I was first introduced to Water Skiing at the tender age of 11. I went to Lake Bassenthwaite in the Lake district for my first Summer Camp (SEP) in '72 when they first introduced Water Skiing. Because Bassenthwaite doesn't allow powered craft we had to travel down to Lake Windermere. These skiing trips down to Lake Windermere don't hold the best memories, nor did they spark my interest in the sport. The following year the summer camp moved to it's present day location on the banks of Loch Lomond in Scotland. All my years as a camper at SEP I tried most avenues of escape to avoid being pulled round behind a big, noisy, oily outboard engine. Back in the 70's my interest lay with SCUBA and Canoeing.

My interest in water skiing was rekindled in '79 whilst on an foreign exchange program to Pascagoula, Mississippi. Some school friends offered to take Jimmy, my exchange partner, and I skiing down the Pascagoula river. Thoughts of alligators helped me stay on the skies - not that any self-respecting gator would come my direction, or that there were any there in the first place! Having warm water to ski in, makes all the difference, I was now hooked! A couple of months later I moved to Paducah Kentucky and stayed with a family called the Muir's. Having helped paint their house, Mom and Dad let their son Scott and I have free reign with their powerboat on the Kentucky Dam Lake

I seem to remember staying on their houseboat (The Family Circus) near Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park. We spent a week or so fishin' and skiin' all day long. Here I learnt how to drop a ski - and managed to stay up! - By accident.


In '80 I offered my services on the SEP ski crew back at SEP Scotland. Now that I was able to stay out of the water most of the time Skiing in this colder climb wasn't so bad, anyway I was hooked. I served their ski crew for many years till the mid 90's when budget cuts meant that was one of the first activities to go. For many years (87-94) I ran a crew of about 20 staff for three weeks with four boats. I tried to follow the leadership of my predecessors who I'd worked for in previous years - John Meakin, Dick Weber and Alan Johnston. We had a real international variety of skills making up our crews from "I think I can ski!" to fellow barefooters. At the end of session we always tried to stage a ski show for the whole camp.

The youth group who sponsored my US exchange then offered me a two, three week sessions at their Orr Minnesota summer camp. It was here as a camper for the first session my skiing improved exponentially under the ski crews guidance led by Dave Sheppard. At the end of the first session I had improved to the point I was given a part in the camper ski show. To add icing to the cake the next session I was added to the ski crew. 18 years old, British and on ski crew - life didn't get much better. Stuart Hughes a friend on the crew taught me how to barefoot. We managed this behind an Avenger hull with a Johnson 75 on the back - didn't do the ski pole much good!

SEP is sponsored by the Worldwide Church of God who's youth group YOU ran a weekend skiing opportunity for youth groups across the UK at a place called Hardwick Park in Whitney, Oxfordshire. Almost very weekend during the season I'd go up there to help out with the teenagers coming to learn how to ski, or improve their abilities. This proved a great opportunity for the youth and many of them excelled at the sport. Some of the campers made it onto the ski crew and proved a real asset to the group.

A visit to Thorpe Park in the late 80's for a days training proved useful under the instruction of Paul Seaton. Driving my car during the days after proved hard on the forearms, due to the workout I'd been given up and down the slalom course. I only had 5 sessions during the day, but each was to exhaustion.