that has little shoes on it.” – Minka Kelly
Have a great day!
Dave & Colleen
© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky