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Described as “a wonderful skier and man,” John Cornish is a barefoot competitor and official credited with nearly single-handedly building the
Eastern Region into one of the most competitive and largest regions in barefooting. Cornish began barefooting at the age of 15 by reading “The Water Skier” to learn about barefooting and tricks which he attempted with no instruction. Even- tually he started a local ski club and began ski shows on his lake. Later on, he took his barefooting on the road with the West Shore Water Ski Club during the summer. One year, he even attempted
a state barefoot speed record and was clocked at over 75 mph. His first expe- rience with tournament skiing came on a trip to the Cypress Gardens Endurance tournaments. Cornish placed third and was inspired to go home and organize
his own tournaments. He hosted the first Eastern Regional Barefoot Tournament in 1978, a tournament that marked Banana George Blair’s first appearance on the barefoot scene. When Cornish took over the Eastern Regional Director position, he traveled the country to develop other regional tournaments and officials in nearly every region. Cornish and Stew McDonald were the first two appointed Ameri- can judges to be sent to the first Barefoot World Championships in 1978. Cornish was also an alternate on the U.S. Team for the 1978 Worlds. In later years, he coached two U.S. teams. One of those assignments was the 1986 World Cham- pionships in Kelheim, Germany, where the world saw the U.S. win its first Gold medal. From that point on, the U.S. team would dominate the World Barefoot Championships and go on to win an unprecedented 12 straight championships! Cornish won two overall national titles and numerous individual event titles along with many top placements during his 18 years of competition. He sat on the Amer- ican Barefoot Club’s Board of Directors for several terms, was an ABC President for more than 5 years, ABC Vice President, senior judge, senior driver, regular scorer and a regular Homologator. He was a member of the World Barefoot Council, served as Chairman of the Rules and Officials Committee and worked on U.S. team selection. He was selected as Eastern Region Barefooter of the year and ABC Barefooter of the year. Today, Cornish is still barefooting for fun on the week- ends and continues to teach new barefooters whenever possible and continues to support the sport of water skiing and barefooting. It was once believed he was to be the only person to teach a leg amputee to barefoot water ski. His commitment to the sport is certainly monumental.