Foundation To Induct Four To Hall Of Fame

Trailblazers and record setters Bill Bowness, Kim Laskoff, Jennifer Leachman-LaPoint and Jeff Rodgers will comprise the 33rd Water Ski Hall of Fame induction class, the USA Water Ski Foundation announced today. The four icons will be enshrined among the greatest legends of the sport at the 2015 Water Ski Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on April 18 at Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, Fla.Each year, the USA Water Ski Foundation’s Hall of Fame Selection Committee assembles a ballot of deserving nominees across four categories – competitive water skiers, water skiing pioneers, water skiing officials and show skiing. The Hall of Fame class of 2015, the largest since 1983, will showcase four of the most illustrious careers in water skiing.

Bill Bowness

Nine-time world champion and six-time world record-holder Bill Bowness personifies outstanding sport performance, inspiration and a generous and indomitable spirit. As a nine-time member of the U.S. Disabled Water Ski Team, Bill’s contributions to the sport on and off the water have been extraordinary. In addition to his world titles and world records, he won seven U.S. national overall titles, and was manager of the gold medal-winning U.S. Disabled Water Ski Team in 2009. Bill has made a career of knocking down barriers for disabled skiers. He was the first sit skier to ski short line at maximum speed and the first to ski the full able-bodied course. Off the water, Bill’s contributions to the sport include 27 years as president of the IWWF Pan Am Confederation Disabled Skiers Council, on-going, 26 years as representative of the IWWF Athletes Advisory Council, and 11 years as a board director of USA Water Ski as well as serving as a senior-rated judge. Bill continues to coach, officiate and inspire disabled skiers at his Unlimited Skiing water ski school. His demonstrated commitment to excellence as an athlete and as a leader will certainly continue to contribute significantly to the sport well into the future. He was honored with the USA Water Ski Foundation’s Award of Distinction in 2003, and he will go down in the history books as the first disabled water ski athlete to enter the Water Ski Hall of Fame – paving the way for many who will come after him.

Kim Laskoff

Two-time women’s world slalom champion Kim Laskoff amassed a collection of firsts in her rise to the top of the water ski world rankings. Her ascent was rapid. Kim learned to ski at the age of 10, entered her first tournament a year later, and set the girls’ national slalom record of 2-1/2 buoys at 35 feet off just two years thereafter. Kim was the first female to run the 35-off pass in a record tournament. She was the first and only girls’ division skier to qualify for the International Pro Tour and the youngest competitor on the Tour. Kim won the slalom title at the inaugural Junior Worlds in Milan Italy, where her performance contributed to the U.S. Team winning the gold. She held the national girls’ slalom record from 1982 to 1998. Kim also was the first skier to compete in both the Junior and Open divisions at the Australian Moomba Masters and the first to win both titles. She also was the youngest skier to ever win the Moomba Masters’ slalom title in 1986. Kim was a member of the Rollins College water ski team that won the Collegiate Nationals in 1989. She set the national collegiate slalom record in 1986 and held it continuously for seven years. In 1987, Kim won the world slalom title and successfully defended her title in 1989. She was honored with the USA Water Ski Foundation’s Award of Distinction in 2002.

Jennifer Leachman-LaPoint

Three-time world record-holder Jennifer Leachman-LaPoint has enjoyed 30 years as a professional water skier and icon of the sport. She won her first U.S. national water ski titles in slalom, jumping and overall in 1981 at the age of 15. In 1985, Jennifer tied the women’s world slalom record of 4 buoys at 38 feet off. Accepting a full water ski scholarship to the University of Central Florida, Jennifer won two national collegiate slalom titles. In 1987, Jennifer combined her water ski talents and business education, opening the Jennifer Leachman Training Center and eventually O’Town Water Sports, a school and retail store in Orlando, Fla.  Jennifer held or shared the world record in 1985, 1987 and once again in 1996. The highlight of her career was the Michelob Light Professional World Tour Champion Title in 1991 after winning over half the events held that year. She won more than 30 pro events and had more than 60 podium finishes in her long career. Of all her accolades, probably what might be considered her most important accomplishment resulted from her efforts to found the Women of Water Skiing in 1992. This grassroots organization was dedicated to teaching women and children to ski through free clinics all across the United States. Through WOW, as it was called, thousands of women learned to ski, drive and trailer boats. WOW Sports produced more than 50 TV shows exclusively showcasing women’s water skiing.

Jeff Rodgers

Two-time world record-holder and 2003 world champion Jeff Rodgers garnered some groundbreaking water ski success that drew attention from around the world in his inspiring and storied 30-plus year water ski career. The South Carolina native began tournament skiing at age 17, winning his first Nationals in the boys’ division in 1984. Jeff went on to win multiple national and pro tour titles, set 16 national records, two world records, and won a world championship title. He was rarely off the podium in major events around the world. His career defining moment came in August 1997 as he did something that no other skier had ever accomplished before, running a full pass at 41 feet off to set the world record of 1 buoy at 43 off. These performances took the standard to a whole new level and solidified Jeff’s place as one of the greatest skiers of all time. Jeff also was the first person in the world to run a full pass at 41 off at 34 mph. In 2003, Jeff tied his own world record and went on to win the gold medal in men’s slalom at the Water Ski World Championships in Clermont, Fla. Jeff won the bronze and silver medals, respectively, in men’s slalom at the 2005 and 2007 Water Ski World Championships. In 2012 he capped an amazing career by setting a Masters Men division record of 1-1/4 buoys at 43 feet off.

Okeeheelee To Host 2015 Water Ski Nationals

USA Water Ski and the American Water Ski Association are pleased to announce that the 2015 Water Ski National Championships will be held at Okeeheelee Park in West Palm Beach, Fla. Hosted by the Ski Club of The Palm Beaches, the 73rd Nationals is tentatively scheduled to take place Aug. 11-15.

“The Ski Club of the Palm Beaches is proud to announce that we will be hosting our 14th Water Ski National Championships at Okeeheelee Park, August 11 through 15,” said John Shealy, president of the Ski Club of the Palm Beaches.  “The club, Palm Beach Parks and Recreation and the Palm Beach Sports Commission welcome everyone back for this wonderful event.”

The Ski Club of The Palm Beaches has hosted 13 Water Ski National Championships, five Southern Regional Water Ski Championships, two Florida State Water Ski Championships and the 1989 Water Ski World Championships – in addition to a handful of professional cash-prize tournaments and hundreds of other amateur water ski tournaments – over the past 30 years. It most recently hosted the 2012 and 2013 Water Ski National Championships. For more information on the Ski Club of The Palm Beaches, visit

More than 600 of the nation’s top water ski athletes from across the United States will compete for national titles in slalom, tricks, jumping and overall in respective age divisions and two Open divisions. Advancement to the Water Ski National Championships – the world’s largest three-event water ski tournament – is primarily earned through placement on the national rankings list. Athletes also can qualify for the Nationals by placing in the top-five at Regionals or by placing in the top-five at the previous year’s Nationals.

The first national championships was held in 1939 at Jones Beach in Long Island, N.Y. Except for three years during World War II (1942-1944), the Nationals has been held every year since 1939. The American Water Ski Association is one of nine sport discipline organizations affiliated with USA Water ski.

2015 Team Trials Set For June 27-28

The American Water Ski Association’s International Activities Committee is pleased to announce the 2015 U.S. Elite Water Ski Team Trials will be held June 27-28 at Shortline Lakes and the Cory Pickos Water Ski & Wakeboard School in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.

The two-round, world-record capability tournament will be used to select the six-member U.S. Elite Water Ski Team, which will compete in the 34th Water Ski World Championships, Sept. 7-13, in Milan, Italy.

The qualifications and procedures for the U.S. Elite Water Ski Team will be posted at a later date.

End of the Year News & Meeting Notice

Wow! Another great season of waterskiing in Florida has come to an end

And as usual, weekend after weekend the scores just continued to climb.

Congratulations to the skiers & many thanks to all the dedicated officials & site hosts that give of their time & lakes.


A reminder that we are only a month away from scheduling events for the

upcoming 2015 season. Our meeting is once again scheduled at USA

Water Ski HQ, on December 06, 2014 at 11:00 (09:00 for officers & council)


At this time there has not been any bids submitted to host the 2015 Fl. State Championships. If interested, please send to me at : (Bid form & information available in P & P Manual on our Website and in Word upon request).


Site owners please think about your date selections in advance so we can work together to get this done in a timely manner.


The Southern Regionals will be returning to Paducah, KY. July 22 –25, 2015.


A look back at the Fl ski season. Along with many weekend tournaments,

our state was host to : The LCQ at Sunset lakes and as usual was well attended and well run. The Fl State Championships were hosted by the Ski Club of the Palm Beaches, with many P.B.?s. Election of Officers and the Summer business meeting was held on Sat. evening. All officers / council persons were retained. We filled a few vacant positions. Steve Garcia was elected as Jr. Development Coordinator central region. If you have any ideas for fund raising or donating your ski site for Jr. clinics contact Steve. North & South coordinators are still needed. Curtis Rabe & Dana Garcia were elected to fill the 2 vacant positions on the H.O.F committee. All information is available on our website. Thanks to all for stepping up. There were some new items brought to the table. Some were passed & some were tabled to be finalized at the December meeting.


Some quiet time as our skiers & officials headed to Lymanland for the

Southern Regionals & then on to San Marcos River Ranch in Texas for the

US Nationals. Back to Sunset Lakes for the largest ever World event, The 35+ World Championships that was a huge success! Following that was the return of the US Open of Waterskiing held in downtown Orlando. Closing out the season was another great event, The return of the Rocket Man Night Jump combined with the Mapple Challenge / Pro Am. The format made for an entire day & night of Waterski action. Although Mother Nature came to town “unwanted” & created some delays and schedule changes. Those that participated as skiers and spectators seemed to really like the changes. Maybe tricks & night slalom next year?


As a whole the Florida ski season was a busy but successful one. Please

remember that all skiers and “Officials” must be FWSF members.


Hoping you a good off season, if there is one for you, and Spring finds

you ready to do it all over again.


Happy Thanksgiving & Merry Christmas!

All the Best, Gordon West

President – FWSF

Canada’s Dodd Wins Rocketman Title

Canada’s Ryan Dodd won the 2014 Rocketman Night Jump on Saturday night at the Mapple Peformance Center in Orlando, Fla. Dodd jumped 221 feet in the finals. U.S. athlete Freddy Krueger placed second with a distance of 211 feet.

The event was hampered by strong, gusty winds due to a cold front that had passed through central Florida earlier in the day. Athletes took only one jump in the finals.