Greatest Overall Skiers of All Time

The 10 Greatest Women’s Overall Skiers of All Time, Ranked

Rankings

The 10 greatest women’s overall skiers of all time, ranked

Greatest Overall Skiers of All Time

Ranking the best female overall skiers of all time.

By RTB

Top 10 Rankings


Finally, we wrap up the series with the overall event, honoring some of the true legends of the sport. In this domain where versatility is key, these athletes stand out from the crowd. While calling someone the “greatest athlete” is a matter of opinion, here, we explore the incredible journeys of those who haven’t just achieved excellence but have mastered three distinct disciplines—slalom, trick, and jump—earning them the title of the sport’s greatest overall skiers.

These individuals haven’t just succeeded; they’ve gone beyond what was thought possible. Our journey takes us from the early pioneers through the sport’s golden age in the 1990s to today’s modern day greats. Along the way, we dive into each skier’s successes and challenges. These overall skiers represent the pinnacle of the sport, demonstrating unmatched athleticism and skill across all aspects of water skiing.

‘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 female overall skiers 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!

Kaye Thurlow at the 1969 World Water Ski Championships

Kaye Thurlow receives her Australian team blazer for the 1969 World Championships in Denmark (image: VINTAGE WATER SKI PHOTOS)

10. Kaye Thurlow Faulkner

Representing Australia in five consecutive World Championships from 1967 to 1975, she earned eight medals across trick, jump, and overall, including two bronze medals in the latter event. Additionally, Kaye competed in the water skiing demonstration at the 1972 Munich Olympics, securing runner-up finishes in trick and jump.

Virtually unbeatable at the Moomba Masters, she secured an incredible 20 titles on the Yarra River, including eight titles in her favored overall event. Kaye deservedly makes this list as the most dominant skier in the only professional event of her era.

Whitney McClintock slalom skiing at 2017 Moomba Masters

McClintock won an incredible eight consecutive Moomba Masters slalom titles from 2011 to 2019 (image: @desburkekennedy)

9. Whitney McClintock Rini

Between 2009 and 2019, Whitney achieved remarkable success with two World Championship overall titles and two runner-up finishes. Her impressive collection at the World Championships includes 10 medals, with five of them being gold, spanning slalom, trick, and overall.

Excellent as a junior, Whitney secured multiple junior world championships, including an under-17 overall title and back-to-back under-21 overall titles. Despite her exceptional skills, she faced the unfortunate circumstance of never having the opportunity to compete in a professional overall tournament throughout her career.

World Champion Cindy Todd

Todd’s comeback season in 1975 was an almost instant success (image: VINTAGE WATER SKI PHOTOS)

8. Cindy Todd

Between 1977 and 1983, the Florida transplant secured an incredible seven World Championship titles spanning slalom, jump, and overall, with back-to-back victories in the overall category in 1977 and 1979.

Cindy’s dominance extended to the U.S. Masters, where she asserted herself as a four-time overall champion. Stepping into the void left by Liz Allan’s retirement, Todd claimed three consecutive titles from 1976 to 1978. Her supremacy wasn’t limited to a singular discipline; across slalom, jump, and overall, Cindy clinched a total of eight titles at the Masters, solidifying her reputation as one of the greatest skiers of her era.

Willa Worthington's father taught her to water ski on Oswego Lake in 1942 when she was 14.

Willa Worthington’s father taught her to water ski on Oswego Lake in 1942 when she was 14.

7. Willa Worthington

Water skiing’s first ever world champion, Willa came agonizingly close to sweeping a World Championships, winning slalom, jump, and overall and finishing runner-up in tricks at the inaugural event in 1949. She would go on to win a total of 14 World Championships medals, eight of them gold. At her last World Championships in 1955, she narrowly missed the clean sweep again, repeating her placements from the first event. 

At the U.S. Nationals she won nine overall titles, losing only once from 1946 to 1955. Three times she clean swept the competition, winning all four gold medals. In total, she was a 29-time U.S. National women’s champion, unmatched by any skier to this day. 

The only reason she is not placed higher on this list is because of the difficulty in gauging performances from this far in the past. While she was incredibly dominant, the women’s field was often thin in the 1940s and 1950s, with only three women competing at the inaugural World Championships. 

Natallia Berdnikava Water Ski Champion

Berdnikava held the world trick, jump, and overall records throughout her career (image: @natiski200)

6. Natallia Berdnikava

With an impressive tally of ten World Championship medals earned between 2007 and 2017, Natallia Berdnikava stands as one of the most formidable figures in water skiing. Her crowning achievement unfolded at the 2011 World Championships in Dubna, Russia, where she achieved an extraordinary sweep in women’s trick, jump, and overall events. This remarkable feat laid the foundation for Belarus’ team victory, securing its place as only the fourth nation to claim that prestigious title.

Despite limited opportunities to compete professionally in overall competitions throughout her career, Natallia clinched the 2018 Latrobe City International. Regarded among the greatest trickers and jumpers of all time, she has emerged as one of the dominant athletes in the 21st century.

A trailblazer in the sport, Natallia still holds the distinction of being the highest-scoring female of all time. She has broken the world overall record three times, maintaining her grip on it since 2012, making it one of the longest-standing records in the sport.

Elena Milakova trick skiing

Elena Thomsen-Milakova excelled in trick, jump, and overall (image: Swiss Waterski & Wake)

5. Elena Milakova

The Russian dominated the sport at the turn of the century, clinching three consecutive world overall titles from 1997 to 2001. Throughout her career, she amassed a total of nine World Championship medals, demonstrating her skills across the trick, jump, and overall events.

Her other major achievements include overall victories at the 1999 U.S. Masters and 2001 World Games, underlining her consistent excellence on the international stage. During a remarkable run of form in 2001, Elena broke the world overall record three times. This incredible feat included setting new records in both the preliminary and final rounds of the European Championships.

Waterski champion Karen Bowkett Neville

Karen and her husband Mick made up one of the sport’s greatest duos through the 1980s (image: VINTAGE WATER SKI PHOTOS)

4. Karen Bowkett Neville

The standard-bearer for Australia’s golden generation, Karen graced the overall podium in four consecutive World Championships from 1985 to 1991 and claimed the top spot twice. Her instrumental role in the Australian team led to three consecutive second-place finishes from 1985 to 1989, bringing them on the cusp of dethroning the United States’ decades-long reign. Her remarkable achievements include breaking Deena Brush Mapple’s four-year winning streak in 1989 to secure the U.S. Masters overall title, and she added another feather to her cap by winning the U.S. Open in 1991.

Karen dominated the Moomba Masters throughout the late 1980s, securing eight overall titles between 1984 and her retirement in 1993. Her remarkable tally of 20 titles across all four disciplines places her on par with Kaye Thurlow Faulkner as the most successful skier in the history of the Moomba Masters. Karen’s outstanding achievements in water skiing became a source of national pride, leading to her recognition as the Australian Sportswoman of the Year in 1985.

Deena Brush Mapple at the U.S. Masters

The Queen of Water Skiing (image: VINTAGE WATER SKI PHOTOS)

3. Deena Brush Mapple

From 1979 to 1989, the Sacramento native played a pivotal role in guiding the U.S. Team to an impressive seven consecutive World Championship team titles, showcasing her consistency by only missing the overall podium twice during this period. Following two runner-up finishes and a bronze, she solidified her legacy by claiming back-to-back world overall titles in 1987 and 1989. Her illustrious career boasts a total of 15 World Championship medals, spanning slalom, jump, and overall events, with an impressive six golds.

Renowned as one of the most dominant skiers in the history of the U.S. Masters, Deena secured a remarkable 20 titles across slalom, jump, and overall, with 14 of them earned after the Masters became professional in 1985. Her prowess in women’s overall was particularly noteworthy, experiencing only one loss between 1985 and 1993 on Robin Lake. Similarly, at the U.S. Open, she won four consecutive overall titles from 1987 to 1990, before taking the 1991 season off for the birth of her first child.

Deena stands as the sole female athlete to simultaneously hold the world slalom and jump records. Among her many accomplishments, the Grand Slam Victory in 1987 stands out, securing overall wins at the World Championships, U.S. Nationals, U.S. Masters, and the Pro Tour—a feat only matched by one other athlete. Known fondly as the ‘Queen of Water Skiing,’ Deena’s achievements place her among the greatest of all time.

World Champion Liz Allan

Liz Allan revolutionized women’s jumping through the 1960s and 70s (image: VINTAGE WATER SKI PHOTOS)

2. Liz Allan

At just 14 years old, the American phenom announced her arrival on the global stage by becoming only the second woman to jump 100 feet. In that same remarkable year, she clinched her inaugural world titles, seizing gold in both the jump and overall events.

Liz’s dominance in water skiing is unparalleled, as evidenced by her incredible tally of 15 World Championship medals between 1965 and 1975, boasting an impressive 11 golds—the highest count by any skier in history. Notably, she stands alone as the only skier to secure World Championships in all four disciplines: slalom, trick, jump, and overall, winning the latter event three times throughout her illustrious career.

In 1969, at the age of 18, Liz showcased near invincibility, very nearly effecting a clean sweep across all three events and overall at the U.S. Masters, U.S. Nationals, and World Championships. Her sole defeat that season came in slalom at the Masters. Liz’s dominance at her peak has yet to be surpassed by any other skier.

Her legacy extends to the U.S. Masters, where she reigns as the most successful skier in its storied history. Liz secured a staggering 24 titles, including an unmatched nine overall titles, with only one loss between 1966 and 1975. Liz’s extraordinary accomplishments reached their peak before she made the decision to retire from top-level competition at the remarkably young age of 24.

Regina Jaquess at the 2015 Malibu Cup

Jaquess is arguably the greatest water skier of all time, male or female (image: @regina_jaquess)

1. Regina Jaquess

Displaying exceptional talent from a young age, Regina Jaquess received her inaugural invitation to the Junior Masters at the tender age of 12. At 16, she nearly achieved a clean sweep at the Under-17 World Championships, securing victories in slalom, jump, and overall, only stumbling in the trick final, despite posting the highest score of the tournament in the preliminary round.

Undeterred, Regina clinched her first open world title in the trick event the following year at 17. She continued her dominance into the first two editions of the Under-21 World Championships, amassing a total of six gold medals. Her illustrious career includes five world overall championships, with back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2005, and an impressive three consecutive titles from 2013 to 2017. In total, Regina boasts 19 World Championship medals across slalom, trick, jump, and overall, securing 10 golds. A record-breaker, she has broken the world overall record four times and holds the World Championship tournament record.

Regina’s prowess extends to the Pan American Games, where she is a three-time overall champion, triumphing in 2011, 2019, and the most recent victory in 2023. Her outstanding performance in Chile last year, clinching gold in slalom, jump, and overall, earned her a nomination as the female athlete of the games.

Despite her remarkable achievements, Regina has faced a scarcity of opportunities to compete in professional overall tournaments, her career coinciding with a two-decade drought of events. Nonetheless, she made her mark by winning tricks and overall at the 2002 U.S. Open as an 18-year-old. In recent years, she has reached the podium on the WWS Overall Tour, reaffirming her enduring excellence in water skiing.

Honorable Mentions:

Clementine Lucine

While Clem may be best remembered as the first woman to trick 10,000 points, she boasts an impressive collection of eight World Championships medals, with four earned in overall competitions from 2003 to 2013. Her crowning achievement came in 2007 when she stood atop the podium in both the trick and overall events. Notably, she held the overall world record for an impressive five years, breaking it twice in 2004 and 2006.

Rhoni Barton Bischoff

While Rhoni could never secure top honors at the World Championships, she earned four medals, including back-to-back bronzes in the overall event in 1999 and 2001. On the professional circuit she was a two-time U.S. Masters overall champion and multiple-time U.S. Open champion. Making history, Rhoni became the first-ever world record holder in the overall category when the IWWF started recording records in the late 1990s.

Judy McClintock Messer

Between 1985 and 1995, Judy featured on the World Championships overall podium five times, finally clinching the coveted gold in 1995. She emerged as the backbone of the Canadian team, playing a pivotal role in their groundbreaking victories during the 1990s.

Ana-Maria Carrasco

Despite her greatest achievements coming in tricks, Ana-Maria secured a world overall title in 1983, alongside two runner up finishes throughout the 1980s. Throughout the decade, Carrasco consistently performed at an elite level, claiming gold in overall and trick at the inaugural World Games in 1981, and earning a U.S. Masters overall title in 1984.

Karin Roberge Woodson

The first Roberge to make their mark on the world stage, Karin secured back-to-back U.S. Masters overall titles in 1979 and 1980. She then claimed the title of world overall champion in 1981, showcasing her skills with podium finishes in both the slalom and trick events. Throughout the 1980s, she continued to shine, adding three consecutive Moomba Masters overall titles to her career achievements.

Giannina Bonnemann Mechler and Hanna Straltsova

These two young stars have been at the forefront of women’s overall for the last few seasons and are beginning to post scores that could threaten Berdnikava’s longstanding world record.

Greatest Overall Skiers of All Time

The 10 Greatest Men’s Overall Skiers of All Time, Ranked

Rankings

The 10 greatest men’s overall skiers of all time, ranked

Greatest Overall Skiers of All Time

Ranking the best male overall skiers of all time.

By RTB

Top 10 Rankings


Finally, we turn to the overall event, where we celebrate the true giants of the sport. In a realm where versatility reigns supreme, these athletes stand head and shoulders above the rest. The term “greatest athlete” is subjective, but here, we explore the remarkable careers of those who have not only achieved excellence but have conquered three distinct disciplines – slalom, trick, and jump – earning them the title of the sport’s greatest overall skiers.

These individuals have not just excelled; they’ve transcended the boundaries of what was thought possible. From the early pioneers, through the discipline’s professional peak in the 1990s, to the modern-day resurgence, our journey takes us through each skiers triumphs and tribulations. These overall skiers represent the pinnacle of the sport, demonstrating unmatched athleticism and finesse across the spectrum of water skiing events.

‘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 overall skiers 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!

Kreg Llewellyn Trick Skiing

Llewellyn competes at the 1999 World Championships in Milan, Italy.

10. Kreg Llewellyn

One of the first men to break 10,000 points in trick skiing, Kreg, the elder of the renowned Llewellyn brothers, was an incredibly well-rounded skier. The sole athlete in the professional era to secure World Championship medals across all four disciplines (slalom, trick, jump, and overall), Kreg played a pivotal role on the Canadian team during their groundbreaking victories in the 1990s. At the 1991 World Championships in Austria he not only secured medals in trick and jump but also finished as the runner-up in overall. Llewellyn’s margin of defeat was the tightest ever seen in the sport, with Patrice Martin claiming victory by a mere 0.2 overall points.

His performances laid the foundation for Canada’s inaugural victory in the teams competition, the first time the U.S. lost the title in the history of the tournament. Although he never quite clinched top honors, he achieved runner-up placements in men’s overall again in 1997, along with a bronze in 1999. His professional achievements include victories at the U.S. Open, U.S. Masters, and Moomba Masters.

Siemers poses next to his photo on the USA Water Ski Museum

Siemers poses next to his photo in the USA Water Ski Museum (image: @jimmy_siemers)

9. Jimmy Siemers

An exceptionally talented skier from an early age, the Texan prodigy demonstrated his prowess by clinching victories in tricks, jump, and overall at the 1998 U17 World Championships. In a remarkable feat, at the age of just 18 in 2000, he broke the world overall record, bringing an end to Patrice Martin’s nine-year reign as the world’s number one ranked overall skier. His dominance continued at the inaugural U21 World Championships in 2003, where he triumphed again in tricks, jump, and overall. Later the same year, he came tantalizingly close to replicating these achievements at the Open World Championships, securing wins in tricks and overall, along with a runner-up finish in jump. Siemers would then go back-to-back, winning a second overall world title in 2005.

However, Siemers’ ascent to the pinnacle of the sport coincided with the decline of professional overall tournaments. Unfortunately, 2000 marked the final year of overall competition at the U.S. and Moomba Masters, while the U.S. Open continued until 2003. His lone professional victory in the discipline came at the 2002 U.S. Open. Ahead of his time, it would take nearly two decades for another skier to match his incredible feat of scoring over 12,000 points in trick skiing and jumping over 70 meters (230 feet).

Joel Poland performs a Raley on his Radar trick ski

Image: @radarskis

8. Joel Poland

After securing bronze at the 2019 World Championships in both jump and overall, Poland found another gear, breaking the world overall record in 2021 before winning one of the greatest overall battles in the sport’s history against Dorien Llewellyn and taking the world record back off Llewellyn in the process.

Dominant on the WWS Overall Tour, Poland emerged victorious as tour champion after an epic season long battle with Dorien Llewellyn and Louis Duplan-Fribourg in 2022, including one memorable tour stop where he won on all borrowed equipment. He followed up with an undefeated season in 2023, winning the final stop in style by breaking his own world record. After an early fall in the trick event at the 2023 World Championships, Poland was written off in the overall event before he produced the statement performance of the tournament the following day by running 10.25m (41’ off) for the first time to secure himself a runner up finish in the overall.

A quadruple threat, Poland is capable of winning events in slalom, tricks, jump, or overall as a member of the three most exclusive clubs in the sport; the 10.25m (41’ off), 70 meter (230’), and 12,000 point clubs. He stands as only the second man this century to secure podium finishes across all three disciplines at professional events. If Poland is able to maintain his current trajectory we expect him to finish his career much higher on this list.

Adam Sedlmajer Slalom Skiing

Image: @tiaremirandaphotography

7. Adam Sedlmajer

The first of a new generation of overall skiers, Sedlmajer’s foundation for success rested upon his slalom skills. Demonstrating remarkable versatility, he held the distinction, until last year, of being the sole male skier in the 21st century to secure podium placements across all three disciplines in professional tournaments. During his peak years, Sedlmajer dominated the World Championships, clinching two world overall titles and two runner-up finishes, showcasing his prowess at the only elite competition for overall skiers.

It’s one of the greatest tragedies of our sport that a skier of Sedlmajer’s calibre was given so few opportunities to showcase his talents. One poignant example is when he was left out of the invite list for the 2016 U.S. Masters, despite being the reigning world overall champion and the world’s number one ranked overall skier. Unfazed, he proceeded to claim victory in the U.S. Open slalom event later that year.

In 2017, Sedlmajer broke Jaret Llewellyn’s longstanding world overall record, a record that had remained unbroken since 2002. What adds to the remarkable nature of this accomplishment is the fact that he achieved this under the rules established almost two decades earlier, rules that significantly undervalued slalom in comparison to today’s standards.

Chuck Stearns jumps at the 1961 World Championships in Long Beach, California

Chuck Stearns jumps at the 1961 World Championships in Long Beach, California (image: HSLB)

6. Chuck Stearns

Water skiing’s first ever superstar, Stearns was a household name across America during the 1960s. From 1957 to 1967, he clinched an astonishing 11 World Championships medals across all four disciplines, still one of only a handful of skiers to earn medals in slalom, tricks, jump and overall to this day. At the 1959 World Championships in Milan, he claimed the men’s overall title.

The first man to dominate at the U.S. Masters, Stearns secured overall victory four times from 1960 to 1965. Additionally, he was among the first Americans to receive an invitation to the Moomba Masters, the world’s only professional competition at the time. Stearns won the overall event on his debut visit in 1963 and followed up with an incredible showing in 1966, where he emerged victorious in the slalom, jump, and overall categories.

A truly versatile athlete, Stearns is the only skier in history to simultaneously hold top positions in both tournament skiing and ski racing. He boasts a remarkable record in the latter sport, being a 10-time winner of the Grand National Catalina Ski Race and setting the drag racing speed record at over 120 miles per hour. In an era when most competitive water skiers retired young, Stearns’ strict fitness regimen allowed him to remain at the pinnacle of the sport for over two decades.

Mike Suyderhoud takes a crash at the Cal Cup in Berkeley, CA

Suyderhoud takes a spill at the Cal Cup in Berkeley, CA (image: Gary Warren)

5. Mike Suyderhoud

The son of a rags-to-riches Dutch immigrant, who had served in the underground resistance during the Nazi occupation, Mike inherited his father’s tenacity and channeled it into water skiing as a young man. At 17 years old, he won his first of five World Championships, and by 18, he had set his first of three world jump records.

Suyderhoud helped the U.S. Team secure five World Championships team titles from 1967 to 1977, accumulating a total of 11 individual medals. His achievements included consecutive overall victories in 1967 and 1969, a runner-up finish (bolstered by golds in slalom and jump) in 1971, and a bronze in 1975. Domestically, he became a U.S. Masters overall champion, finally clinching the title in 1973 after six consecutive years of either second or third-place finishes. Furthermore, he claimed five consecutive overall titles at the U.S. Nationals from 1968 to 1972. Suyderhoud also achieved back-to-back victories in slalom, jump, and overall at the Moomba Masters during his visits to Melbourne. His remarkable career featured triumphs in every major tournament of his era.

World Overall Champion Mike Hazelwood

Image: Yvon le Gall

4. Mike Hazelwood

Following his triumph in the men’s overall at the 1977 World Championships, Hazelwood was a constant presence on the podium for the next six years, securing back-to-back runner-up finishes in 1981 and 1983. While jump skiing undoubtedly stood as his strongest event, Hazelwood’s versatility was exceptional, earning him membership in the exclusive club of skiers to secure World Championship medals in all four events, totaling an impressive count of 10 medals.

Within Europe, Hazelwood claimed an incredible eight consecutive European Championships titles in overall from 1976 to 1983. Furthermore, he is one of only four men to win European Championships in all four events. A fierce competitor in all conditions, Hazelwood’s tenacity shone through as he secured four consecutive overall titles at the U.S. Masters from 1978 to 1981 and an impressive five consecutive Moomba titles from 1977 to 1981. His victory list extended to every major overall tournament across the globe, solidifying his legacy as a true champion of water skiing.

Sammy Duvall water ski jumping

Duvall held No. 1 world ranking in either jump or overall for eleven consecutive seasons from 1983 to 1993.

3. Sammy Duvall

Duvall’s first major victory in overall came as a 19-year-old at the inaugural World Games in 1981, where he won gold in jump and overall. Notably, Duvall remains the sole skier with a perfect undefeated record in overall at the World Championships. He secured four consecutive overall titles from 1981 to 1987, before retiring from amateur competition following the 1987 World Championships. Duvall’s contributions were not limited to individual achievements; he played a pivotal role in the United States’ dominance in the teams competition throughout the 1980s, successfully repelling strong challenges from Australia during that decade.

Among his numerous accolades, Duvall stands as one of only two men to attain three U.S. Masters titles in a single year, with four of his impressive tally of 13 U.S. Masters titles coming in the overall event. His prowess extended to the Moomba Masters, where he secured four overall titles, including three consecutive victories from 1984 to 1986. As a U.S. Open overall champion as well, Sammy’s exceptional talents were on full display in an era predating official world records. For six consecutive years, from 1983 to 1988, he reigned as the number one ranked overall skier in the world. His scores in his final season as the world’s best, including 4@11.25m (38′ off), 8,600 points, and 61.7m (202′), would have undoubtedly set the mark had official records existed at that time.

Canadian Jaret Llewellyn still walking on water at age 45

Canadian Jaret Llewellyn still walking on water at age 45 (image: Bernard Weil)

2. Jaret Llewellyn

A late bloomer in the jump event, Llewellyn’s initial success came in tricks when he won the inaugural Junior World Championships in 1986. It would take him until age 20 in 1990 to jump 50 meters (164 feet), but within two years he was jumping over 200 feet and broke his first world jump record at the U.S. Masters in 1992.

No man can match Llewellyn’s 16 World Championships medals, with majority of these coming in the overall event where he finished on the podium nine times between 1991 and 2015. His breakout performance as a 21-year-old at the 1991 World Championships was particularly memorable, as he and his older brother Kreg picked up the overall bronze and silver respectively, leading Canada to teams victory. Across his career he was up against a peak performing Patrice Martin, then Jimmy Siemers, and finally Adam Sedlmajer, and was unlucky to only finish on top of the World Championship podium twice in 2001 and 2007. He broke the world record twice, with his final record of 5@11.25m (38’ off), 10,730, and 71.7 meters (235’) standing for an incredible 14 years, 7 months, making it the longest standing world record of all time.

On the professional circuit he was a five-time U.S. Masters overall champion. In 1996, he ended the Neville family’s stranglehold on overall at the Moomba Masters and would go on to dominate the event through the late nineties. He was also a two-time U.S. Open overall champion. Unfortunately for Llewellyn, the industry turned away from overall right at the peak of his career and the event was eliminated from legacy events such as the U.S. Masters, Moomba, and U.S. Open in the early 2000s. Fittingly, he has spearheaded the WWS Overall Tour in recent years, heralding a resurgence for the discipline.

Le Petit Prince of Water Skiing

Martin is one of the finest achievements in French sport (image: Graine de Sport)

1. Patrice Martin

Known as “Le Petit Prince,” this French prodigy burst onto the water skiing scene as a teenager, securing his first World Championships victory in tricks at just 15 years old in 1979. Initially specializing in trick skiing, he gradually mastered all three disciplines throughout the 1980s and, by the decade’s end, had risen to the pinnacle of the sport.

His extraordinary collection of 10 World Championships gold medals is only exceeded by Liz Allan on the women’s side. Immovable from the top of the podium, his winning streak of six consecutive World Championships in overall from 1989 to 1999 is the longest in our sport across any discipline. The most decorated skier in the history of the World Games, Martin clinched six golds, one silver, and one bronze from 1981 to 2001. Finally claiming gold in overall at the twilight of his career when it was reintroduced after a 20-year absence at the 2001 event. Within Europe he was virtually unstoppable, winning a total of 30 European Championship golds across slalom, trick, and overall, including nine overall titles spanning from 1984 to 2001, matching Hazelwood’s record.

On the professional circuit, he proved his mettle as a Moomba Masters champion, securing the overall title five times at the U.S. Masters and reigning supreme in the U.S. Open during the 1990s, with six consecutive titles from 1992 to 1997. Even though his two strongest events, tricks and overall, were not part of the pro tour, Martin remained a regular contender, even clinching a tour stop victory in slalom in 1996, edging out formidable opponents like Andy Mapple and Wade Cox. His reign as the number one ranked overall skier in the world spanned nine consecutive seasons, from 1991 to 1999. When the IWWF began recording world overall records in the mid-1990s, Martin was the first holder and broke the record three times throughout his illustrious career. His final record, set in 2001, of 4@10.75m (39.5’ off), 11,550 points, and 62.5 meters (205’), remains a highly competitive score in the sport to this day.

Honorable Mentions:

Dorien Llewellyn

Sport can be cruel, and it’s not hard to imagine a world in which Llewellyn emerges victorious at a few additional tournaments, avoids injury, retains the world record, and ends up ahead of Poland on this list. After breaking the overall world record a month earlier, he finished 2nd in overall, winning the tricks, at the 2021 World Championships. Llewellyn’s other major victories include the 2019 and 2023 Pan American Games, the 2018 Latrobe City Invitational, and multiple stops on the WWS Overall Tour.

Felipe Miranda

The Chilean won the world overall title at his home site in 2013 and backed it up with a second title in challenging conditions at the 2017 Paris World Championships. ‘Pipe’ is also a Pan American Games overall champion and won the 2017 Latrobe City Invitational.

Javier Julio

The Argentinian secured five medals in men’s overall between 2001 and 2013, including a gold medal in 2009, and finished his career with three years as the number one ranked overall skier from 2009 to 2011 and gold at the 2011 Pan American Games.

Bruce Neville

Although primarily known as a jumper, he clinched an impressive five consecutive Moomba Masters overall titles from 1991 to 1995, matching Hazelwood’s record.

Carl Roberge

A three-time overall champion at all three major professional tournaments of his era, Roberge had great success at the Moomba Masters, U.S. Masters, and U.S. Open. While never claiming the highest honors, he finished on four consecutive overall podiums at the World Championships from 1983 to 1989, including finishing second to Patrice Martin by a margin of only 6 overall points in 1989.

Mick Neville

Despite finishing on the podium at the World Championships eight times between 1981 and 1987, Mick could never quite claim the gold. He lost two of the tightest ever overall battles to Sammy Duvall in 1985 and 1987, with the margin less than 25 overall points each time. He did manage overall victories at both the U.S. and Moomba Masters.

Ricky McCormick

Featured on the podium in at least one discipline at every World Championships from 1967 to 1975, including medals in all four disciplines and runner-up finishes in overall in 1973 and 1975. McCormick won three Moomba Masters overall titles. Additionally, four of his 13 U.S. Masters titles came in overall, and he joins Sammy Duvall as the only other man to win three titles in a single year.

George Athans and Alfredo Mendoza

Both of these men deserve recognition as two-time world overall champions.

The 10 Greatest Women’s Trick Skiers of All Time, Ranked

Rankings

The 10 Greatest Women’s Trick Skiers of All Time, Ranked

Ranking the best female trickers of all time.

By RTB

Top 10 Rankings


Within the dynamic realm of trick skiing, a select group of female athletes have etched their names into the annals of the sport’s history. With a blend of unmatched performances on grand stages, record-shattering feats, and an unwavering commitment to their craft, these remarkable skiers have woven an unforgettable narrative. This article embarks on a journey through the rankings of trick skiing’s finest, illuminating their accomplishments and profound impact on the sport. Each woman’s extraordinary voyage and unparalleled achievements have solidified their positions as revered icons in the realm of trick skiing.

‘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 female trick skiers 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!

Natalia Berdinakava performing a ski line trick

Image: Tiare Miranda

10. Natallia Berdnikava

Legend has it that a young Natallia was waiting in line to swim laps as part of her competitive swim training when she accidentally wandered into the shorter queue for cable trick skiing. After successfully getting up on her first attempt, the coach noticed her potential and pulled her into the Belarusian water ski program, setting her on a trajectory that would significantly alter the course of her life.

Although jump and overall were arguably her strongest events, Natalia picked up four World Championships trick medals between 2007 and 2017, including a runner-up finish in 2007 and being crowned world champion in 2011. She won the 2017 World Games, two U.S. Masters trick titles, and four Moomba Masters trick titles, including three consecutive victories from 2010 to 2012. She was the first woman to score 9,000 points in trick skiing, breaking the world record three times and coming agonizingly close to 10,000 with a personal best of 9,990 points.

Clementine Lucine is the IWSF 2007 Female Athlete of the Year (image: IWSF)

9. Clementine Lucine

In 2011, the Frenchwoman made history by becoming the first woman to trick 10,000 points. This achievement was the culmination of a long and fruitful career. As a junior, she clinched trick and overall titles at the 1998 U17 World Championships. She continued her success, winning a total of eight medals at the Open World Championships between 2003 and 2013.

Clem broke the world record four times throughout her career. She picked up three World Championships medals in trick skiing, with her greatest success coming in 2007 when she won both the tricks and overall disciplines. She also won a U.S. Masters in 2006, a Moomba Masters in 2009, and the World Games in 2013. Clem had the benefit of her professional peak coinciding with the IWWF World Cup era, winning six world cup stops between 2005 and 2013, with a winning percentage of just over 33%.

Ana Maria Carrasco

Image: anamariacarrasco.com

8. Ana Maria Carrasco

The youngest of the legendary Carrasco sisters from Venezuela, Ana Maria featured on eight World Championship podiums between 1979 and 1989, including clinching the world trick title in 1981 and the world overall title in 1983. In total, she picked up four World Championships medals in the trick event. Competing at the inaugural World Games in 1981, she won took gold in tricks and overall. Ana Maria was also a four-time U.S. Masters champion, including three trick titles. She broke the world trick record five times through the 1980s, becoming the first woman to score 8,000 points in 1984. Ahead of her time in the trick event, her top score of 8,350 would only be exceeded by a handful of women over the next two decades.

Image: @juanborrelli

7. Maria Victoria Carrasco

It’s easy to forget that during the 1970s, Venezuela was one of the most dominant forces in world water skiing, only narrowly losing to the United States in the team competition in 1977, with the world record holders Maria Victoria and Carlos Suarez winning both trick titles.

Maria Victoria made history by winning three consecutive World Championships from 1973 to 1977, becoming the first woman to achieve this feat in any discipline. Her prowess extended to the U.S. Masters, where she clinched victory three times. Throughout the 1970s, she broke the world record on four occasions, maintaining her hold on the record for nearly the entire decade. A pioneer of the sport, she significantly elevated the standard of women’s tricking from 4,000 points to her final record of 5,880 points in 1979.

A 20-year Career of Consistent Trick Runs (image: USA-WWF)

6. Britt Larsen-Kovak

It feels almost cruel to separate the identical twins, especially when they were inducted into the IWWF Hall of Fame as a joint entry in 2009. Although not quite ascending to the same extraordinary heights as her sister, Britt showcased remarkable prowess in trick skiing, forming one half of the most dominant trick skiing duo in the sport’s history. The twins frequently performed nearly identical trick runs, with victory often hinging on their precision and speed of execution.

Britt featured on every World Championships podium from 1989 to 1999, earning two coveted gold medals in 1993 and 1997. Her achievements also included triumphs in three out of four stops on the short-lived 1987 U.S. Grand Prix of Water Skiing, along with four U.S. Open championships. During the mid-1990s, Britt had an exceptional run of form, edging ahead of her sister to secure a three-year consecutive streak of U.S. Masters victories from 1993 to 1995 and a 1994 Moomba Masters win.

Natalia Rumjantseva

Natalia Rumjantseva at the 1981 World Championships (image: Youtube)

5. Natalia Rumjantseva

Being a Soviet Union skier during the height of the Cold War, Natalia faced restricted opportunities to compete on the global stage, mostly limited to the World Championships. Despite these limitations, her intense rivalry with Ana Maria Carrasco throughout the 1980s significantly propelled the advancement of women’s trick skiing. From 1979 to 1993, Natalia secured three World Championships trick titles and achieved runner-up positions on three additional occasions. Notably, she broke the world record five times between 1979 and 1984, distinguishing herself as the first woman to surpass both the 6,000 and 7,000-point marks.

Had she been afforded the chance to participate in events like the U.S. and Moomba Masters, there is little doubt that Natalia could have secured an even higher position on this list.

Anna Gay

Image: UA News Center

4. Anna Gay

With a water ski pedigree that proudly boasts two U.S. National Champion trick skiers as parents, Anna was always destined for greatness. She ascended to the summit of the elite ranks in 2015, securing victories at the U.S. Open and the World Championships. This accomplishment was followed by an undefeated season in 2016, where she claimed triumphs at the Moomba Masters, U.S. Masters, and successfully defended her U.S. Open title. As the pinnacle of her achievements that year, she broke the world record, a feat she would replicate once more and uphold for two years.

Anna’s accolades also include consecutive U17 World Championships in 2014 and 2016, along with successive U21 World Championships in 2017 and 2019, culminating in an overall victory at the latter competition. In aggregate, she is a three-time open world champion, a two-time U.S. Masters and Moomba Masters champion, and stands among a select group of three women who have achieved trick scores surpassing 11,000 points.

Still in her early 20s, Anna has the potential to ascend even higher on this list if she continues her current trajectory.

Mandy Nightingale competing at an IWWF World Cup Stop in Changshu, China

Mandy Nightingale competing at an IWWF World Cup Stop in Changshu, China (image: IWSF)

3. Mandy Nightingale

The most dominant female tricker during the golden era of professional trick skiing. Her first major victory came at the 1994 U17 World Championships. However, it was in the 2000s that she ascended to the pinnacle of the elite ranks.

She clinched consecutive World Championships in 2003 and 2005, maintaining a presence on every World Championship podium from 2003 to 2007. Mandy was also a four-time U.S. Open champion and triumphed at the U.S. Masters in 2003 and 2005. In 2006, she broke Tawn Larsen’s seemingly unbeatable world trick record, which had endured for seven years, making it the longest-standing women’s trick record. Perhaps most remarkably, during the period when women’s tricking boasted the largest cash prizes, Mandy emerged victorious in over 50% of IWWF World Cup stops between 2005 and 2009, finishing on the podium in all but two World Cup stops she competed in.

Erika Lang

Image: Camaro

2. Erika Lang

A top-level competitive gymnast during her teenage years, the Arizona native exhibited her remarkable talent from an early age. Erika had a golden run in 2013, clinching victory in both the trick and overall disciplines at the U17 World Championships, and despite her diminutive frame, she narrowly missed securing the slalom title, finishing second in a runoff. Within the same year, she won the Moomba Masters, an IWWF World Cup stop in Mandurah, and the Open World Championships. Adding the icing on the cake, she finished the season by breaking her first world record—becoming only the second woman to reach 10,000 points.

Erika has since elevated women’s skiing to new heights, revolutionizing the sport. Her flipping ability rivals that of the leading male skiers and has transferred into success on the professional wakeboard circuit. She has broken the world record a total of seven times, holding the record for eight of the past ten years. Over the last decade, she has extended the record from a little over 10,000 points to her current mark of 11,360 points.

Thriving in a field of fierce competition, Erika boasts a winning rate just shy of 50% in professional tournaments since her breakout season in 2013. Her accomplishments include five Moomba Masters titles, four U.S. Masters championships, and a U.S. Open victory. On the global stage, she has also earned the title of U21 world champion, Pan American Games champion, and her achievements encompass podium finishes at the Open World Championships in 2017, 2021, and 2023, finally clinching a second world title at the latter event. Erika’s groundbreaking performances have undeniably redefined the landscape of women’s trick skiing.

Tawn Larsen Hahn trick skiing

Image: WATERSKI Magazine

1. Tawn Larsen-Hahn

In the realm of water skiing, many remarkable siblings have left their mark over the years. Families like the LaPoints, Duvalls, Roberges, Llewellyns, McClintocks, and Carrascos have taken turns dominating the sport. However, few siblings can rival the sustained supremacy held by the Larsen twins in women’s trick skiing during the late 1980s and 1990s. Over their two-decade-long career, it was Tawn Larsen who ultimately emerged as the preeminent trick skier in the world. Talented from a young age, she clinched her first Open Women’s title at the U.S. Nationals in 1985, followed by victory at the inaugural U17 World Championships in 1986.

The twins exerted an iron grip on the World Championships, with one of them triumphing in every event from 1989 to 1999. Tawn missed the podium only once during this ten-year period, winning four gold medals in 1989, 1991, 1995, and 1999, along with a runner-up finish to Britt in 1997. At the U.S. Masters, the sisters experienced defeat just once from 1989 to 2000, with Tawn securing victory seven times—more Masters’ trick titles than any other woman. Additionally, she claimed eight U.S. Open titles, won multiple stops on the Budweiser Water Ski Tour, and dominated on the Women of Waterskiing Tour in the late 1990s.

Among her remarkable feats, Tawn’s tenure as the world record holder stands out. She held the record for an astonishing 18 years, which remains the longest streak in the sport’s history. She broke the record four times between 1988 and 1999, solidifying her status as a trailblazer in women’s trick skiing.

Honorable Mentions:

Neilly Ross

Unbeaten throughout 2017, she secured titles at the Moomba Masters, U.S. Masters, and the U17 and Open World Championships. She holds the distinction of being a two-time U.S. and Moomba Masters champion, and is one of only three women to achieve over 11,000 points in trick skiing.

A victim of the most competitive field in the sport’s history, Neilly only narrowly misses the top 10. However, at just 22 years old, we anticipate her ascending the ranks as her career advances.

Whitney McClintock Rini

In 2009, she clinched victories in slalom, tricks, and overall at both the U21 and Open World Championships. Additionally, Whitney secured three consecutive U.S. Masters trick titles from 2009 to 2011.

Karen Bowkett Neville

Best known for her achievements in the overall event, trick skiing stood out as Karen’s strongest discipline. She earned a runner-up position in the tricks category at the 1985 World Championships and dominated the Moomba Masters throughout the 1980s, accumulating numerous trick titles.

Marina Doria & Dany Duflot-Privat

These Europeans are both two-time world champions, dominating the sport in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Greatest Trick Skiers of All Time

The 10 Greatest Men’s Trick Skiers of All Time, Ranked

Rankings

The 10 Greatest Men’s Trick Skiers of All Time, Ranked

Ranking the best male trickers of all time.

By RTB

Top 10 Rankings


In the world of trick skiing, certain athletes have left an unforgettable mark on the sport’s history. From dominating performances in prestigious tournaments to breaking records and achieving unparalleled feats, these trickers have showcased their exceptional talent and dedication. In this article, we delve into the rankings of the greatest trick skiers of all time, celebrating their achievements and contributions to the sport. Each skier’s remarkable journey and extraordinary accomplishments have solidified their status as legends in the world of water skiing.

‘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 best male trickers in the history of water skiing. So sit back, enjoy, and maybe even debate a little over our choices—after all, that’s the fun of it!

Mick Neville of Australia

Image: AWWF

10. Mick Neville

During the 1980s, the Moomba Masters was the most significant professional tournament for trick and overall skiers, as the U.S. Masters remained amateur until 1985, and the Coors Light Water Ski Tour focused solely on slalom and jump events. Amidst this competitive landscape, one skier stood out as the dominant force in the trick event on the Yarra River – Mick Neville. His prowess in trick skiing was further highlighted by his podium appearances at every World Championships from 1981 to 1987, including a runner-up finish to Patrice Martin in England during the 1987 event.

A strong competitor in overall as well, Neville has the unfortunate distinction of winning the most World Championships medals (eight) without ever taking home a gold.

Tori Baggiano trick skiing

Image: USA-WWF

9. Tory Baggiano

The Colorado native was the only man to rival the dominance of Patrice Martin and Cory Pickos during the late 1980s and early 1990s. His exceptional skills allowed him to end Pickos’ six-year streak as national champion, winning the U.S. Nationals in 1986 and the U.S. Open in 1988. In 1990, he made history by becoming the first man to break the 11,000-point mark in trick skiing. Notable victories include the 1993 World Championships, 1990 Pan American Championships, and three U.S. Masters titles. Despite significant progress in the sport over the past 30 years, Baggiano remains one of the greatest toe trickers of all time.

Carlos Suarez trick skiing

Image: USA-WWF

8. Carlos Suárez

In the 1970s, Venezuela produced some of the greatest water skiers in the world, and Suárez was chief among them. As a four-time world record holder, he was the first to achieve the impressive feats of tricking over 6,000 and 7,000 points. His skill and consistency earned him back-to-back world titles in 1975 and 1977, along with a runner-up position in 1979. Additionally, Suárez secured two U.S. Masters titles in 1976 and 1979, cementing his status as a prominent figure in trick skiing during that era.

Siemers named to Hall of Fame Class of 2023 (Image: USA-WWF)

7. Jimmy Siemers

Known primarily for his overall skiing, the exceptional talent hailing from Texas was equally formidable in the trick event. As a junior, Siemers was an Under-17 and Under-21 World trick, jump and overall champion. He clinched the tricks title along with the overall title at the 2003 World Championships in Florida, showcasing his versatility and excellence in both disciplines.

Throughout his career, he was always a contender on the professional circuit, winning tricks four times at the U.S. Masters, in 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2011, and twice at the Moomba Masters, in 2011 and 2018. Additionally, he secured victories at four IWWF World Cup stops held in Doha, Qatar (twice), Putrajaya, Malaysia, and Mandurah, Australia. Finally, in 2008, he dethroned Nicholas Le Forestier and ascended to the number one spot on the elite rankings, a testament to his exceptional talent.

Pato Font celebrates after his winning trick run at the 2023 World Championships

Pato Font celebrates after his winning trick run at the 2023 World Championships (Image: Johnny Hayward)

6. Patricio Font

Hailing from Mexico, the young prodigy, Pato Font, has taken the water skiing world by storm, leaving a trail of broken records on his path to the top. Font’s talent has been evident from an early age, securing back-to-back Under-17 World Championships in 2016 and 2018, followed by repeat victories in the Under-21 World Championships in 2021 and 2023. His incredible journey continued as he claimed the World Championships title in both 2019 and 2023, with a runner-up finish in between in 2021, further cementing his status as one of the sport’s biggest rising stars.

Font has dominated the professional circuit in recent years, securing four consecutive U.S. Masters titles from 2019 to 2023, back-to-back Moomba Masters titles in 2020 and 2022, and victory at the 2021 U.S. Open. To top it all off, Font etched his name in history by breaking Aliaksei Zharnasek’s long-standing world record in 2022, and remarkably, he has since exceeded it twice.

Just twenty-one years of age, Font is on track to become one of the greatest trickers of all time.

Image: Water Skier Magazine

5. Ricky McCormick

McCormick’s incredible talent in waterskiing was evident from a young age when, at only 14 years old, he wowed audiences with his jumps and tricks as the opening act on The Ed Sullivan Show. He shared the stage that night with none other than the Rolling Stones.

McCormick held the world trick record and was a consistent presence on every World Championships podium from 1967 to 1973, ultimately claiming the gold medal in 1971. Additionally, he was a seven-time U.S. Masters trick champion, over a twelve year span from 1966 to 1977. He competed at the 1972 Munich Olympics, where he secured the sport’s only Olympic gold in the trick skiing category, further solidifying his status as one of the sport’s legends.

Perhaps McCormick’s greatest legacy in trick skiing is his claim to being the first to land a flip on skis. Valued at only 350 points when first approved, his flip didn’t make it into his regular trick run. However, he would often throw it for the crowd on his way back to the dock.

Aliaksei "Ace" Zharnasek flipping

Image: trickskiboss.com

4. Aliaksei Zharnasek

The muscular Belarusian, known simply as “Ace” for his remarkable talent in trick skiing. Zharnasek held the title of the number one ranked elite tricker for seven seasons, including four consecutive years from 2011 to 2014. His world trick record of 12,570 stood for eleven and a half years, making it the longest-standing trick record in the history of the sport. His contributions were pivotal in Belarus’ unexpected victory at the 2011 World Championships, and he maintained an unyielding presence on every World Championships podium from 2005 to 2013. Notably, he secured three consecutive world titles in 2009, 2011, and 2013.

With an impressive resume boasting over 20 professional victories, Zharnasek maintained a winning record of greater than 50% in the 2010s. His accomplishments include being a four-time U.S. Masters champion, five-time Moomba Masters champion, along with five U.S. Open champion titles. He secured three IWWF World Cup stop victories in 2009, 2010, and 2012. Ace’s prowess on the water and his remarkable achievements place him amongst the top trickers of all time.

The European champion Patrice Martin performs a Trick on September 3, 1979 on the Castel Gandolfo lake.

The European champion Patrice Martin performs a Trick in 1979 on the Castel Gandolfo lake (image: Le Monde)

3. Patrice Martin

The Frenchman burst onto the world stage as a trick phenom while still a teenager and eventually concluded his career as one of the greatest overall skiers of all time. He was the second man to trick 10,000 points, achieving the feat a mere two months behind Cory Pickos. Throughout his illustrious career, Martin broke the world trick record seven times between 1978 and 1996, helping extend the record from 7,000 to 11,000 points.

Martin’s achievements in trick skiing include an impressive haul of seven World Championships trick medals, which includes four world titles secured in 1979, 1985, 1987, and 1991. At the World Games, Martin was unbeaten through the first four editions from 1981 to 1993, earning himself a spot among the top 10 all-time medal winners across all sports. Moreover, he boasts 16 European trick titles, with victories spanning from 1978 to 2001. His dominance extended to the professional circuit, where he clinched numerous victories, such as three U.S. Masters titles in 1978, 1988, and 1989, and three U.S. Open titles in 1991, 1993, and 1995. Martin’s remarkable talent and achievements have firmly cemented his status as one of the sport’s legends.

Nicholas LeForestier Trick Skiing

Image: IWSF

2. Nicholas Le Forestier

The first man to trick 12,000 points, this Frenchman left his mark on the sport by breaking the world record five times and holding it for an impressive eleven and a half years during the early 2000s. He showcased his exceptional talent on the world stage, securing top-two finishes in seven out of nine World Championships from 1995 to 2011. He won the World Championships in 2001, and had back-to-back wins again in 2005 and 2007. Le Forestier’s peak performance coincided with the heyday of professional trick skiing in the early 2000s, during which he asserted his dominance at IWWF World Cup events, clinching gold at an impressive nine out of eleven events between 2004 and 2007.

Throughout his career, he maintained the distinction of being the number one ranked elite tricker from 2002 to 2007. At the U.S. Masters, he secured an incredible nine titles, including an unbeaten streak of five consecutive wins from 2001 to 2005. Additionally, Le Forestier was a frequent champion at the Moomba Masters, with three consecutive victories from 2001 to 2003, adding to his long list of professional victories.

Cory Pickos Trick Skiing

Tricks skier Cory Pickos among Hall of Fame Class of 2012 (Image: The Ledger)

1. Cory Pickos

Competing in an era where professional trick tournaments were scarce, Pickos may not have as many professional titles as Le Forestier, but he undoubtedly stands as the greatest tricker our sport has ever seen. A true trailblazer in world trick skiing, his career spanned a remarkable four different decades. Pickos achieved the historic feat of being the first man to break the 10,000-point mark in trick skiing. Moreover, he set an astounding 24 world records between 1977 and 2000. At the young age of 13, he set his first record at 6,860 points, and by the twilight of his career, he had raised the bar to an impressive 11,920 points. Remarkably, Pickos held the world trick record for 17.5 years during this 23-year period.

His accolades in competitions further solidify his standing in the sport. Pickos secured back-to-back World Championships in 1981 and 1983, setting the tone for his consistent podium appearances over the next two decades, where he earned another four medals. Domestically, he boasted an impressive ten U.S. national champion titles, including six U.S Open titles. He won eight U.S. Masters titles and maintained an undefeated record in the short-lived 1987 U.S. Grand Prix of Water Skiing, winning all four events. Moreover, he showcased his dominance on the Coors Light Water Ski Tour during the 1980s, triumphing at the few stops that included the trick event—such as Vallejo, CA in 1987 and 1989, and Wichita, KS in 1989.

Honorable Mentions:

Joshua Briant

Remarkable as a junior, Briant won the Under-17 World Championships in 2012, back-to-back Under-21 World Championships in 2013 and 2015, the 2014 Moomba Masters, featured on the podium at the World Championships in 2015 and 2017, and took gold at the 2017 World Games. He suffered serious injuries after a jump crash in 2017, and although he has since posted scores back over 11,000 points, he appears to have effectively retired from top-level competition.

Russel Gay

Among the first 10 men to trick 10,000 points, he picked up medals at three consecutive World Championships from 1999 to 2003, matched Pickos’ 10 U.S. national titles, was the 1996 U.S. Open champion, and won an IWWF World Cup stop in Changshu, China in 2004.

Kreg and Jaret Llewellyn

The brothers from Canada were among the first to trick over 10,000 points and between them picked up a World Championships gold, a U.S. Masters title, and multiple U.S. Open and Moomba Masters victories.

Aymeric Benet and Adam Pickos

Both are two-time world champions, but narrowly miss the top 10 based on a lack of professional victories.

top 10 female jumpers

The 10 Greatest Women’s Jumpers of All Time, Ranked

Rankings

The 10 Greatest Women’s Jumpers of All Time, Ranked

top 10 female jumpers

Ranking the best female jumpers of all time.

By RTB

Top 10 Rankings


In the thrilling realm of water ski jumping, a group of remarkable women have etched their names in the sport’s history. With every jump, these athletes defied gravity and pushed the boundaries of human potential. As we embark on this journey through the annals of women’s jumping, we invite you to witness the trailblazers who have elevated the sport to new heights. From historic victories to ground breaking records, their stories paint a portrait of passion, perseverance, and sheer excellence.

‘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 female jumpers 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!

Sue Lipplegoes

Image: AWWF

10. Sue Lipplegoes

Sue represented Australia in six World Championships, featuring on every jump podium from 1979 to 1985, and securing runner-up positions in three of those World Championships. She was dominant on the Yarra, winning multiple Moomba Masters titles during the 1980s. Although it was a difficult trip for Australians to justify while still an amateur event, she traveled to and won the 1984 U.S. Masters. A true pioneer, she marked history in 1981 as the first woman to surpass the 40 meter mark, extending and maintaining the world record for five years throughout the 1980s.

June Fladborg of Denmark

June Fladborg kæmper for EM-guld (image: Claus Beyer)

9. June Fladborg

Hailing originally from Denmark, June, like many Europeans, relocated to Florida to facilitate year-round training. She embarked on an incredible journey of success in the latter half of the 2000s, securing victory in just shy of 50% of all professional tournaments she competed in between 2005 and 2010. Throughout this period, she attained the coveted number one elite jumper position three times, achieved runner-up positions at the World Championships on two occasions, clinched four U.S. Masters titles (including an impressive streak of three consecutive wins from 2008 to 2010), and secured back-to-back Moomba Masters titles in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, capping off an extraordinary career, she broke Elena Milakova’s long-standing world record.

Since her retirement from professional water skiing, June, alongside her husband Tom Asher, is dedicated to carrying forward the legacy of her coach, mentor, and former partner, Ray Stokes, through their involvement with Stokes Skis.

Image: Natallia Berdnikava

8. Natallia Berdnikava

An exceptional overall skier, Natallia held a pivotal role in securing victory for the Belarus team at the 2011 World Championships, where she won individual gold in the tricks, jump, and overall disciplines. Her collection of World Championships medals tallies to an impressive 10, including podium finishes in jump at the 2007, 2013, and 2017 events. Natallia also secured World Games titles in tricks and jump in 2017.

On the professional circuit, Natallia was incredibly consistent, securing top-three placements in 75% of all jump events she participated in from 2005 to 2019. Her notable victories include the Moomba Masters, U.S. Open, and three U.S. Masters jump titles, triumphing in 2007, 2011, and 2012. Natallia broke the world jump record three times between 2011 and 2012 and becoming the first woman to achieve a 190-foot jump.

Angeliki Andriopoulou jumps 54.9m to keep her title of World Champion

Angeliki Andriopoulou jumps 54.9m to keep her title of World Champion. (image: IWSF)

7. Angeliki Andriopoulou

A consistent presence on the World Championships podium throughout the 2000s, the Greek champion earned a remarkable tally of seven medals between 2001 and 2009. This collection included three notable runner-up finishes in the overall category and one in trick skiing. However, it is her triumphant streak of three consecutive world jump titles from 2005 to 2009 that stands as her paramount achievement.

Within the professional circuit, Angeliki maintained an exceptional track record. She secured a podium placement in a staggering 85% of all tournaments she entered, and a winning rate exceeding 40%. Adept in all conditions, she ended Emma Sheers’ era of dominance on the Yarra River by clinching the Moomba Masters title in 2007. Other notable professional victories include the 2007 U.S. Open, back-to-back wins at the Malibu Open in 2006 and 2007, and four victories in IWWF World Cup stops spanning from 2005 to 2008.

Sherri Slone

Image: USA-WWF

6. Sherri Slone

Raised in Kansas, Sherri began her skiing in a local sand pit before becoming one of the first in a long list of elite jumpers to blossom under the coaching of Jay Bennett in Louisiana. Sherri’s entrance on the professional circuit was instantly felt when she became the first individual to defeat Deena Brush Mapple on the pro tour in almost three years. She went on to win four consecutive stops that year on the 1990 Michelob Dry Waterski Tour, eventually earning her the coveted title of tour champion. Her success continued into the following year, 1991, where she defended her title with five out of seven wins on the pro tour, in addition to clinching victories at the U.S. Open and the World Championships. Unfortunately, women’s jump was dropped from the pro tour in 1992, right at the peak of her career. Undeterred, Sherri managed to accumulate over 20 professional titles throughout the 1990s. In 1995 she had another notable season, winning the U.S. Masters, a third U.S. Open title, claiming a bronze at the World Championships, and equaling Deena Brush Mapple’s world record.

Off the water, she played a pivotal role alongside Jennifer Leachman in the formation of the Women of Waterskiing (WOW) tour that gave a platform to female athletes in the late nineties after they were excluded from the pro tour.

Elena Thomsen-Milakova

Elena Thomsen-Milakova. (image: Swiss Waterski & Wake)

5. Elena Milakova

Growing up on the outskirts of Moscow during the waning years of the Soviet Union, Elena honed her skills by practicing in a swimming pool during the winter months. Her initial international triumph materialized at the 1997 World Championships in Colombia, where she secured victories in both jump and overall categories. In the jump event, she followed up with another victory at the 2001 World Championships, and even in the later phase of her career, achieved a runner-up position in 2007 while competing for Switzerland under her married name, Elena Thomsen.

On the professional circuit, she clinched a Moomba Masters championship and was a three-time U.S. Masters champion. She broke the world jump record on three occasions, becoming the first woman to jump over 55 meters and 180 feet. Her final record of 56.6 meters remained unbroken for over eight years.

During the short-lived era of women’s Ski Fly, Elena excelled. Her world Ski Fly record, established at 69.4 meters during the 2002 U.S. Masters, holds to this day, making it the longest-standing record in world water skiing.

Elizabeth Allan Reid

Elizabeth Allan Reid. (image: Gary & Carol Warren)

4. Liz Allan

Demonstrating extraordinary talent from an early age, Liz made her entrance onto the water skiing stage in 1965, becoming only the second woman to achieve a 100-foot jump while just 14 years old. Even more astonishingly, the same year, she traveled to Surfer’s Paradise in Australia for the World Championships and emerged victorious in the jump and overall events. This remarkable feat set the tone for her future accomplishments.

Liz would go on to win a total of four World Championship jump titles, only missing the podium once between 1965 and 1975. Her dominance was equally impressive on home soil, where she secured six U.S. National jump titles and seven U.S. Masters jump championships, including five consecutive victories as a teenager from 1966 to 1970. In addition, Liz broke the world jump record on five occasions throughout her illustrious career.

Emma Sheers Waterski Jumping

Image: Sunshine Coast Daily

3. Emma Sheers

Emma and her younger brother Curtis came up under the tutelage of Ray Stokes, whose innovations in jump ski design and technique played a pivotal role in revolutionizing the sport during the 1990s. Displaying talent from an early age, Emma accomplished the remarkable feat of clinching back-to-back U17 World Championships in 1990 and 1992, a record that remains unbroken among girl’s jumpers to this day. Particularly dominant on her home turf, Emma’s prowess was highlighted by a streak of five consecutive Moomba Masters jump titles throughout the 1990s. Her domination continued with another impressive run of six consecutive titles in the early 2000s, suffering only a single defeat on the Yarra between 1994 and 2005.

After securing the runner-up position at the 1995 World Championships, Emma claimed gold in the jump event at the 1997 World Games and both the 1999 and 2003 World Championships. On the professional circuit, she won the season championship of the Café de Columbia World Cup in every year that women’s skiing was included from 1997 to 1999 and followed up with victory on the 2000 U.S. Pro Water Ski and Wakeboard Tour. Emma was also a six-time jump champion at both the U.S. Masters and U.S. Open, losing only once between 1996 and 2003 at the latter event.

Despite narrowly missing the distinction of becoming the first woman to jump 50 meters, Emma broke the world jump record three times during her career. Notably, she also co-held the women’s Ski Fly record with compatriot Toni Neville for two years, achieving a distance of 66.6 meters.

Deena Brush from Sacramento California

Image: Trading Card Database

2. Deena Brush Mapple

Known as the “queen of water skiing,” this California native was a perennial contender across the slalom, jump, and overall disciplines throughout her illustrious 25-year career. Her notable achievements include a ‘grand slam’ in 1987, securing overall victories at the World Championships, U.S. Nationals, and U.S. Masters. Additionally, she holds the distinction of being the only woman to simultaneously hold the world slalom and jump records. However, it was in the jump event where her talents truly shone.

Deena clinched the world jump champion title an impressive four times, only missing the podium once between her first medal in 1979 and her last victory in 1989. Her dominance extended to the U.S. Masters, where she claimed the jump title on nine occasions, including an extraordinary streak of seven consecutive victories from 1986 to 1993. In addition, her visits to Melbourne resulted in multiple Moomba Masters jump titles.

On the pro tour, her prowess was unmatched throughout the late 1980s. Deena secured the season champion title for three consecutive years, from 1987 to 1989, on the Coors Light Water Ski Tour. Her exceptional streak included a run of 22 consecutive tour stop victories spanning from 1987 to 1990, and she simultaneously accomplished an unbeaten season on the 1987 U.S. Grand Prix of Water Skiing. Moreover, she broke the world jump record five times over her career, significantly advancing women’s jumping distances from 39.3 meters in 1979 to 47.5 meters by her final record in 1988.

Jacinta Carroll at the Moomba Masters

The calm before the storm (image: @jacintacarroll)

1. Jacinta Carroll

Another of Ray Stoke’s protégés, the Australian known as “Rabbit” has redefined the boundaries of achievement in women’s jumping. While still a teenager, she secured victories in the Moomba Masters, LA Nite Jam, and the U21 World Championships all in 2011. At her final U21 World Championships she clinched both the jump and overall titles.

Since losing to Jutta Lammi at the 2013 Moomba Masters, Jacinta has won every single professional event she has competed in. Nobody, not even the great Andy Mapple, has ever achieved this level of sustained dominance in the sport. Her unparalleled streak includes nine consecutive Moomba Masters titles and seven consecutive U.S. Masters titles, with the latter streak only ending after a forced absence in 2021 due to Covid-related travel restrictions. After finishing as the runner-up at the 2011 World Championships, Jacinta went on to secure five consecutive world titles between 2013 and 2021. She has held the world record since 2015, breaking it five times, and in 2021, became the first woman to jump 200 feet.

After she was controversially dropped by Nautique, her major sponsor, for setting the world record behind the ‘wrong boat,’ it appears Jacinta has effectively retired from the professional circuit. She has made only brief cameos over the last two years to continue her winning streak at the Moomba Masters. Only recently turning 30, she will be a substantial loss to our sport. However, having won everything there is to win, we can’t blame her for moving on to the next chapter of her life.

Honorable Mentions:

Hanna Straltsova

The Belarusian is one of only three women to jump over 190 feet and finished runner up to Carroll at both the 2019 and 2021 World Championships. She has dominated women’s jump in the Australian’s absence, clinching two U.S. Masters titles and finishing on top of the Waterski Pro Tour leaderboard every year from 2021 to 2023.

Toni Neville

Featured on the World Championships jump podium three times, including a runner-up position in 1999, she was also a U.S. Masters and U.S. Open champion. In an extraordinary streak of form, she broke the world record four times in 2000, achieving this feat twice in a single weekend.

Brenda Nichols Baldwin

Remembered as the first woman to jump 50 meters, she accomplished this feat in only her second tournament after women were allowed to raise the ramp to five and a half feet in 1997. Brenda was also a world jump champion in 1995 and U.S. Masters jump champion in 1997.

Cindy Todd

A two-time world jump champion, clinching gold in 1979 and 1983, along with a runner-up finish in 1977. She also triumphed at the 1982 U.S. Masters. She held the world jump record for a single day in 1982.

Willa Worthington, Nancie Rideout, and Renate Hansluwka

Assigning rankings to skiers from the 1950s and 1960s is a complex task, yet all three of these exceptional women merit acknowledgment as two-time world jump champions.

Updated: in the original article Sherri Slone’s home state was incorrectly listed as Arkansas.

Greatest Jump Skiers All Time

The 10 Greatest Men’s Jumpers of All Time, Ranked

Rankings

The 10 Greatest Men’s Jumpers of All Time, Ranked

Greatest Jump Skiers All Time

Ranking the best male jumpers of all time.

By RTB

Top 10 Rankings


In the realm of waterski jumping, a select group of exceptional athletes have left a significant mark on the sport. From record-breaking jumps to dominant displays on the professional circuit, these jumpers have showcased their raw talent, determination, and passion for the sport, earning their places among the greatest of all time. In this article, we count down the ten greatest jump skiers in history, celebrating their remarkable achievements and the legacy they’ve built on the water.

‘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 greatest male jumpers 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!

Scot Ellis Waterski Jumping

Scot Ellis performs a jump on Lake Grew in October 2011 (image: The Ledger)

10. Scot Ellis

No list would be complete without Scot “The Rocketman” Ellis, whose career spanned an impressive five decades. His extraordinary talent was evident from a young age when he clinched overall and slalom victories at the 1988 U17 World Championships on the Yarra River. Stepping onto the professional circuit in 1990, Ellis swiftly made his mark, securing the season championship of the 1990 Michelob Dry Waterski Tour. Throughout the 1990s, he was a mainstay on the pro tour, winning over 10 individual tour stops and the 1994 U.S. Open. Ellis thrived in the electrifying atmosphere and challenging conditions of the Yarra River, claiming multiple Moomba Masters jump titles on his return visits as a professional.

Alongside Bruce Neville, he pioneered the Ski Fly discipline in the late nineties, leading to its inclusion at the U.S. Masters and on the U.S. Pro Water Ski and Wakeboard Tour. From 1990 until his retirement in 2021, Ellis remained a prominent fixture on the professional circuit, consistently reaching the finals and leaving a lasting legacy on the sport.

Wayne Grimditch Jump Water Ski

Image: IWWF Hall of Fame

9. Wayne Grimditch

Fondly remembered as the iconic voice of professional waterskiing, Grimditch was the frontman of TV coverage on ESPN and USA Network throughout the 1980s and 1990s. A household name in America in the 1970s, he solidified his fame by clinching victory in the 1978 Superstars, a televised competition featuring top athletes competing in sports outside their own (other winners include O.J. Simpson and Herschel Walker). Grimditch featured on ever World Championships jump podium from 1969 to 1975, capturing world titles in 1969 and 1975 alongside two bronze medals. At the U.S. Masters he was a 4-time champion, including an impressive three consecutive victories from 1974 to 1976. He also secured the U.S. national championship in 1975 and the Moomba Masters title in 1973. Pushing the boundaries of the sport, Grimditch broke the world record twice, holding the record for an impressive seven-year stretch during the 1970s. Beyond his athletic achievements, Grimditch had a significant impact on the world of waterskiing as an ambassador for the sport.

Mike Suyderhoud Water Ski Jump

Image: USA-WWF

8. Mike Suyderhoud

The burly Californian was an incredible competitor, excelling across all three events, but it was in the jump event where his talents truly shone. Suyderhoud was the first man to reach the 50 meter mark, breaking the world record twice and maintaining it for a three-year span. A 2-time world jump champion, he claimed victory in 1971 and 1977, while also securing a silver medal in 1967 and a bronze in 1975. Domestically, Suyderhoud won five national championships and four U.S. Masters titles in jump, including an impressive streak of three consecutive titles from 1967 to 1969. Furthermore, His visits to Melbourne yielded back-to-back Moomba Masters titles in 1968 and 1969. During an era with limited major tournaments, Suyderhoud won everything there was to win. After his illustrious competitive career, he transitioned into one of the most sought-after coaches in the world, continuing his legacy in the sport he helped shape.

Carl Roberge Jump Crash

Carl Roberge USA at the Weltcup Wasserski in Luebeck, Germany (Image: Lutz Bongarts)

7. Carl Roberge

Originally from Canada, the Roberges emigrated to California when Carl was only two years old. He became a six-time US team member, contributing significantly to his adopted country’s success in securing five consecutive world championships from 1981 to 1989. Throughout the late eighties and nineties, Roberge was a prominent figure on the professional circuit, amassing an impressive record of over 30 pro tour stop victories. His peak performance occurred in the mid-nineties, where he achieved back-to-back pro tour season championships in 1995 and 1996. Notably, he had an unbeaten season with eight tour stop victories in 1996, secured four consecutive U.S. Masters titles from 1994 to 1997, and earned the runner-up position at the 1995 World Championships.

Bruce Neville IWWF Hall of Fame

Image: IWWF Hall of Fame

6. Bruce Neville

The Australian master, who was at the forefront of men’s jumping during the fastest period of change in the sport’s history. His career began with 72-inch skis towed by hand-driven outboard boats and finished with skis over 90 inches, PerfectPass speed control, and the extraordinary power of Ski Fly boats. During this period, he broke the world jump record on three separate occasions. His achievements include two world championships, with victories in 1991 in Austria and 1995 in France, as well as a bronze medal in 1989. Adding to his accolades, he claimed the U.S. Masters championship in both 1990 and 1993. A consistent force on the pro tour, he amassed an impressive record of over 30 individual tour stop victories. Neville clinched the season champion title on the breakaway PAWS Budget Rent a Car Waterski Tour in 1990, the Budweiser Water Ski Tour in 1993, and the Café de Columbia Water Ski World Cup in 1997. The perennial crowd favorite at the Moomba Masters, Neville’s jumping propelled him to five consecutive overall titles from 1991 to 1995.

Mike Hazelwood European Water Ski Champion

Michael Hazelwood jumping at the 1981 Iron Man Water Ski Classic (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

5. Mike Hazelwood

The lone European on this list, Hazelwood’s place among the greatest jumpers of all time was never in question. A trailblazer in the sport, he made history by becoming the first man to jump 60 meters and the second man to jump 200 feet, breaking the world record three times and holding it for a total of five years during the 1980s. Representing Great Britain with distinction, Hazelwood competed at eight consecutive world championships, securing back-to-back world jump titles in 1979 and 1981, in addition to claiming a bronze in 1983 and a silver in 1987. A true force in European skiing, he was a 7-time European jump champion.

Hazelwood was one of the biggest names on the Coors Light Water Ski Tour throughout the 1980s. In 1984, he claimed the inaugural season championship with five consecutive tour stop victories to close out the season. After narrowly finishing as runner up in 1985, he clinched back-to-back season championships in 1986 and 1987. Hazelwood’s dominance was exemplified by his six U.S. Masters jump champion titles, including an impressive streak of four consecutive titles from 1984 to 1987. Additionally, he was a frequent jump champion at the Moomba Masters, with his jumping prowess serving as the foundation for an extraordinary five consecutive overall titles from 1977 to 1981. A household name in England, Hazelwood was honored by Queen Elizabeth II at the end of his career with the title of MBE, “Member of the British Empire.”

Ryan Dodd waterskiing in Palm Bay, Fla. (Image: Mountain View Today)

4. Ryan Dodd

Hailing from rural Alberta, Ryan Dodd’s journey from a farm boy to an elite athlete in the world of jump skiing has been nothing short of remarkable. Over the past decade, Dodd has proven to be virtually unbeatable in the jump event. Following podium finishes at the World Championships in 2009 and 2013, he elevated his game to unprecedented heights, securing four consecutive world titles from 2015 to 2021. In 2017, Dodd etched his name in the history books by setting the world jump record, a record that has remained unbroken for an impressive six-year period. He has dominated the professional circuit, winning over 60% of tournaments he has entered since 2015. This dominance earned him five consecutive years as the number 1 ranked elite jumper from 2015 to 2019, and in 2022, he topped the leaderboard in the Waterski Pro Tour. Among his list of professional victories, Dodd boasts five U.S. Masters titles and four Moomba Masters titles, showcasing his skill in all conditions

Based solely on winning percentage, Dodd has a claim to sit atop these rankings. However, a combination of a smaller pool of jump tournaments and absence due to injury in recent seasons has put an asterisk next to his dominance. The youngest skier on this list, it remains to be seen where he will finish up at the end of his career.

Image: Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

3. Jaret Llewellyn

The diminutive Canadian undoubtedly ranks among the greatest overall skiers of all time, but his incredible jumping ability was the cornerstone of his success. As the first man to surpass 70 meters (230 feet), he broke the jump world record three times throughout his illustrious career. A regular on the professional circuit since the early-1990s, Llewellyn was the season champion of the 1998 and 1999 Café de Columbia World Cup. Even in the twilight of his career from 2005 to 2009, he remarkably finished in the top 3 at two-thirds of the events he entered. Llewellyn boasts four world jump championships (1997, 1999, 2001, and 2005) and achieved two runner-up finishes (2007 & 2009). He is also a three-time U.S. Open champion, and a frequent Moomba Masters champion, with three consecutive victories from 2000 to 2002, along with back-to-back victories in 2008 and 2009.

Jaret dominated during the Ski Fly era in the early 2000s, winning four out of the six years that Ski Fly was held at the U.S. Masters and the season championship of the 2001 U.S. Pro Water Ski and Wakeboard Tour (the only year that all jump events were Ski Fly). His world record of 299 feet appeared as if it would never be touched after the discipline faded into oblivion, but was eventually broken 15 years later.

Sammy Duvall jumping at the 1987 World Championships.

Sammy Duvall jumping at the 1987 World Championships.

2. Sammy Duvall

Hailing from Greenville, South Carolina, Duvall held No. 1 world ranking in either jump or overall for eleven consecutive seasons from 1983 to 1993. Alongside his sister Camille, the Duvall siblings became iconic figures in the world of professional water skiing during its golden era. Duvall’s domination in jumping on the U.S. pro tour remains unparalleled, securing the season champion title an impressive six times between 1985 and 1994, and accumulating over 40 individual tour stop victories. Additionally, from 1979 to 1993, he secured six U.S. Masters titles and three U.S. Open titles. At the Moomba Masters, he picked up three overall titles on the back of his strong jumping performances.

As a two-time world jump champion, Duvall showcased his talent on the global stage, winning the inaugural World Games in 1981 and achieving World Championships gold in Sweden in 1983 and in England in 1987. The latter victory is particularly memorable, as it marked a crucial moment in one of the sport’s tightest-ever Overall competitions, where he needed to win the jump event to surpass Australia’s Mick Neville. Remarkably, Duvall’s retirement from amateur events after the 1987 worlds meant he never competed at a World Championships during his peak as a jumper.

While Glenn Thurlow and Hazelwood may have preceded him in breaking the 200-foot barrier, Duvall’s achievements were no less extraordinary. He broke the world jump record six times throughout his career, holding the record for an impressive seven years during the 1990s, adding 6 meters (nearly 20 feet) to the existing record. His contributions to the sport have left an indelible mark, solidifying his status as one of the greatest waterski jumpers in history.

Freddy Krueger Waterski Jumping

Image: Orlando Sentinel

1. Freddy Krueger

Born in Decatur, Illinois, nine years before his name would forever become associated with A Nightmare on Elm Street, Frederick August Krueger IV, better known as “the Nightmare”, stands as the only man to win professional titles in four different decades. Hailing from Illinois, Krueger honed his skills under the guidance of Jay Bennett in Louisiana, eventually establishing himself as the unquestionable greatest water ski jumper of all time.

Over an illustrious career, Krueger has won a remarkable five World Championships, including four consecutive titles from 2007 to 2013. Impressively, he featured on every World Championships jump podium from 1999 to 2013 until an injury kept him from the 2015 event. He has broken the world jump record eight times, reigning as the record-holder for an impressive twelve and a half years. In addition, Krueger holds the world ski fly record as the first (and only) man to jump over 300 feet.

Announcing his arrival onto the professional scene in 1995 on the Budweiser Water Ski Tour, Krueger won two tour stops in his debut season. While he remained a contender through the late 1990s, it was the new millennium that witnessed Krueger’s true ascent. In 2002, he claimed the top spot on the elite rankings, a distinction he held for an unparalleled 11 consecutive seasons from 2004 to 2014. In a memorable achievement, Krueger matched Mapple’s record of 14 U.S. Masters titles in 2021. Proving his versatility, he has attained victories all around the world, conquering both perfect man-made lakes and challenging, spectator-friendly venues like Robin Lake and the Yarra River. A battle-hardened professional, Krueger holds the night jumping record and is known for his one-and-done victories as a frequent top seed.

When it comes to challenging Andy Mapple’s status as the GOAT, few skiers possess a resume as impressive as the Nightmare, Freddy Krueger.

Honorable Mentions:

Glenn Thurlow

Thurlow holds the distinction of being the first man to jump 200 feet. In addition, he achieved four podium finishes at the World Championships from 1977 to 1985, multiple Moomba Masters titles, and a sole tour stop victory on the Coors Light Water Ski Tour, on which he was a mainstay.

Geoff Carrington

A two-time world jump champion in 1985 and 1989, and a Moomba Masters champion, Carrington was a regular on the pro tour until his tragic accident in 1990. Had his career continued throughout the 1990s he may well have ended up on this list.

Jimmy Siemers

His greatest achievements came in the overall event, but Siemers was also a two-time world record holder in jump and overtook Freddy Krueger and Jaret Llewellyn as the no.1 ranked elite jumper in 2003.

Ricky McCormick

Claiming water skiing’s sole Olympic gold medal in the jump event at the 1972 Munich Olympics, he was also the 1973 world jump champion. McCormick may be the most viewed jumper of all time, as he was the stunt double for Henry Winkler when the Fonz jumped the shark on Happy Days.

Top 10 female slalomers

The 10 Greatest Women’s Slalom Skiers of All Time, Ranked

Rankings

The 10 Greatest Women’s Slalom Skiers of All Time, Ranked

Ranking the best female slalomers of all time.

By RTB

Top 10 Rankings


In the world of water skiing, history has been written by remarkable women who defied limits and left indelible marks on the sport. Crafting an objective ‘Top 10’ list from such a rich tapestry of talent is a daunting task, as each athlete’s journey is a testament to their unique strengths and contributions. Nevertheless, we embark on a quest to honor these athletes who have carved their names into the annals of women’s slalom skiing. Join us as we celebrate their achievements, relive their triumphs, and remember their enduring impact on the sport.

‘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 women’s 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!

Deena Brush Hall of Fame

Image: USA-WWF

10. Deena Brush Mapple

The “First Lady of Water Skiing”, though most celebrated for her jump prowess, the California native notched an impressive record in slalom across her 25-year career. She broke or tied the world slalom record five times, holding or co-holding the record throughout most of the 1980s. She secured a place on five World Championships slalom podiums, including runner-up honors in 1983 and 1989. A three-time U.S. Masters slalom champion, she won in 1979, 1983, and at the inaugural professional Masters in 1985, she also clinched the Moomba Masters slalom title in 1990. A steadfast presence on the pro tour in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Deena emerged as the tour champion of the breakaway PAWS Budget Rent-a-Car Waterski Tour in 1990.

Habermann recognised for her success. (image: The Courier Mail)

9. Emma Sheers

The determined Australian burst onto the scene as one of the best jumpers in the world during the 1990s, yet it was in the slalom event that she truly ascended in her later career. Emma dominated women’s slalom in the early 2000’s, securing back-to-back World Championships in 2001 and 2003. She won the Moomba slalom title three times (in 2003, 2005, and 2008) and achieved consecutive U.S. Masters slalom victories in 2003 and 2004. Her consistency earned her the distinction of the top ranked elite slalom skier in 2003 and 2004.

Cindy Todd, overall skier extraordinaire

Cindy Todd, overall skier extraordinaire (image: USA Water Ski & Wake Sports)

8. Cindy Todd

An outstanding overall skier who almost drifted away from the sport during her teenage years, Cindy (then Hutcherson) swept both the Junior Girls’ and Girls’ Divisions at U.S. Nationals as a teenager. Her return to the competitive arena was spurred by her husband, the now renowned boat driver Les Todd. In her comeback season in 1975 she broke the world slalom record on her way to clinching her first Open Women’s title at the U.S. Nationals. Over her career, she would break the record four more times, contributing to increasing the record a full pass from 2@12m (35’ off) to 2@11.25m (38’ off). With three world slalom championships (in 1977, 1981, and 1983) and three U.S. Masters titles (in 1976, 1981, and 1982), Cindy cemented her legacy as one of the greatest in the sport.

Susi Graham at the 1999 Pan Am Games

Susi Graham at the 1999 Pan Am Games. (image: IWSF)

7. Susi Graham McCormick

Part of the first husband-wife duo to enter the international water ski Hall of Fame, Susi and Ricky McCormick both etched their names in water ski history. Susi, a Canadian, set the bar by becoming the first woman to run 11.25m (38’ off). She either held or co-held the world record for six consecutive years during the early and mid-1990s. While never quite securing top honors, she featured on the World Championships podium four times between 1989 and 1999 and contributed significantly to Canada’s team victories in 1991, 1993, and 1999. She won five U.S. Masters titles, five U.S. Open titles, and took out the season title on the 1989 Coors Light Water Ski Tour, 1993 Budweiser Water Ski Tour, and twice on the Café de Columbia World Cup in 1997 & 1998.

Champion skier Liz Allen Reid (image: Facebook)

6. Liz Allan

Despite competing in the pre-professional era, Liz accumulated an unparalleled competitive record, possibly unrivaled by any skier, male or female. Over her 13-year career, she clinched 42 U.S. National titles, consistently securing a minimum of two titles each year. In a stunning feat, she emerged victorious in all three events at the U.S. Nationals, World Championships, and U.S. Masters in 1969. She thrived in the slalom event, achieving three world championships (in 1967, 1969, and 1975), two runner-up finishes (in 1965 and 1973), and five U.S. Masters slalom titles, including a run of three consecutive titles (from 1973 to 1975). Given the opportunity to compete in more tournaments she could easily be much higher up this list.

Ontario’s Whitney Mcclintock Rini at the Masters (image: Waterski & Wakeboard Canada)

5. Whitney McClintock Rini

The “Golden Girl” from Canada, Whitney introduced herself to the elite stage by clinching three gold medals (in slalom, trick, and overall) at the 2009 World Championships in Calgary. From 2009 to 2017, she featured on every World Championships slalom podium, earning back-to-back world titles in 2009 and 2011. Her tie with the world record in 2012 and subsequent score of 2.25@10.25m (41’ off) remains a remarkable feat surpassed by only one other skier to this day. She is a former U.S. Masters and U.S. Open slalom champion, but her domination at the Moomba Masters stands out, boasting an impressive streak of eight consecutive victories from 2011 to 2019. Her slalom prowess earned her four seasons as the top ranked elite slalom skier in 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2017.

Sweden's four-time world slalom champion, Helena Kjellander.

Sweden’s four-time world slalom champion, Helena Kjellander. (image: Tumblr)

4. Helena Kjellander

While her brother Mike might be more memorable for his unique slalom style, Helena achieved something her brother could not – dominating the top of the World Championships podium throughout the 1990s. She won an incredible four consecutive World Championships from 1991 to 1997, a feat that remains unparalleled in women’s slalom. Thriving under pressure, two of her victories came in run offs, one against Toni Neville in 1993 and another after a three-way tie with Kristi Overton-Johnson and Susi Graham in 1995.

On the professional circuit, Helena triumphed as a two-time U.S. Masters champion (in 1989 and 1993), back-to-back Moomba Masters titleholder (in 1994 and 1995), and claimed the 1990 Michelob Dry Waterski Tour season championship after a fierce yearlong rivalry with Overton-Johnson and Brush Mapple.

Camille Duvall-Hero was a strong advocate for women’s skiing

Camille Duvall-Hero was a strong advocate for women’s skiing. (image: Tom King)

3. Camille Duvall

Recognized as “the best-known female water skier in history” upon her retirement by USA Today and featured among Sports Illustrated’s “100 Greatest Female Athletes of the Century,” Camille was the poster girl of the pro tour during its inaugural decade. Arguably, the inclusion of women’s skiing in the 1980s’ pro tour owes much to Camille’s marketability and star power.

Demonstrating a dominance that has only ever been matched by Andy Mapple, Camille claimed the tour champion title for an impressive five consecutive seasons (Mapple’s best was also five), winning the Coors Light Water Ski Tour every year from its inception in 1984 to 1988. Remarkably, this streak encompassed over 20 individual tour stop victories throughout the 1980s. In addition to her pro tour achievements, she clinched the 1985 World Championships title and secured a runner-up position in 1987. Notably, 1987 marked her retirement from amateur events, coinciding with her accomplishment as the first woman to earn a six-figure sum in a single year through prize money and endorsements. Camille was also a three-time U.S. Masters champion, with back-to-back wins in 1986 and 1987.

Her contributions to the sport transcend her on-water triumphs. In 1990, she initiated and managed the breakaway PAWS Budget Rent-a-Car Waterski Tour, an endeavor aimed at improving skiing conditions and prize money for athletes. Even after retiring, Camille continued her involvement by assuming roles as a reporter and producer for ESPN, Fox Sports, and other platforms, consistently promoting professional water skiing.

Elite Skier Kristi Overton Johnson USA (image: IWSF)

2. Kristi Overton-Johnson

Kristi Overton-Johnson, talented from a young age, initially found success in trick skiing, claiming back-to-back victories at the 1985 and 1986 U.S. Masters. However, her career really took off after she decided to specialize in slalom from 1989 onwards. A trailblazer, Kristi was the first woman to run 10.75m (39.5’ off), setting a world record of 1@10.25m (41’ off) in 1996 that remained unbroken until Regina Jaquess managed an extra quarter buoy 14 years later.

She was a six-time U.S. Masters champion, four-time U.S. Open champion, and secured multiple Moomba Masters titles, including back-to-back victories in 1996 and 1997. Kristi’s dominance earned her the season titles of the 1992, 1994, and 1995 Budweiser Water Ski Tour, the 1999 Café de Columbia World Cup, back-to-back season titles on the U.S. Pro Water Ski and Wakeboard Tour in 2000 and 2001, and an unbeaten season during the 2000 World Cup series (wining eight out of eight events). Her pro tour achievements are even more impressive when you consider that women’s events were excluded from the U.S. Pro Tour from 1996 to 1999, during the peak of her career.

Perhaps the unluckiest skier in the history of World Championships, Kristi scored enough to win the gold in both 1995 and 1997, only to lose due to bad boat times. She won her sole World Championships in 1999, ending Helena Kjellander’s reign on top of the podium.

Regina Jaquess comeback story (image: Andrews Sports Medicine)

1. Regina Jaquess

Perhaps the greatest water skier, male of female, of all time. Regina emerged as an extraordinary talent from a tender age, securing a world trick championship shortly after her 17th birthday. Just two years later, she clinched her first of five world overall titles. However, it’s the slalom event that has been the cornerstone of her success.

Throughout her illustrious career, Regina has either broken or equaled the slalom world record on nine occasions, holding the record continuously since 2009. Incredibly, she has run 10.75m (39.5′ off) more than all other women combined. Her achievements include a maiden slalom World Championships victory in 2005, followed by consistent appearances on the slalom podium from 2011 to 2021, including trio of consecutive wins from 2013 to 2017. On the professional circuit, she has seized over 50 slalom titles, winning in more than 60% of the events she’s ever participated in. Notably, she has secured nine U.S. Masters slalom titles spanning from 2008 to 2022, achieving five consecutive victories from 2012 to 2016. While she has claimed victory in the trick event on the Yarra, the only discernible gap in Jaquess’ remarkable legacy appears to be the absence of a Moomba Masters slalom title.

Her achievements are even more impressive when you consider that since 2010 she has owned and operated a compounding pharmacy in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Remarkably, she has managed to find a balance between training, competing, and running a business, underscoring her unparalleled dedication and prowess in the world of professional water skiing.

Honorable Mentions:

Sue Fieldhouse

Featured on back-to-back World Championships podiums in 1979 and 1981, including a memorable tournament in 1981 where she broke the world record and became the first woman to ever run 12m (35’ off) in the final but finished in third under the two-rounds added together format. She won an incredible six consecutive Moomba Masters slalom titles from 1977 to 1982. Sue was tragically killed in a car accident in 1983.

Jennifer Leachman LaPoint

A three-time world record holder, Jennifer helped advance the record from 4@11.25m (38’ off) to 3@10.75m (39.5’ off) between 1985 and 1996. She won the 1998 Moomba Masters and was the season champion of the 1991 Michelob Dry Waterski Tour.

Perhaps her greatest legacy, when women’s skiing was dropped from the pro tour in the late 90s, Jennifer spearheaded the Women in Water Skiing (WOW) Tour that gave a platform to female athletes across all three events and wakeboarding on Fox Sports.

Karina Nowlan

The second woman to run 10.75m (39.5’ off), the Australian co-held the world record with Kristi Overton Johnson before Regina took it off them in 2010. She finished up as the number one elite slalomer in 2008 and picked up bronze medals at the 2007 and 2009 World Championships.

Karen Truelove

Picked up two World Championships medals, including a runner-up finish in 2007. She is a two-time U.S. Masters champion, three-time U.S. Open champion, and a four-time Moomba Masters champion. Karen was also the number one ranked elite slalomer in 2002 and 2007.

Jaime Bull

Had a breakthrough season in 2021, winning the U.S. Masters and World Championships. Jaimee has finished at the top of the standings during the first two seasons of the Waterski Pro Tour. Still in her early 20s, we expect Jaime will finish her career high on this list if she can maintain her current trajectory.

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.

Greatest Slalom Skiers Ranked

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

Rankings

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

Greatest Slalom Skiers Ranked

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

By RTB

Top 10 Rankings


When it comes to slalom skiing, ‘righties’ dominate. Whether it’s because they have an inherent advantage or simply a larger pool of skiers to pull from, that remains an open question. Nevertheless, the world of slalom skiing has seen its fair share of exceptional ‘lefties’ over the years.

From late starters who defied the odds to consistent big-match players, these skiers have consistently displayed their skill and precision on the water. In this article, we take a closer look at the ten greatest male left-foot-forward slalom skiers of all time. Their impressive achievements and contributions to the sport have earned them a well-deserved place in the annals of water 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 left-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!

Jason McClintock Slalom Skiing

Image: McClintock’s Ski School

10. Jason McClintock

From the legendary McClintock family, which has an impressive tally of eight open world titles to their name, “JMAC” was no exception. The Canadian’s talent shone brightly early on, securing the junior world slalom championship in 2004. Throughout the following decade, from 2008 to 2018, he was a regular on the professional circuit. Not only did his talent in slalom and trick contribute to Canada’s triumphs in team titles in 2009 and 2015, but he also earned himself a silver medal in slalom at the 2017 world championships held in Paris, France.

Jonathan Travers Slalom Ski

Image: HO Sports

9. Jonathan Travers

Raised under the tutelage of his father, the world renowned coach Jack Travers, at their Central Florida ski school, Jon Travers was always destined to be a star. Establishing himself as a prominent figure on the professional circuit since his teenage years, he achieved victory at the Under-21 World Championships in 2009 and claimed the U.S. Masters title in 2011. Notably, Travers is a member of the exclusive club of skiers who have successfully run the 10.25m (41’ off) during a tournament.

Joel Howley put his body on the line to win gold at the World Championships

Image: Joel Howley (via Youtube)

8. Joel Howley

The eccentric Australian was a late starter in the sport, not competing in his first tournament until the age of 18. Despite this, his unconventional training methods proved to be effective. Howley won the 2019 world championships in Malaysia, beating Will Asher and Freddie Winter in an exciting three-way runoff. Skiing in challenging conditions, Howley threw himself (unsuccessfully) outside of two for the quarter buoy on his 10.25m (41’ off) pass. The resulting fall broke his ankle, but with Asher still to come he kept the injury a secret to ensure his competitor remained unaware of his inability to participate in any subsequent runoff. Howley was a regular on the professional circuit pre-Covid, frequently finishing in the top 5 at major events but has kept a relatively low profile in recent years. We hope to see him back on the tour in the future!

Lucky Lowe Slalom World Champion

Image: Edward Wadsworth

7. Lucky Lowe

Initially known for his prowess in jumping, Lowe achieved remarkable success with jump wins at the U.S. Masters, multiple pro tour stops, and a silver medal at the 1985 World Championships. However, it was in the slalom event where he blossomed later in his career. Striving to make the U.S. Elite Water Ski Team, Lowe honed his slalom and tricks skills, contributing significantly to the team’s four consecutive titles from 1979 to 1985. Notably, at the 1991 World Championships in Austria, he participated in a three-way run off for the gold medal against Andy Mapple and Mike Kjellander, resulting in one of the most exhilarating slalom battles in history. Lowe emerged victorious in 1991 and followed it up with a bronze medal in 1993.

Image: AWWF

6. Brett Thurley

Brett Thurley, the plucky Australian red-head, thrived in adverse conditions. Hailing from Tasmania, Thurley’s tenacity and competitive spirit set him apart as a scrappy competitor. Remembered primarily for his victory at the 1993 world championships held in Singapore, Thurley became the first Australian to win a world slalom title. During the late eighties and early nineties, he became a familiar face on the U.S. Pro Tour, leaving his mark with a tour stop victory in Madison, WI in 1988. Additionally, he earned the Moomba Masters champion title twice, in 1986 and 1995.

New Zealand waterskier Aaron Larkin slaloming

Image: Radar Skis

5. Aaron Larkin

The loud and boisterous kiwi was a formidable competitor, renowned for his ability to perform under pressure. Despite well-known struggles with turning his off-side at 10.25m (41′ off), his remarkable consistency in reaching two-ball, regardless of the conditions, always kept him in the running. Particularly dominant on the Yarra, he secured top-three finishes at the Moomba Masters six times between 2007 and 2014, achieving back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011. Larkin’s exceptional performance throughout 2011, which included a second-place finish at the World Championships, earned him the prestigious top spot on the elite ranking list for that year.

Larkin has since run the 10.25m (41′ off) pass at 55kph (34mph) after his retirement from professional skiing.

Jeff Rodgers Slalom Skiing

Image: USA-WWF Hall of Fame (via Youtube)

4. Jeff Rodgers

The ‘Cinderella Story’ of water skiing, Jeff Rodgers, a working-class well-driller from South Carolina will forever be etched in the record books as the first man to run 10.25m (41’ off). Rodgers prioritized his career and family over water skiing, rarely traveling outside of the U.S. in an era where professional water skiing expanded into a global circuit of events. He achieved modest success in the early nineties on the Budwesier Water Ski Tour, securing two tour stop titles. However, it was in 1997 that Rodgers truly made waves, snatching the world record from Andy Mapple’s grasp for the first time since 1988 with an impressive score of 5 @ 10.25m (41’ off) in his home state of South Carolina. The very next round he followed up with his historic 1 @ 9.75m (43’ off). Then, when the world championships came to Florida in 2003, he clinched the gold. A true master when the conditions aligned, Rodgers’ potential dominance will always remain an intriguing “what if” in the sport’s history.

Jaime Beauchesne Slalom Skiing

Image: Todd Ristorcelli (via Waterski Journal)

3. Jamie Beauchesne

The elusive American who soared to the pinnacle of the sport only to step away, remains a figure of intrigue. Renowned for his exceptional talent, he showcased ability both on powder and water, often taking extended breaks from water skiing to hit the slopes during winter, sometimes up to 6 months. Bursting onto the scene in the mid-nineties, he claimed the title of junior world slalom champion in 1994 and followed it up the next year with a victory in his debut professional tournament. A meticulous technician, Beauchesne was a trailblazer in numerous technical innovations during the early 2000’s. In 2003, he further cemented his legacy, tying the world record and becoming the third skier ever to run 10.25m (41’ off). His impressive track record includes two U.S. Masters championships in 2004 and 2007, and a remarkable winning percentage of nearly 25% in the final decade of his career. Yet, right at the peak of his dominance, midway through the 2012 season, he made the abrupt decision to bid farewell to water skiing—for good.

Helena & Mike Kjellander (Image: NT)

2. Mike Kjellander

The big strapping Swede was known for his distinctive slalom style. A mainstay on the U.S. pro tour, he entertained audiences with his characteristic slam dunk on-side turns. Kjellander’s dominance was evident as he clinched the season championships three times on the U.S Pro Tour in 1985, 1988, and 1990, securing a remarkable 15 tour stop victories amidst fierce competition from renowned skiers like Andy Mapple, Bob, and Kris LaPoint. He was two-time U.S. Masters champion (in 1989 and 1993) and Moomba Masters champion (in 1988 and 1992). Kjellander was the first skier to run the 10.75m (39.5’ off) pass, holding the world record outright for less than 24 hours until Andy Mapple tied him in the 2nd round. Despite his stellar achievements, world championship gold eluded him, with Kjellander finishing agonizingly close as a runner-up in 1991 and 1995.

Chris Parrish Slalom Skiing

Chris Parrish USA makes it look easy (Image: IWWF)

1. Chris Parrish

Nicknamed ‘The Tower’ for his imposing six-foot-five stature and extraordinary wingspan, Parrish could have been built in a laboratory for slalom skiing. He burst onto the scene in 1996, claiming victory at the junior world championships, setting the stage for a remarkable career. Over two decades of professional skiing, Parrish’s prowess earned him numerous accolades, including four Moomba Masters titles (in 2000, 2008, 2009, and 2013) and two U.S. Masters championships (in 2002 and 2005). For an impressive eight years, he held the world record, surpassing it three times between 2005 and 2010. In 2002, he unseated the legendary Andy Mapple to become the top elite skier in the world, a distinction he held for three seasons, notably dominating in 2005 with six out of nine pro event wins. Despite occasional battles with consistency, Parrish remained a formidable force, securing a spot in the top 10 elite rankings for over a decade. Perhaps the one blemish on his otherwise illustrious record, Parrish never won a world championships, losing to Mapple by just one buoy in 2001.

Honorable Mentions:

Dane Mechler and Robert Pigozzi

Two young, up-and-coming skiers who are members of the exclusive 10.25m (41-off) club.

John McElyea

Former world record holder and a regular finalist on the Coors Light Water Ski Tour during its inaugural season.

Patrice Martin, Mike Hazelwood, and Kreg Llewellyn

Though primarily overall skiers, these athletes earned world championship medals in slalom.

Robby Zucchi, Chuck Stearns, and Joe Cash

Measuring success in the pre-professional era is challenging, but all three of these men deserve credit as world champions and pioneers of the sport.