Here in the WaterSki office, we talk with pros pretty regularly. We interview people who are doing unusual or extraordinary things for the sport of water skiing, and it's a blast talking with them about the passion that we all share. But no matter who we're talking with, we never forget that the skiers who read the magazine are the people who really drive the sport.
That's why we decided to find out about the real American water skiers. We posted a survey on waterskimag.com and asked readers to tell us who they are, how they ski and what makes them love it. Some of your answers were inspiring; some were funny. A few left us a little speechless. But for better or worse, it's now about time to examine just who is the American Skier.
AMERICAN SKIER STATS:
Home state: California
Years skiing: 24.5
Newest skier: One year
Skied the longest: 50 years
Answer we suspect is an exaggeration: “Since I was born”
Job: Sales and Engineering
Most dedicated answer: “I'm quitting my job to water ski.”
What made you fall in love with skiing?
Watching my cousin slalom during a lake visit with family who had a boat and a cabin on the water — hook, line and sinker ever since then. — Hartley Davidson
Basically, there are two kinds of people. Some people think they are great at everything, and some think they are bad at every- thing. The truth is somewhere in the middle. I was one of the latter; I didn't think I was very good at much, but skiing … once I started pushing myself, I didn't need to be told I was getting good — I knew. I still know it, and somehow at 37 each year I go faster and shorter than I believed. — Joe Monsour Jr.
Being on top of the water! — Bob McDonner
Most widely used skis:
Brand that most people started on: Connelly
One thing we should know about you, the American skier?
We were at camp and we wanted to ski, but we didn't have any skis. So we took a piece of plywood and nailed my converse All-Stars [high-top] tennis shoes to the plywood. Then we cut out a pair of what would look like trick skis. Now we needed a rope, so we used an extension cord and a chair leg for the handle. We were 16 or 17 years old at the time. — Danny Verret
I am currently a Marine officer who is quitting my job to build a water-ski community. We have a totally private course here at Camp Lejeune that is totally off-limits to civilians. You need to be accompanied by a Marine to ski it. — Patrick Hylant
I get along with my in-laws because of our shared passion for water skiing. — Jamin Reda
Percent of skiers who own a boat: 81
Do you own a lake home?
No, and do not plan to either. 42%
Yes, I live on a private lake. 23%
Yes, I live in a ski community. 14%
What is your favorite, most memorable skiing experience?
The most memorable would be the winter of 2003. I was showing off for a group of fishermen on a cold January morning and had a big crash and broke my leg. It wasn't a complete fracture, so I ignored it and continued skiing for the next two weeks before seeking medical attention. I wouldn't let the doctor cast my leg because I didn't want to miss a week of skiing. It took 16 weeks to completely heal, but I never missed a week of skiing and still haven't. — Larry Gebert
Teaching my daughter to ski when she was 3 years old. — Jeff Cowan
When I was 14, I was skiing recreationally and I made a sharp cut on my right side and my inside shoulder skimmed the water. I rebounded and saved myself from waxing. This experience boosted my confidence and I have thought about competing since. — Craig Alexander
Biggest skiing expense: Gas
Do your kids:
Not exist? 43%
The American ski season
Month your ski season begins: April
Days per week spent skiing: Three to four
Favorite event: Slalom
Second most popular event: Wakeboarding
Skiers who simply tolerate wakeboarding as a sport: 62%
Those who train all year for skiing: 43%
Number of slalom courses within 50 miles of home: One or two
Percent of skiers who only slalom ski: 42
Tourneys and schools
Attended a pro event: 45%
Most popular event attended: U.S. Open
Participated in a tournament: 44%
Barring local club events (67%) most popular tournament to participate in: 44% have competed at a USA Waterski sanctioned regional or national event.
Attended a ski school as some point: 50%
Most popular skiing destination: Florida
Runner up: Acapulco
Less picky responses: “Anywhere with six buoys.” “Any calm lake.” “Doesn't matter as long as I'm skiing.”
Average amount spent on skiing in the past year: $4,500
Other popular answers:
“Don't want to know.” “Oh, God!” Wife will get mad if she finds out.”