August 2007

Water Skiing: Alive And Well In Arizona

Diana LeSueur
ON YOUR KNEES -- According to the local INT watersports group, youngsters are enjoying kneeboarding. This division seems to be a less-intimidating start to water skiing and wakeboarding for some of the smaller kids. Visit or e-mail for more information.

By Janet Bosley

Where do you water ski in Arizona? Is there any water? Well, the answers to those questions are there are several places and yes.

Water skiing is alive and well in Arizona and is strongly supported by two different sanctioning organizations — one being USA Water Ski and the other, the somewhat “new kid on the block” the International Novice Tour, better know as INT.

 The Sate directors for this organization are Janet Bosley and daughter Diana LeSueur (accomplished local skier). The Bosleys have been ramrodding this organization for three seasons now, having taken over the reins from Scott and Senta Givens.

INT offers fun and friendly competition for water skiers of all ages and ability levels. They differ in the competition venue from USA Water Ski in the fact that INT competes against ability levels, and USA competes against age groups. Competitors range from age 6 to 60 and up and in ability level from early beginners to pro. (Pro is a new division for INT started last year and has a cash prize.)

On Lakes Throughout The State

Skiing in Arizona can be found on the public lakes from the St. Johns area at Lyman Lake to Roosevelt Lake all the way down and across to Lake Pleasant. In between, you will find skiers on several private water-ski lakes sprinkled across the Valley from the Queen Creek area to west of Buckeye.

Michelle Merkley, pro-shop manager at Century Marine, states that ski sales have increased over the last two or three years after having slipped considerably when wakeboarding made its debut and became “the thing to do.” 

INT coordinators invited Andy Mapple, world champion skier, to visit the Valley this last spring and give some valued tips to many of the local skiers. Skier Diana LeSueur was part of the Andy Mapple clinic at the newest private water-ski facility in the Valley, Spring Mountain Ski Ranch, located west of Buckeye.

LeSueur, after having been into skiing for only five years, has competed in the USA Regional competition competition and will be again this year with the hopes of qualifying for Nationals.

She has competed at INT United States Championships every year for four years now and has won her division in the past. 

Skiers, whether they compete or not, have many venues from which to choose when the urge hits them to take to the water. This is a great family sport and can be enjoyed even when you are out with wake boarders “buzzing all over.”

INT has primarily been water skiers in Arizona for a number of years; however, the organization nationally is big in wakeboarding and knee boarding (mostly youngsters).
Water-ski lessons are available in the Phoenix area. For more information on any water-ski-related questions, you can call Century Marine — the largest  Pro Shop and most experienced staff in Arizona.

And, There’s Kneeboarding Too

One of the youth programs started this year is knee boarding. INT has five brand-new, under-12 participants. Two are entry-level skiers, two are entry-level knee boarders, and one is an entry-level wakeboarder. 

There are several teenagers who participate in the skiing and a crew of various ability levels who are getting the wakeboarding onto the water for INT this year. INT is a very family oriented organization, strongly encouraging participation of parents alongside their kids.

Bosley says the goal is to increase participation from both the moms and dads who have kids already involved and the kids who are not old enough yet but whose mothers and fathers are participating. If the kids wakeboard, their parents can wakeboard or ski and everyone supports everyone.

United States Championships for INT has close to 400 participants with the first- and second-place skiers in each division from each state being invited.