Chuck started skiing in his late teens on a lake in north Lakeland, Fla. Behind a homemade wood boat powered with a 10 hp engine and on homemade wooden skis. Shortly thereafter he started teaching friends and relatives to earn gas money. He taught his son, Frankie, when he was four and soon after his experience with the tournament scene started.
In May of 2010 after over 50 years of teaching water skiing Charles “Chuck” Dees passed on after a long battle with cancer.
He was inducted into the American Water Ski Foundation Award of Distinction in 2009, excerpts from his acceptance speech follows.
“I have witnessed many changes in water skiing throughout the years such as acquiring my first license to teach on city owned public lakes to privately own and operated water ski sites.
Starting from flat wood skis to concave and evolving to where they are today with fiberglass and many new composites, various boot designs, fins and wings with all degrees of variations. You do not have to be the best boat driver, just computerize the information and steer…. what technology!
I have so many exciting highlights of my water skiing and teaching career to mention a few:
Starting one of the first and longest running water ski schools. Coaching many of the top current and past National water skiers such as, my son Frankie, Sammy and Camille Duvall, Mike Morgan, Mike Meek, Ham Wallace, Jennifer Leachman, Richie Till, Tory Baggiano, Scot Ellis, John Swanson, Joey Blakely and Harold Cole and thousands of others including International Skiers. Hosting the casting and making of the Juicy Fruit commercial back in the 1980s featuring Corry Pickos and Ron Scarpa. Coaching my son Frankie and being there when he won the Masters Overall title at the age of 16. One of the major contributors in the beginning of Kneeboard competition and seeing my granddaughter competing and setting records. Seeing my granddaughter Megan entering water ski competition at the age of 4.
Being a coach requires knowledge of the sport but equally important is the psychology involved to get the most and best out of your students.
I realize that my schedule was hectic at times and the teaching very difficult, especially in the days without bimini tops on boats, also I realize that this was my only hobby and the main focus of my life… I loved it and the years just flew by!”