The history of waterskiing traces back to the mid 19th century when a Swedish man started the process of patenting the invention; however the idea did not catch on. Little information is known regarding the true origin of water skiing even though the Swedish dictionary shows that it dates back to the 1921. According to the Swedish dictionary, water skiing refers to a ski on a water body.
It was about after one year when the real concept on water skiing emerged. This was on 28th June 1922 when Ralph Samuelson, an 18 year old man, realized that if an individual could ski on snow, it was not incorrect to believe that an individual could also ski on water. He first tried out his theory on Lake Pepin to ascertain its factuality.
By using the curved barrel staves that were bound on his feet using leather straps and also towed by simple clothesline, Samuelson was off the water. Samuelson and his brother tried to experiment this idea for many days until 2nd July 1922 when it was discovered by Ralph that in order to realize a prosperous water skiing, then an individual needed to lean backwards while holding the tips of the skis upwards.
Samuelson then began practicing water skiing on the roads by travelling throughout the East Coast (E.C) of the U.S where there was large content of water. He did not patent any of the equipment that he used as he was very busy illustrating his new invention as well as enjoying himself. Fred Waller is the man who patented the initial water skis by naming them as “Dolphin Akwa-Skees.”
Immediately after the equipment was patented, Waller went into the market and water skiing eventually became a very popular exhibition sport. Towards the end of 1920s and the start of 1930s, the first ever national water skiing sporting event was conducted in Long Island at the Jones Beach in 1939.
After sometime, as water skiing became very popular, it eventually began evolving and became a trickier and very advanced sport. There were three distinct divisions that were established such as jump, trick and slalom. Main competitors were then classified into age and gender.
Normally, trick skiing is a sport where the skier usually grasps the rope using one of his or her feet and then jumps as well as flips. The points are being awarded in trick skiing depending on the complexity of the tricks that the skier performs. Each skier is given 20 seconds in order to do as many tricks skiing as they can and are also permitted 2 trick runs.
However, jump skiing appears to attract a majority of participants. The height of the jump ramp ranges between 2.5 and 5.5 feet with the maximum speed of the boat being 36mph. Taking these factors into consideration, the skier can usually jump to over 200 feet.
It was at the Olympic games of 1972 in Kiel Germany that water skiing became an exhibition sport. Presently, there are more than 650 water skiing clubs worldwide with more than 11 million participants coming from the U.S while the rest are from the other parts of the world.