New Zealand Water Ski Association
President: John Weller
I learnt to ski when I was around 7 years old at Orakei Basin in Auckland and growing up as part of a water ski family was made to do everything. For Dad there was no such thing as summer and winter, it was just ski time and our (my brother Graeme & myself) childhood was spent travelling the country skiing at all sorts of events from Tournament to Barefoot to Ski Racing to Show Skiing.
The NZ Boat show was for many years an October show owned by the Auckland water Ski Club, the OBC & the R-Class Yacht Squadron and year after year we spent a considerable amount of the winter months in ‘build up’ phase. Of course the standouts for me were the ‘Slippery Spa’ competition & the Water Ski show which starred Dad and a number of AWSC members. I remember when I was 15 finally talking Dad into retiring the ‘old buggers’ and letting us younger kids take over the ski show which we did successfully for a number of years. The Boat show was eventually taken over solely by The AWSC as a massive showground rent increase saw the other 2 organisations drop out.
I remember Dad taking a proposal to Sondra Wigglesworth, the AWSC president at the time and convincing her and the club committee members to take a chance.
Our winters were taken up barefooting as Dad was a keen barefoot competitor and one of the instigators in the Northern Districts Barefoot Club back in the 70’s when the sport started to take off. Our Christmas’s were spent at Karapiro where the National Tournament Ski School was held & then to Stanmore Bay for the annual water ski race which was a huge event in those days with the beach being swamped with thousands of spectators. The remainder of the summer was spent at tournaments, ski races and the odd ski show at places all over the north island.
From my first Tournament NZ Champs in 1975, Tournament & Barefoot NZ Champs in 1976, Tournament & Ski Race NZ Champs in 1977 & 1978 and Tournament NZ Champs every year after until my retirement in 1988. During this time I won many National Championship titles mainly in the Jump Event and had the privilege to represent New Zealand at a number of World Group 3/Oceanic Championships, Open World Championships & Invitation World Cup Events.
Out of interest for those ski boat enthusiasts I won the ski race NZ title behind an American Hull called Foxy lady running a 235 Outboard pushing Nitro oxide.
I have also had my daughter Taylor and son Jake win NZ National Titles & represent NZ at Aussie/Kiwi Championships. Off the water I was an AWSC executive for a number of years, sat on the NZ Boat show executive, ex-president & executive member of Kai iwi Lakes WSC, been on the Rotorua WSC, held positions on the Northern Region & NZTWSA executive and currently act as liaison officer on TWSA, trustee on NZWS Foundation, vice president of World Oceanic as well as president of NZWSA.
To finish, one of the achievements I’m most proud of is during the 1976-1978 seasons (over 2 years) I managed to win NZ Championship medals in All the 3 divisional codes at the time (Tournament, Barefoot & Ski Racing) which I don’t believe has been achieved by any other New Zealander.
Wake New Zealand
President: Keri Ring
A bit about me, I grew up as a gypsy child travelling around the north of the north island, the oldest child of 2 teachers, who wanted to provide an immersive education for their kids. As young kids my sister and I were always in the water and mostly unattended! Coming of age was about 12yrs old being able to take the other kids out on the 8 ft parker craft with big 6 hp outboard and big rock up the front to keep the nose down, those were good days as we dragged ourselves on whatever floating device was available. This somehow lead to some proper skis and endless circuits of Okawa bay over Christmas and less frequently in the Orakei Basin. I first tried Wakeboarding in the early 90’s and loved the feel of the wide board and back then (maybe still) it was the slightly dishevelled cousin of skiing which had a cool factor of its own. It was about this time that I also stopped snow skiing and started Snow boarding, the boarding life for me. When Ballistics were running their Atiamuri camps this offered a glimpse into the purpose built boats and top end of the sport which was just next level. Fast forward 15 years and my own son and daughter came along, with a 2nd chance to re-live my younger days I introduced the kids and my wife Natalie to the water sports life and we all love it. We have a Bach and wakeboard boat at Mangakino where we can be found most weekends, other than being on the water itself one of my favourite things about the sport is the community which is equal measures of warm, welcoming and supportive, I would however warn anyone who is thinking about taking up wakeboarding - its hugely addictive! Look forward to seeing you on the water!
New Zealand Tournament Water Ski Association
President: Peter Engle
Barefoot New Zealand
President: Rob Groen
Ski Racing New Zealand
President: Brett Fleximan