You probably never thought about how old the sport of water skiing is, but it couldn’t have been much of a sport before personal motor boats were a thing. The man who invented water skiing was Ralph Samuelson, an avid snow skier, who wondered if it would be possible to ski on water. He was only 18, but this is exactly the kind of thing 18-year-old men do. He tried using snow skis and various homemade boards on Lake Pepin, and finally had to design and build his own water skis. He then had to work out the best procedure for getting on top of the water by trial and error.
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After many attempts, Samuelson was able to stand up on water skis in July 2, 1922, behind a boat his brother was piloting. The site of that accomplishment on Lake Pepin, and the town of Lake City, Minnesota, are also the locations of this weekend’s 100th anniversary commemoration of the birth of water skiing. Sadly, Ralph Samuelson didn’t patent water skis, and someone else did a few years later. But his place in water sports history is safe. Read about how water skiing came about 100 years ago at Smithsonian.
(Image credit: Scinauticando.com)