Water skiing was invented by two brothers, Ralph and Ben Samuelson, in Minnesota, U.S.A. in the summer of 1922. It all begun with a hypothesis that if snow skiing was possible, then skiing over a body of water at high speed was also possible. Ralph was already an expert at aquaplaning (riding a board over water while being towed by a motorboat) The brothers tested out their theory on Lake Pepin in Lake City, Minnesota and were delightfully pleased with the result. Ralph used a pair of boards as skis while his brother pulled him using a clothesline as a tow rope at 20 miles an hour (32 kph). Ralph experimented with a number different positions over several days. He discovered that the most effective method was achieved by leaning back on the boards and allowing the tips to stick out of the water. The brothers also tested out several varying types of equipment to find the optimal method of skiing on water. These included snow skis and barrel staves. He eventually settled on skis he designed using 8 feet long by 9-inch wide pine boards. Samuelson bent the front tips upwards steaming them over a kettle of boiling water.
Having gained confidence, Ralph went on to jump wakes on 28th June, 1922, he took to ski jumping on 25th July 1925, and in the same year became the first speed skier. Ralph never pursued a patent for any of his designs but was credited as the original inventor of water skiing in1966 by the American Water Ski Association. Other notable people who advanced the sport include; Fred Waller who obtained the first patent for water skis and Dick Pope, a promoter often referred to as the founder of American water skiing.
In Australia, the first person to water ski was Edward Arthur Parker in 1934. This was at the Hen & Chicken Bay, Sydney Harbour. The skis were made by imitating the designs seen in an American Magazine. Since then water skiing has grown in popularity tremendously. Australia is a world leader in water skiing and currently has a high number of individuals who have won numerous National and World Titles, most notably is 14 time Australian Champion and World competitor Ryan Green who is from Geraldton Western Australia.