NEWS BLOG

Foundation News

The USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation gives away tens of thousands of dollars every year to help young water sports athletes attend the college or university of their choice... and you can help make a difference for these students and the future.


DONATE TO THE USA-WWF SCHOLARSHIP FUND HERE



As we near the end of the year, we all look at our charitable donations for the current tax year and plan our donations.


DONATE TO THE USA-WWF SCHOLARSHIP FUND HERE


The USA-WWF awards scholarships and grants to our young athletes for their athletic performances and contributions to the community to further their educational opportunities in the academic world.


The USA-WWF General Scholarship fund needs your support and we will send you a receipt recognizing your donations for tax purposes.


DONATE TO THE USA-WWF SCHOLARSHIP FUND HERE


Your generous support of our General Scholarship and Grants programs for all of our young athletes as they grow and mature in the sport that we love will be appreciated by all of us.



91 views0 comments

Our scholarship program and the importance of education is a focus of the USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation.


Our Project Executive Director Hank Longo had a chance to chat with Curtis Rabe, Coach of the Florida Southern Water Ski Team about water skiing and academics. At Florida Southern College, being a great athlete and a great student go hand-in-hand.


"If they're smart already... from a coaching standpoint, they understand what it takes to get their mind in shape to perform the athletic feats they're going to do on the water," says Rabe who is a water ski champion in his own right. (Watch the whole interview below)

Hank also spoke with Florida Southern College Senior and Water Ski Team Member Kelly Breeden who is a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major who wants to be a Marine Researcher.

Kelly skis in all three events but looks beyond water skiing, but not the water, for her future plans.


"I want to help figure out whats going on in the ocean... I want to use my degree to help save the planet," says Kelly who reportedly carries her organic chemistry text book everywhere... along with her skis!


Special thanks to PGTV for sharing this video with us!


If you want to help the USA Water Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation provide scholarships and educational opportunities to young people who excel in towed water sports. Make a donation to the scholarship fund Click HERE


OR Become a member of the USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation Click HERE!


206 views0 comments

Every once in awhile… "Going Bananas" is a good thing!


We could all feel the spirit of Banana George Blair at Lake Silver in Winter Haven, Florida as the tournament George started, made a comeback on October 24th and 25th! 




It had been several years since the Banana George Blairfoot Bananza had been held and the American Barefoot Club’s Southern Regional Director Mikey Caruso thought it was time for a “Bananza Intervention.” 


“It just had to happen,” says Caruso, a former Junior Barefoot World Champion and member of the 2020 US Elite Barefoot Team.  “We had to do it for George and everyone who loves him.”


Mikey Caruso and James Miller go head-to-head in Saturday Figure 8 Competition

More than 40 barefoot water skiers ranging in age from 7 to 80 years old gathered at a safe, social distance to celebrate the memory of George and ski their butts off in the two-day Figure 8 and Endurance Tournament at Lake Silver.



But it wasn’t just about barefooting, the two-day event raised $4000 for The USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation’s Banana George Blair Ambassador College Scholarship.  A check was presented to USA-WWF Scholarship Administrator Jeff Clark at the tournament Saturday night. (Jeff is pictured with Banana Man in 1993)


If you are a College-Age Water Sports Athlete… APPLY HERE for the Banana George Ambassador Scholarship and other Foundation Scholarships.


If you would like to donate to the scholarship fund contact Jeff Clark Scholarshipadmin@waterskihalloffame.com or make a donation HERE.



Figure 8 Champs Awards Presentation: Donna Blair, Don Simon, Marc Donahue, Van Jantzen & Hayleigh Blair

Winners received a super cool trophy, a Masterline Ski Handle and amazing framed photos from George Blair’s Office donated and presented by Donna Blair who also helped sponsor the tournament!  Donna also gave every competitor a copy of the Banana George book by Karen Putz!


Hayleigh & Donna Blair

George’s Great-Granddaughter, Hayleigh Blair, helped present the awards and even participated in the Boom Division! 


ORDER YOUR BANANZA T-SHIRTS!

T-shirts will still be available until November 15... so order yours today! ORDER HERE


RESULTS

Saturday Figure 8 - Head-to-Head

Juniors (16 and under)

  1. Van Jantzen, South Carolina

  2. Owen Schattschneider, Wisconsin

  3. Claire Flowers, South Carolina

Junior Figure 8 Awards: Hayleigh Blair, Van Jantzen, Owen Schattschneider & Claire Flowers

Seniors (60 and up)

  1. Don Simon, 80, Florida

  2. Danny “Sparky” Wicks, New Jersey

  3. Chuck Bender, Wisconsin

Adults (17-60)

  1. Marc Donahue, Florida

  2. Wayne King, Canada

  3. Paul Miller, Indiana

Silas, Micah, Hayleigh & Spencer

Boom Division:

  • Hayleigh Blair, Georgia

  • Spencer Barrington-Hughes, South Carolina

  • Silas Walliser, Florida

  • Micah Walliser, Florida

Sunday Endurance – Timed Circles

Juniors (16 and under)

  1. Van Jantzen, South Carolina 7:25

  2. Noah Kinnaman, Missouri 7:02

  3. Owen Schattschneider, Wisconsin 5:03

Endurance Champs: Marc Donahue, Wayne King & Paul Miller

Adults (17-60)

  1. Marc Donahue, Florida 9:55

  2. Wayne King, Canada 9:36

  3. Paul Miller, Indiana 7:35

Seniors (60 and up)

  1. Danny “Sparky” Wicks, New Jersey 2:37

  2. Ron Coonse, Indiana 2:26

  3. Al Hager, Florida 1:43


Let's go Bananas again in 2021!


Thanks to our sponsors: Visit Central Florida/Polk County Sports Marketing, Delray Beach Executive Suites, Joanne Blair, Donna Blair, Georgia Blair, Carrie Blair, Robin Blair, Ted Blair, John Cornish, Masterline, Celcius, ABC Southern Region, Just Add Water Media, American Barefoot Club, World Barefoot Center, Patrick & Charlotte Stewart, Don Stoppe, The Jersey Boys, Bob Swanbom and Adrienne Rundell.


Massive thanks to Polk County’s Guy Friday Hank Longo, Chief Judge Justin Landers, Boat Wrangler Don Simon, Chief Driver Ben Groen, Announcer Jared “The Golden Voice of Water Skiing” Lippelgoos, Chief Safety Char Portman, Bracket Men Al Hager and John Friede, COVID Sanitation Officer Deanna Dean, Ice Man Chuck Bender and Chief Registrar Alyx Matheny! 


And of course, The Bananza Committee: Chuck Bender, Mikey Caruso, Tim Collette, Deanna Dean, Ted Eisenstat, John Gillette, Betsy Gilman, Ben Groen, Al Hager, Justin Landers, Marty Levine, Jared Lippelgoos, Rob Scott, Don Simon, Steve Shannon, Lance Smith and Bruce Walter.

We can’t wait for next year… bigger and better! 


The Bananza Committee wants to make this happen again in 2021... email betsybarefoots@aol.com if you want to join the planning! And hold on!



Stay Tuned for details at BananaGeorge.org!




243 views0 comments