Water skiing is a sport in which competitors slalom, perform tricks, and jump on water skis while being towed by a speedboat. The sport was derived from snow SKIING and aquaplaning and was started in the US by Ralph Samuelson in 1922. It is perhaps the fastest-growing, all-family competitive sport. Competition is divided into 3 events - slalom, tricks (figures) and jumping. In Canada, it is also arranged in age categories. Water skiing caused a sensation when it was first introduced in Canada in the 1930s. The sport became more widely known in Canada after an appearance of the Cypress Gardens skiers at the CANADIAN NATIONAL EXHIBITION waterfront shows in 1948. Water Ski Canada (formerly the Canadian Water Ski Association) was founded in 1949, and Canada's first national championship was held that year. Canada has hosted 3 world championships, in 1953, 1967 and 1979.
Canada first sent a full team (6 skiers) to the 1958 world championships held at Cypress Gardens, Fla, and won their first world team championship in 1991. Team Canada has since won the World Title in 1993 and 1999. Canadian world champions include Charlie Blackwell (slalom, 1953); Carol Ann Duthie (overall, junior girls, 1953); George ATHANS, Jr (overall, 1971, 1972 and 1973); Joel McClintock (overall, 1979); Pat Messner (slalom, 1979); Judy McClintock-Messer (tricks, 1985, overall 1995); Karissa Wedd (jump, junior girls 1998); and Jaret Llewellyn (jump, 1997 and 1999, and tricks, 1999). It was in 1999 that Jaret Llewellyn made history by winning 2 individual events at a World Championships (tricks and jump).
Since 1971, Canadians have won 8 world titles in the men's division, 5 world titles in the women's events and the Canadian team has placed no less than 4th in the world. The junior team won the gold medal at the 1987 world junior cup in Sherbrooke, Qué. Water skiing has been a participating sport in every Canada Summer Games and was approved as an Olympic category sport in 1981. Water skiing was accepted into the Pan-American Games in 1995, where Canadian water skiers won 2 gold, 4 silver and 1 bronze medals. The Canadians continued their dominance in the 1999 Pan-American Games with 2 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze.