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Bears on Boards! The 100th year of water skiing is celebrated in White Bear Lake


This article was submitted by Paul Chapin, Former President of the USA Water & Wake Sports Foundation



Open to the public through July 3rd in White Bear Lake, Minnesota is an exhibit celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Water Skiing entitled “Bears on Boards: Water Skiing in White Bear” presented by the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society.

"Bears on Boards" is an interactive exhibit highlighting the invention of water skiing in Lake City, Minnesota by Ralph Samuelson and White Bear’s connection to the sport.


Visitors can see large-scale photographs, boats, skis, artifacts, and movies... and listen to oral history shown on four 80-inch video screens.



The history of the Bald Eagle Water Club (sponsor of the 1960 and 1965 AWSA Nationals), The Ski Otters, Bald Eagle Water Ski Shows, White Bear Water Ski Company, and local skiers is presented.


The Bald Eagle Water Club was formed in 1953 and is one of the oldest active clubs in the

country still affiliated with USA Water Ski and Wake Sports. The Ski Otters and Bald Eagle Water Ski Shows are spinoffs of the original club and they perform weekly shows in the local area.

The White Bear Water Ski Company began in 1947 and was in business for about 15 years. Their peak production year was 1959 when almost 300,000 skis were manufactured and sold across the country. It eventually closed in 1972.


Longtime Bald Eagle Water Club skiers and members of the Minnesota Water Ski Hall of Fame, the late Tom Chapin, and his children Paul (past president of USA-WWF) and Evelyn are featured and were honored by being Grand Marshals of the community's “Manitou Days” Parade.



For more information on the White Bear History Project Click HERE.