William Barlow Sr.
Organizer of the Western Region
When officials became eligible for nomination to the Water Ski Hall of Fame in 1983, it was singularly appropriate that the name of William P. Barlow, Sr., of Piedmont, California was the first proposed for the honor. His contributions to organized water skiing have covered almost every conceivable aspect of the term "official".
He has been president of the World Water Ski Union, president of the American Water Ski Association, president of Group I of WWSU, judge and scorer at many of the World's foremost water ski tournaments, a member of key committees within AWSA, a member of the AWSA Board of Directors for eight years and a senior advisor to the board for 18 years as an honorary vice president.
These have been the highly visible jobs he has done for the sport, but perhaps of even more importance have been his accomplishments behind the scenes. For example, the Western Region was effectively organized for the first time under his leadership after he was elected regional vice president in 1957. Barlow activated the involvement of AWSA in the affairs of the world body, largely perfunctory up to that time, during his term as WWSU president in 1960-62. The organization of Group I of the WWSU, encompassing countries of the Western Hemisphere, was accomplished after he was elected president of the Group in 1962, a post he held for 10 years.
The Barlow family -- Bill and Muriel and their sons, Russell and Bill Jr., -- began water skiing in 1948 at Lake Arrowhead, a resort area east of Los Angeles. Although they saw some competitive events at the lake, the Barlow's witnessed their first full-fledged tournament in 1954 and attended their fist Western Regional in 1956 at Lodi.
At Western Regional Council meeting the following year at Long Beach, Barlow Sr. was elected to head the regional organization and his long tenure as official had begun.
He served on the AWSA Board of Directors from 1957 until 1965. The directors elected him president for the 1959-60 term, and made him an honorary vice president when he retired from the board in 1965. This position gave him the opportunity to attend board meetings in an advisory capacity, and he had never missed a meeting at the time of his Hall of Fame nomination.
He also had attended every Nationals since 1957, serving as Chief Judge of the tournament at Long Beach in 1963, and every world championships since 1961. For many years, he attended the world congress as an official delegate form the U.S.
During his years as president of Group I, he helped to forge a strong bond among the water skiing federations of the Western Hemisphere and was instrumental in encouraging the emergence of the competitive sport in man South American Countries.
In addition to this judging activity at the national and international level, Barlow, a member of the San Francisco accounting firm of Barlow, Davis & Wood, served with his wife as official scorers at many major tournaments, including the Nationals, the Masters and the U.S. Team Trials.
Since his retirement, he has continued his active interest in organized water skiing, not only with AWSA but also as a trustee of the American Water Ski Educational Foundation since it's founding in 1968