Ask Wayne Grimditch of Lighthouse Point, Fla., to list his accomplishments in water skiing that gave him the greatest measure of satisfaction and he understandably hesitates as his mind searches through a 15-year career studded with highlights. Then he names them:
Jumping 169 feet for a new world record in 1972.
Winning the world tricks title in 1973.
Topping 180 feet for another world jumping record in 1975.
Competing in the 1972 Olympic Games in Germany as one of only two male water skiers selected from the U.S. for the demonstration sport.
In any evaluation of Wayne's career, those accomplishments would surely rank high, but there are others, which together stamp Wayne Grimditch as one of America's all-time great water skiers.
Wayne Prefers to be remembered as a good three-event water skiing competitor, which he was, but his most spectacular accomplishments were in jumping.
He is the only skier ever to hold jumping records in the Junior Boy's, Boy's and Men's Division at the same time. When he leaped 169 feet in the '72 Masters, his Junior Boys' mark of 102 feet had stood since 1968, and he advanced his Boy's record to 134 feet a few weeks after the Masters.
In all, Wayne set 10 U.S. national jumping records and four world marks. He earned 16 national titles in the three male divisions in which he competed, and he was a member of the U.S. Team in 1969, 1971, 1973 and 1975.
Wayne began tournament skiing in 1963 at the age of eight, and he qualified for his first National Tournament the following year in slalom. He became a three-eventer in 1965, and two years later he won his first national jumping title with victories in jumping and tricks and a third in slalom.
Wayne by accident became a safety trendsetter in 1966. After he sustained a concussion in jumping practice spill, his father, William H. Grimditch II, insisted that Wayne wear a helmet in any future jumping activity. The helmet became a Grimditch trademark, and before long, young jumpers began imitating him. Today, though not mandatory in the U.S., helmets are considered standard equipment for tournament jumpers.
Wayne became water skiing's No. 1 public relations ambassador in 1978 when sports fans throughout America saw him win the ABC Superstars, a television presentation featuring the country's finest athletes in a variety of sports. The format called for demonstrated skill in sports in which he has participated emphasize the validity of consistent high standing in three years of Superstar competition: Football (Florida AA all-state), soccer basketball, ice skating, snow skiing, rowing, cycling tennis, swimming, weightlifting, bowling, diving, baseball, squash and track and field.
A pioneer in free-style water skiing, Wayne was the first to perform a gainer off the ramp and a 720-degree turn off the ramp in free-style competition.
His training for Superstars performances, beginning in 1975, proved to be a mixed blessing. While he was successful in the Superstars, his change in exercise routine resulted indirectly in a series of injuries that limited his participation in water ski competition to a few cash prize tournaments through 1978 when he began to specialize in television color commentary for the cash prize tour.