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Hall of Fame Nominations Deadline June 1

The purpose of the Water Ski Hall of Fame shall be to honor and perpetuate the names and accomplishments of skiers, pioneers, and officials whose dedication and competitive achievements at National and International levels have brought lasting fame to the sport of water skiing.


Permanent archives shall be established and maintained for the collection and display of memorabilia related to the lives and accomplishments of those selected for induction in the Water Ski Hall of Fame and others who have participated in the sport through the years. Inductions generally take place annually for those elected by the Hall of Fame Selection Committee.

The Selection Process:

Categories of Hall of Fame Membership

1. Competitive water skiers, including participants in traditional water skiing, barefoot skiing, ski racing and any other nationally competitive individual discipline recognized by USA-WSWS and approved by the USA-WWF Board of Trustees.

2. Water skiing pioneers.

3. Water skiing officials (established in 1983)

4. Show skiing (established in 1994)

Eligibility for Pioneers

Only U.S. pioneers qualify. This category is neither defined nor definable, but it is intended for people whose contributions to the sport do not fall into the other categories. Ralph Samuelson and Dick Pope, Sr. are examples. Those whose principal contributions as water skiing officials should not be considered as pioneers. Individuals whose qualifications relate to the development of a specific discipline should be considered based on the importance of their contributions to the sport of water skiing as a whole.

Eligibility for Competitive Skiers

1. Only U.S. Citizens qualify. This is not intended to be an International Hall of Fame. This would best be defined as someone who would have been

eligible to ski on the U.S. Team at the World Tournament, assuming that there is a World Tournament in a particular discipline.

2. No member of the Hall of Fame Selection Committee is eligible while serving on the Committee, or for at least 1 year after leaving the Committee.

3. The skier must have skied in the U.S. Nationals (or U.S. Open Water Ski Tournament) at least five years. Three of these years must have been in the Open Division (or U.S. Open Water Ski Tournament). For those skiers whose competitive careers were completed prior to the establishment of the Open Divisions (1973), three years of competition in the U.S. Nationals in either the Men's, Women's, Boys' or Girls' divisions will be required instead of five years. For competition prior to the establishment of the Open Divisions, the Men's and Women's divisions are regarded as equivalent to the Open divisions. Competition in the Boys' and Girls' divisions during this period would also be considered, but only by relating their performances to those in the Men's and Women's divisions.

4. Competitors under the age of 50 must have been retired from Open competition to be eligible. The retirement must have been for at least three years as of November 1 before the next induction. There is no ‘retirement’ requirement for competitors who are age 50 or older as of June 1st when the nominations close. All competitors may, however, continue to be active in senior competitions such as age division or Masters Divisions, including cash award events that are not for Open skiers. The skier may also be active as an official or with other involvement in the sport. (Effective 4/13/14)

5. One and two event skiers are eligible.


The Committee will consider the following factors in voting on competitive athletes:

Major Factors:

  1. Open skiing record in the Nationals and other major tournaments

  2. World and U.S. Open records set

  3. World championships in International Men or International Women

  4. Sportsmanship, character and integrity

Minor Factors:

  1. Competitive record in the Nationals in divisions other than Open

  2. Competitive record in the Regionals (Note: Record in local tournaments will not be a factor)

  3. Records set in divisions other than Open

  4. Service as an official, administrator or in the promotion of the sport

  5. Competitive record in disciplines other than the principal discipline

Eligibility for Officials

  1. Only U.S. Officials qualify. It is not possible to lay down specific qualifications in a category as broad as that of water ski officials. Generally, a candidate would be recognized for major contributions to the sport over a considerable period of years. Election is not based on isolated outstanding contributions. At the same time,  dedicated and generous, mere length of service, which cannot be said to have contributed significantly to the progress of the sport in one or more areas is not sufficient. The emphasis is on achievements, not of offices held or time served.

  2. The term "official" is intended to encompass a wide range of functions within the sport. Primary consideration is given to contributions to the sport as a judge, driver, scorer, USA-WSWS and affiliated Sport Disciplines officer or administrator, IWWF officer, executive committee member or administrator, USA-WSWS and affiliated Sport Disciplines National Committee Chair or IWWF council membership. With respect to IWWF positions, only service by U.S. Citizens is to be considered. Secondary consideration is given to contributions as chairman of major tournaments, tournament announcer, water skiing writer or promoter. With respect of all of these functions, the emphasis is on contributions of national or international significance - not regional of local significance. Candidates are not generally judged on a single function, but rather an accumulation of contributions in several areas, even though one may be predominant.

  3. Generally, 15 years of service to the sport at local, national, or international levels is required as a minimum for consideration, but exceptions may be required in extraordinary circumstances. Mere length of service, by itself, will never qualify an individual for consideration. Length of service is more a measure of the extent of the individual's dedication to the sport.

  4. Retirement from active involvement in the sport is neither a requirement for nomination nor is it encouraged. A candidate will not be considered when there is still a great deal more he may be expected to contribute. At the same time, the committee will not wait for the candidate's death or illness to recognize significant contributions to the sport. Generally, a minimum age of 50 at induction is required unless the candidate was clearly retired prior to that time.

Eligibility for Show Skiing Participants

  1. Although show skiing is recognized by USA-WSWS as a team competition, teams are ineligible for induction into the Hall of Fame. Individuals involved in competitive or other organized show skiing events can be considered, however, whether their contributions have been as performers, show directors, promoters, announcers or boat drivers.

  2. In considering individuals for the Hall of Fame in this category, their contributions should be assessed in relation to the advancement of the sport of water skiing as a whole, including an increase in awareness and appreciation by the public of the sport. Activities that have little or no impact outside the show skiing discipline are not sufficient for recognition in the Hall of Fame.

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Award of Distinction Nominations Deadline August 1

This award was created to recognize many individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to our sport. They may include tournament skiers, innovators, industry leaders, officials and others responsible for landmark achievements in the development of water skiing as well as those whose long periods of dedicated and generous service deserve special recognition. Even those who have later become famous outside the sport and others whose contributions have been in the form of resources or public relations are eligible for nomination for the Award of Distinction.

There is no requirement that a candidate be retired from competition for him to be recognized for his skiing accomplishments, although preference is unlikely for skiers still competing in the Open Division who are clear candidates for the Hall of Fame following their retirement. Those honored with the Award of Distinction remain eligible for nomination to the Hall of Fame.

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Lifetime Achievement

Nominations Deadline August 1

The Lifetime Achievement Award is to recognize the “ambassadors” of our sport that have given of themselves back to the sport and dedicated their lives to making the sport better for everyone involved, whether they are competitors or behind the scenes tireless promoters and administrators in all aspects of the sport.

1. Person or persons must have been actively involved in one or more of the USA Water Ski Sport Disciplines of towed water sports for a minimum of 50 years. Typically, the time would start with their first involvement with the organized sport, such as joining a ski club or participating in an event, not when they took to the water for the very first time.

2. This award is not mandatory every year and expected to be given rarely. Voting is done by the Hall of Fame Selection Committee and presented at the annual Hall of Fame Inductions.

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