FROM THE BEGINNING...
The American Water Ski Educational Foundation was organized by men and women, both amateur and professional, who have dedicated their lives to supporting the growth of water skiing.
The first water skier on record was Ralph Samuelson of Lake Pepin, Minnesota in 1922. The first Water Ski National Championship was held in 1939 at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, New York. The American Water Ski Association (now USA Water Ski) was founded in that same year by a handful of New York area water ski enthusiasts.
The personalities associated with water skiing history come to life in the museum with photos, industry displays, and artifacts depicting the early publicity seeking water skier, books, magazines, film, video and other literature from America and around the world.
Today, water skiing is a serious competitive sport, as well as a healthy family recreation. Many resorts now include water skiing as a guest activity. Scores of summer camps offer the sport as part of the curriculum.
During the past 75 years, water skiing has grown into a highly perfected sport attracting millions of participants in the United States.
The foundation depends on donations of water ski artifacts and financial support to provide scholarships and maintain the Hall of Fame and Museum. Such gifts are publicly acknowledged and are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Additionally, your gift assures the survival of these objects for future generations to enjoy and learn from, through the professional care and interpretation the museum can provide.
The Hall of Fame and Museum maintains permanent exhibits depicting the past and present of the sport. Special displays include the first pair of water skis, dating back to 1922, worn by the "Father of Water Skiing", Ralph Samuelson whose significance is highlighted in the Hall of Fame with a bronze bust, outboard motors from the 1920's and rare photos of skiers from the past.
The vast collection includes memorabilia from the 1920's to the present; water skis, ropes, handles, wetsuits, boat and motors, trophies, books, vintage and modern day photographs and negatives, perpetual trophies, film and video that numbers over 12,000 pieces. In addition to fascinating displays, the Foundation has the most complete audio visual library and resource center devoted exclusively to water skiing.
The Foundation offers educational and informational resources, including extensive historical archives, that can be utilized by the public, private agencies, schools, libraries, social organizations and many others. In addition to extensive print, still film and video files on the sport of water skiing, AWSEF itself, and through its affiliation with USA Water Ski, can provide instructional and safety materials for virtually all persons involved in water skiing and related water sports. The Foundation also administers several key educational scholarship funds, making financial assistance available to young persons within the water ski community who qualify.
AWSEF awards are created to recognize the 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
Preserves the history and legacy of water ski sports with it’s collection, preservation, and displaying of examples of ski equipment, art, and awards. AWSEF promotes all water sports and disciplines.
A Water Ski Legacy may be established in the name of an individual, a club, a ski site, an organization, discipline, company or an event that has had a meaningful impact, whether locally or nationally, on water skiing sport disciplines.
Tributes honor people for any reason: birthday, a wedding or anniversary, holiday or just to let someone know how special they are! Your tribute (although not the amount) will be announced to the honoree on a special card.
Whether to honor an individual, a couple, a group, a club, a team or an organization, there are many reasons to engrave a brick on our Walk of Fame. Achievements, Anniversaries, Birthdays, Celebrations, Graduations, Memorials, Victories, Weddings, and more!
Mission Statement-- The American Water Ski Educational foundation was chartered in 1968.
It is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit public foundation dedicated to the preservation of the traditions of one of America's most popular family recreational activities, and to the encouragement of and education in the safe enjoyment of the challenges of water skiing.
Paul Chapin, President
Tim Huston, Chairman of Board
Jim Grew, Vice President
Kim Laskoff, Secretary
Mark Harvat, Treasurer
AWSEF Director - Tracy Mattes