Greatest Slalom Skiers Ranked

The 10 Greatest Right-Foot-Forward Slalom Skiers of All Time, Ranked

Rankings

The 10 Greatest Right-Foot-Forward Slalom Skiers of All Time, Ranked

Greatest Slalom Skiers Ranked

Ranking the best male right-foot-forward slalomers of all time.

By RTB

Top 10 Rankings


Last month we ranked the 10 greatest left-foot-forward slalom skiers of all time. Now we turn to the ‘righties.’ This list features the most dominant athletes in the sport, making it a contentious and challenging task to determine the top 10.

From pioneers who shaped the sport to modern-day maestros, these skiers have consistently showcased their proficiency and expertise on the water. In this article, we take a closer look at the ten greatest male right-foot-forward slalom skiers of all time. Their remarkable achievements and valuable contributions to the sport have earned them a rightful place in the annals of slalom skiing history.

‘Greatest Of’ lists in any sport are inherently subjective and water skiing is no exception. There’s no definitive checklist to crown someone as the absolute best. Every fan out there has their own opinion. But decisions had to be made. We proudly present our picks for the 10 best male right-foot-forward slalomers in the history of competitive water skiing. So sit back, enjoy, and maybe even debate a little over our choices—after all, that’s the fun of it!

Jodi Fisher Slalom Skiing

Image: John Goldie (via IWSF)

10. Jodi Fisher

Like many Brits before and after him, Jodi Fisher was a resilient competitor who excelled in all conditions. Although he may not have achieved the high scores of some of his contemporaries, Fisher’s ability to secure titles at challenging sites solidified his position as one of the top-performing slalom skiers of the 2000s. Among his major achievements are two Moomba Masters titles (2003 & 2007) and four IWWF World Cup stop victories in Doha, Qatar; Enniskillen, Ireland; and Dubna, Russia (twice).

Carl Roberge Slalom Skiing

Image: Carl Roberge (via about.me)

9. Carl Roberge

Primarily remembered for his late-career dominance in the jump event (he famously remained undefeated throughout the entire 1996 Café de Columbia Water Ski Tour), Roberge was a formidable contender in the slalom event for most of his career. He claimed victory in the slalom competition at both the 1981 U.S. Masters and Moomba Masters. Additionally, he reached the podium in slalom at the world championships twice, earning a bronze in 1985 and a silver in 1989. Roberge’s most significant achievement in slalom was winning the 1986 Coors Light Water Ski Tour championship, showcasing his consistency in a highly competitive field where no skier won more than two events throughout the season. Notably, he is the only skier to be crowned tour champion in both the slalom and jump events.

Freddie Winter Slalom Skiing

Freddie Winter of Great Britain is seen during the final of the BotaSki water ski ProAm (Image: Johnny Hayward)

8. Freddie Winter

A fiery Brit who wears his heart on his sleeve and isn’t afraid to speak his mind, even if it gets him into trouble with officials and the sport’s governing bodies. Winter is a fan favorite, known for his tenacity in fighting for every extra buoy and spectacular falls. His remarkable career includes winning over 20 professional titles, including finishing as the no.1 ranked elite slalomer in 2019. He continued his success in the Waterski Pro Tour, securing 2nd place in the first two seasons (2021 & 2022). From 2013 to 2019, he featured on every World Championships slalom podium, capturing the victory in challenging conditions at the 2017 tournament in Paris, France. Winter also won back-to-back U.S. Masters titles in 2019 and 2021. Despite his many triumphs, one challenge still stands – conquering the Yarra River.

One of the youngest skiers on this list, we expect Winter could move up the ranks in future years.

TGAS Slalom Water Ski

Malibu team Skier, Thomas Degasperi (Image: Memphis Boat Center)

7. Thomas Degasperi

the suave Italian, Degasperi is a master of the slalom course. He has become one of the most recognizable figures in the sport, starring on the Italian version of Dancing with the Stars and featuring in a series of U.S. TV commercials for 5 Hour Energy. Degasperi’s many achievements include being a two-time world champion, claiming the top spot in 2007 and 2011, and earning two silver medals in 2009 and 2015. Nobody has won more European slalom titles than Degasperi, whose record clocks in at a staggering 10 wins between 2002 and 2023. Throughout two decades of professional skiing, he has been a consistent force on the podium, securing notable victories at the U.S. Masters in 2014 and the Moomba Masters in 2014, 2017, and 2019.

Kris LaPoint Slalom Skiing 1975 Worlds

Kris LaPoint at the 1975 World Championships (Image: Bell Acqua)

6. Kris LaPoint

Comparing skiers across eras is fraught with difficulty and we believe that if LaPoint had more opportunities to participate in professional tournaments during his prime, he would have ranked even higher on this list. As the elder of the LaPoint brothers, Kris displayed incredible skill from a young age. At just 13 years old, he set his first world slalom record and went on to break it six more times throughout his career. In 1972, while still a teenager he won the first-ever cash prize tournament in the U.S., the California International Cup.

LaPoint’s achievements include being a seven-time U.S. Masters slalom champion, with an impressive streak of four consecutive titles from 1970 to 1973. In the 1979 world championships, he secured a 2nd place finish, just behind his brother Bob. Despite the U.S. pro tour beginning when he was already 31 years old, Kris remained a frequent contender, securing victories at tour stops in 1984, 1987, and, finally, in 1992, at the site of his first world record in San Diego, CA. This accomplishment made him the oldest man (39 years old) to win an event on the pro tour and capped off a magnificent career that spanned four decades.

Wade Cox Slalom Water Ski

Image: Ski With Wade

5. Wade Cox

Cox’s achievements become even more impressive when considering he was up against a peak-performing Andy Mapple. While he enjoyed a long and successful career, Cox’s professional pinnacle occurred in 1995 and 1996. He secured the tour championship on the 1995 Budweiser Water Ski Tour (winning 7 out of 11 stops) and the 1996 Café de Columbia Water Ski Tour (winning 5 out of 7 stops), breaking Mapple’s four-year winning streak. Additionally, he claimed consecutive U.S. Masters titles in 1995 and 1996. The only thing that eluded him during this period was the 1995 World Championships, where he finished 3rd, earning his sole world medal. Overall, Cox amassed over 30 professional victories, a truly remarkable feat.

British waterskier William Asher slaloming

Will Asher crushing an offside turn on his Syndicate PRO waterski (Image: Mommer)

4. Will Asher

A dominant force on the professional circuit, Asher has had an impressive 20-year career. In 2003, he made history by winning the inaugural Under 21 World Championships and setting a still unbeaten World Championship record of 3 @ 10.25m (41’ off), making it one of the longest-standing records in the sport (20 years), second only to women’s Ski Fly. He held the prestigious title of no. 1 ranked elite slalom skier in 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012, and recently earned the title of Waterski Pro Tour champion in 2022. With two world championships (2005 and 2009) under his belt, Asher’s career boasts over 30 professional victories, including five U.S. Masters titles, with three consecutive titles from 2008 to 2010, and a Moomba Masters title in 2016.

Bob LaPoint Chairman of the Board

Image: Bob LaPoint (via Facebook)

3. Bob LaPoint

Born and raised in California, Bob LaPoint had the perfect training partner in his older brother Kris. During the first decade of professional water ski tournaments in the U.S., no other skier managed to win a slalom tournament if at least one of the LaPoints was competing. The two brothers took turns winning titles throughout the 1970s, but as the decade came to a close, Bob emerged as the world’s top slalomer. He clinched five world championships (1977, 1979, 1983, 1985, and 1987) and consistently featured on every world championship’s slalom podium from 1975 to 1987.

LaPoint’s prowess extended to the professional circuit. He secured the season tour championship on the inaugural 1984 Coors Light Water Ski Tour. LaPoint was also a five-time U.S. Masters champion (1975, 1976, 1980, 1982, and 1983).

Throughout his career, LaPoint set the world slalom record five times, holding it for a total of seven years during the late seventies and early eighties. His contributions helped advance the record from 4 @ 11.25m (38’ off) to 5 @ 10.75m (39.5’ off). Fondly known as the “Chairman of the Board,” Bob LaPoint’s impact on the sport goes well beyond his on-water achievements. He is celebrated as both a pioneer and a legend of water skiing.

Nate Smith breaks slalom world record behind the record-setting Ski Nautique 200 (Image: Aaron Katen)

2. Nate Smith

The softly-spoken Indiana native is a controversial figure in world water skiing. Regardless of one’s feelings about the allegations of sexual misconduct, there is no denying that Smith is one of the most dominant athletes our sport has ever seen. Smith’s slalom skills exhibit a metronomic precision and efficiency, allowing him to run 10.75m (39.5’ off) with unparalleled consistency. Impressively, he has run 10.25m (41’ off) more than all other skiers combined.

Holding the world slalom record for over a decade, Smith has been the undisputed force on the professional circuit for the last ten years, securing victory in over 60 professional events, including a recently concluded streak of 27 wins in a row. With three world championship titles (2013, 2015, and 2021), six U.S. Masters championships (including four consecutive titles from 2015 to 2018), and six Moomba Masters championships (including three consecutive titles from 2020 to 2023), his record is nothing short of remarkable. Perhaps the most frightening aspect is that he shows no signs of slowing down.

GOAT Andy Mapple Slalom Skiing

Mapple competing in Surrey in 1999 (Image: The Times)

1. Andy Mapple

The indisputable GOAT. A lanky Brit who revolutionized our sport, amassing a legendary career spanning over 20 years. It is estimated that he secured a staggering total of 168 professional event victories. With nine world slalom record-setting or tying performances, he dominated the record books for an astounding sixteen and a half years. His contributions propelled the record from 5 @ 10.75m (39.5’ off) to 1 @ 9.75m (43’ off). Notably, he clinched six world championship titles (1981, 1989, and four consecutive titles from 1995 to 2001) and missed the podium only once between 1981 and 2001.

In the late 80s and throughout the 90s, Mapple’s dominance was unrivaled on the U.S. Pro tour, claiming the season tour champion title in 1987, 1989, four consecutive years from 1991 to 1994, and an impressive five consecutive years from 1997 to 2001. Additionally, he reigned as the U.S. Masters champion 14 times, enjoying five-year (1997-2001) and four-year (1984-1988) winning streaks. He was also a 12-time champion at his self-proclaimed favorite event – the Moomba Masters. Mapple has left an indelible mark on the sport that will stand the test of time.

Honorable Mentions:

Mike Suyderhoud

While his greatest achievements came in the jump event (he was the first man to jump 50m), Suyderhoud was also an excellent slalomer. Competing in the pre-professional era, he claimed the title of world slalom champion in 1971 and earned bronze medals in 1967 and 1975. Additionally, Suyderhoud secured back-to-back Moomba Masters slalom titles in the late 60s.

George Athans

Hailing from Canada, the two-time world overall champion, excelled particularly in slalom. His overall victories were propelled by a slalom silver in 1971 and a slalom gold in 1973.

Sacha Descuns, Corey Vaughan, and Brian Detrick

These three men are all members of the exclusive 10.25m (41-off) club.

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