Karin Roberge Woodson
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From Montreal to California
Little did Andre and Marielle Roberge realize back in 1966 when they moved their family from Montreal, Quebec, to San Diego, California, that they were paving the way for a world champion water skier.
Their daughter Karin was only three then and a long way from her 1981 overall victory in the World Water Ski Championships at England's Thorpe Water Park.
Yet water ski competition was a natural progression for Karin, once the Roberges learned what water skiing was all about, just as it was for her younger brother, Carl, and younger sister, Nathalie.
Karin was born December 18, 1962 in Montreal. Her parents enjoyed occasional snow ski outings but once they moved to San Diego their skiing interest shifted to the water as new members of the Mission Bay Boat & Ski Club.
Karin learned to ski when she was six but the family's real enthusiasm for the sport came two years later when they joined other Mission Bay Skiers on a vacation to Lake Powell in northern Arizona. The unrestricted skiing the Roberges enjoyed there put them in mind initially to take up endurance skiing or ski racing but they gave up that notion for safety reasons and turned to three-event competition.
With her father's demanding work as an engineer with General Dynamics, Karin mother became chief coach and boat driver. Practice was limited on Mission Bay so the Roberges later joined the Wet Set Village Ski club in Newberry springs for additional training opportunities.
Karin began winning regularly in club tournaments before the Roberge family gained its U.S. citizenship in 1974, thus giving the children eligibility to compete in the top tournaments sanctioned by the American Water Ski Association.
In her first Western Regionals' in 1975, Karin swept all three events in the Junior Girls' Division much tougher than it was among the juniors but she advanced steadily, especially in slalom and jumping, and won the division Nationals overall title in 1978, taking the top spot in both events along the way.
Then it was Karin's improvement in trick skiing that proved to be her edge when she moved into the Open Women's Division in 1979. A victory in tricks, coupled with a third in slalom and a fourth in jumping, made her the open overall champion on her first try. She retained her overall title the following year with another victory in tricks and a silver medal in slalom. Karin came back for her third and fourth Open Overall titles in the 1983 and 1985 Nationals, again winning the tricks event in 1983.
Karin's overall skiing skills ere little less impressive in the Masters. She won the Master Cup in 1979 and 1980. She set a world slalom record of 4 1/2 buoys on a 12-meter line in the 1981 Masters and picked up the tricks title in 1984.
Exerting her overall mastery against the world's best gave Karin her greatest skiing moment in 1981 at the Thorpe Water Park World Championships, where her silver medal in slalom and a bronze in tricks were sufficient to give her the winning edge. Karin was an alternate on the 1983 and 1985 U.S. Teams.
Moving to Orlando, Fla., in the early Eighties, the Roberges bought property on a nearby lake and opened a ski school where Karin worked and trained until her marriage in 1985 to William D. Woodson.
At the time of Karin's Hall of Fame induction, the Woodsons with their three children, Catherine, 8, Michael, 5, and Marie, 18 months, were living in Melbourne, Fla., where Bill was in the real estate and insurance business.