IWSF Wakeboard Committee Report
To the EB Meeting 1998
September 20, 1998
When I was asked to chair the Wakeboard Committee, I set several goals. First of all, I wanted to get a group of people that were interested in promoting wakeboard throughout the world and to try to make a set of uniform rules that could be used around the world from amateur to professional events. I hope to have a list of contacts in every country that is involved in the sport of wakeboarding so that information could be disseminated for future events. Another mailing list of actual wakeboarders throughout the world would be a good idea and would be possible through the federations if they kept a categorized list of their members. I also felt it was important to get the leadership of this committee into the hands of the wakeboard community so that the wakeboarders would accept this committee and its decisions as their own. The most important goal I set was to get the WWA to join the IWSF and create a joint voice for wakeboard that would be heard around the world.
We did provide technical requirements for wakeboard events to several interested sponsors for future world class events. I was also able to make contact with most of the federations that are participating in wakeboard events. I started an e-mail list so that I could contact each federation quickly if we needed any wakeboard information. The federations that have rules generally used the WWA rules from the pro-tour. EAME had their own rules but were almost the same as the WWA rules. The problem with making a uniform set of rules at this time is that the WWA underwent a major change in format this year and switched from freestyle and expression session to the "free ride" format. They wanted to wait to see how this new format was accepted before they printed new rules. At this time the "free ride" format is the official WWA format, so I think we can come up with a combined rulebook that includes all 3 choices for formats at amateur events. The only format acceptable for professional events at this time is the "free ride". This new format was used at all of the pro-tour stops, the Van Triple Crown, the US Nationals, and will be used at the World Championships. It has spectator appeal and is compatible with the television production. I would anticipate this winter that a new joint rulebook could be produced that would incorporate the "free ride" format.
Another goal was to try to have wakeboard included in the exhibition for the IOC with the hope that it could be included in the Olympics. We were excited to be invited to participate in the exhibition in Greece and would like to thank the IWSF for including wakeboard in the demonstration.
I felt that as a member of WWA and a Pro-tour judge, that I had the respect and trust of the pro riders and most of the members of the WWA board. Most importantly I felt like I could serve as a liaison between Jimmy Redmon and the IWSF. I have worked with Jimmy for several years and I know that he is the founder and the leader of WWA and the sport of competitive wakeboard and I value his opinion and judgement on all wakeboard matters. I felt like if we could get Jimmy involved as a member of this committee that would be the key to the acceptance and success of this committee. I also felt that if Jimmy were on the committee, everyone would know that we were not competing with the WWA but trying to work with the WWA. I am glad to say that he has taken an active role on the committee and the progress we have made has been largely due to his involvement.
I think these goals were met, and I am excited that the WWA is very interested in joining forces with the IWSF. I have talked to many of the WWA board members and they are in favor of a merger. We now have to work out the details. The AWSA has come to an understanding with the WWA to form a US Wakeboard Association that would be under the US Waterski umbrella as a sports division, with the assumption that the WWA and the IWSF will form a similar agreement. In my discussions with the WWA board members and with Jimmy Redmon, they kept saying that they were interested, but wanted to meet with someone from the IWSF. Vern agreed to meet with Jimmy and in July, a meeting was held in Vancouver, Canada. The meeting was very successful and Vern will report on the progress of this meeting. The bottom line is that they want to be a part of the IWSF family with a couple of reservations. They are concerned about their World Championships that are held annually (unlike the other IWSF Championships). They have held these Championships for many years and it is their primary source of income. They wish to be recognized by the IWSF as the international governing body of the sport of wakeboarding. Most importantly, they want to be assured that they will run their own organization and make their own rules. They do not want to be considered as an add-on to traditional water skiing at major events. They want to continue to hold their own professional events. At this point they have agreed in principle to a merger, and are waiting for a proposal from the IWSF as to the details of such a merger. Basically Jimmy Redmon said that they are waiting for a follow up from the meeting with Vern and once they receive the recognition from the IWSF they will form a Wakeboard Council if that is the wish of the IWSF Executive Board. I have heard some reservations about this merger, but I sincerely think we can work out the problems I have heard. The WWA does have industry representatives on their board along with the athletes and the elected at large members, but this is due to the differences in the sport. This sport is industry driven and there is a lot of industry motivation at the board level, but everyone has the same goals and that is to promote the sportů. The more people we have on wakeboards the more wakeboards will be sold and the more competitors we will have at our events and the more members we will have. Wakeboard has brought several new sponsors to our events and it is exciting to see the interest in a new sport.
With the belief that a merger will take place, several of our projects have been put on hold. The WWA already has a mailing list and contacts throughout the world. I have been in contact with their new executive director, Janifer Ellis and she is working hard to reorganize their databases. Rather than duplicate these efforts I decided to hold off on some of these goals until I get the feelings of the executive board as to the direction of the committee and the merger. I think it is very important to join forces with the WWA and I hope we can work out the details of the merger. We both have the same goals and it is not necessary to have two such organizations competing when we can all work together to promote the sport of wakeboarding.
Thank you for allowing me to help get this committee started and I hope that we will soon merge with the WWA and this committee can be chaired by the WWA chair. It has been my intent to step down when the WWA chair is ready to take over. If I can be of any further assistance I will be glad to help.
IWSF Wakeboard Committee