In an effort to further support collegiate water ski athletes, the USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation will administer a $1,000 grant to a collegiate water skier to help fund equipment such as water skis, bindings, vests, ropes, etc.


The Michael Gerken Equipment Grant was established in honor of Michael Gerken, a member of the Iowa State University water ski team, whose life exemplified the principles of good sportsmanship and fairness, competition and courage.  Its goal is to provide young student athletes of limited financial means the opportunity to purchase water ski equipment to continue to compete in water skiing in addition to their college studies. 


“We are happy to be working with the Gerken family to provide this opportunity to our college water skiers,” said USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation Executive Director Tracy Mattes. “Water skiing had such a profoundly positive impact on their son Michael and it’s wonderful that his memory will now assist in providing a brighter future for many college water ski athletes in the Midwest region and across the country.“


Those in the water ski community have fond memories of Michael Gerken. April Coble-Eller, 26-time U.S. national champion, described perfectly how people remember him: “Michael was a person who touched your heart as soon as you met him and a person you’d never forget. He was one of the happiest people I have ever met and absolutely loved to ski and to teach others how to ski! I’ll never forget the day he walked in the ski school kitchen, asked my mom to dance, and they waltzed across the dining room...just because good music was playing!  We will always keep pictures of Michael from his time as an instructor here all over our ski school tables as his smile is contagious!”


With the ever increasing scholarship program and now the addition of the equipment grant program, the Foundation hopes to continue increasing awareness and participation in water skiing at the college level.

  • Juniors and Seniors collegiate status required for grants

  • Shows overall commitment to the sport through their Collegiate Ski Association and continued participation after their sophomore season


When Applying please download the following forms