FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

United States, Waterskiing

May 1, 2010
2010 / May 2010

I did not take to waterskiing like a duck to water. The mistake I made was basic; and if I were to try again, I am sure I would soon be gliding across the water with ease. But in order to try again I would have to overcome the humiliation and pain of my first attempt. Twenty-five years on, I don’t think I’m ready yet.

It took thousands of years for humans to master the seemingly miraculous feat of standing on water. The sport’s beginnings were far removed from the modern incarnation, with its fiberglass skis, neoprene wetsuits, purpose-made towlines and expensive speedboats.

The world’s first documented waterskier was 18-year-old Ralph Samuelson of Minnesota. In 1922, in the wake of a motorboat steered by his brother, he skimmed across the surface of Lake Pepin on a pair of staves from a wooden barrel. He was holding onto a curtain sash attached to a towrope.

From these humble, homespun origins, waterskiing advanced rapidly. Ralph set about customizing his equipment, and by 1925 he was skiing over jumps and was even pulled at 80 mph behind a Curtiss Flying Boat. By then, the waterskiing craze was rapidly spreading across America.

The spirit of amateur improvisation was soon overtaken by formal rules and regulations. The International Water Ski Federation was established in 1946, followed by the first World Championship in 1949. So it was, in 1985, that the baton of waterskiing history was briefly passed to me. I dropped it.

The setting was a lake on the outskirts of Seoul, South Korea. Aged 18, I was there with my family, two friends, their father and glamorous stepmother. We had a picnic on the shore, and then, at a pre-arranged time, we all walked to the rickety jetty that served as the local waterskiing center.

I volunteered to go first. It was a sweltering summer’s day, and I was eager to cool off in the lake. I refused to wear a wetsuit, but the lifejacket was mandatory. The chore of clipping myself into it was made worthwhile by an offer of help from my friends’ stepmother.

I dropped off the jetty into the soothing water and put on the skis. “Keep your knees bent, don’t try to stand,” said the American instructor. “The boat will pull you up. If you straighten up too soon, you’ll fall on your face.”

I gripped the towline. The gurgling speedboat choked into life. The line tightened. “Go, Richard,” shouted the blonde stepmother. As I rose out of the water, I straightened my legs. The lake instantly rushed up to meet my face. The skis came off. For a few seconds I scudded across the surface on my stomach before releasing my grip. The din of the speedboat faded into the distance. I could hear the laughter of the spectators on the jetty.

Returning to shore, I discovered that during my ill-fated attempt the towline had rubbed across both of my thighs, burning them. I would bear the scars for the rest of the summer. The psychological scars still haven’t healed.

If only I had known then about barefoot skiing. Dragged behind the boat without my skis, I was perfectly set up to swing myself into a sitting position. Then — once the speedboat exceeded the minimum speed of 28 mph — I could have raised myself onto my soles. I would truly have been walking on water. The attractive stepmother would have been awestruck.

Instead, for days afterwards, she ribbed me mercilessly about my undignified failure. Thus, through waterskiing, I discovered that life is not a fairytale.

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Daily
Jun 1, 2020

Portugal Plans for Reopening Next Week

Over the last three–four weeks, Portugal made significant strides in slowly, but surely, reopening the country for travel. As of May 18, Portugal further loosened restrictions by ending the country’s COVID-19 State of Emergency status while continuing social distancing.

The Perfect Fit

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, small businesses create two-thirds of net new jobs and account for nearly 48 percent of the U.S. private sector workforce. And small- and medium-sized businesses outpace all other sectors as one of the fastest-growing in the United States. InterContinental® Hotels Group (IHG) goes above and beyond to create opportunities for this segment with its IHG® Business Edge program, voted Best Small- to Mid-Sized Business Program in Global Traveler’s 2019 GT Tested Reader Survey awards.

Daily
Jun 1, 2020

United Airlines Launches United CleanPlus Partnership with Clorox, Healthcare Experts

United Airlines introduces United CleanPlus, a partnership with Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic. The company is committed to putting health and safety at the forefront of the entire customer experience, and hopes to deliver an industry-leading standard of cleanliness. This partnership brings together Clorox and some of the country’s top medical experts from the Cleveland Clinic to help guide United Airlines’ new cleaning, safety and social distancing protocols.

Daily
May 29, 2020

6 Reasons We Can’t Wait to #ComeBacktoTravel to the Florida Keys

At FXExpress Publications, Inc., we can’t wait to #ComeBacktoTravel, and we can’t wait for the travel industry and others to #ComeBacktoGT. Join us over the next several weeks as we entice you with photos from some of the places we’re most excited to visit. Take a visual journey through some of the Florida Keys’ most breathtaking sights with us, just in time for the June 1 reopening.

Earn and Redeem with oneworld

oneworld is an alliance of 13 world-leading airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and connecting you to more than 1,100 destinations around the world.

Daily
May 29, 2020

Four Seasons Resort Revamps Reef Club

Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa unveiled its newly renovated Reef Club. The Mediterranean eatery offers the warm vibes of the southern coast of Europe, combined with views of the Maldives.

eFlyer News
May 27, 2020

Abu Dhabi Launches Safe and Clean Certification Program

A first of its kind in the region, The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi launched a safe and clean certification program. The program seeks to uplift and standardize cleanliness and hygiene levels across all businesses and organizations in the tourism sector, including hotels, malls and other attractions. DCT Abu Dhabi will offer certifications that ensure compliance of standardized hygiene levels, and the program will roll out in phases, with the first dedicated to hotels.

Five Things You Need to Know About Punta Cana’s New Finest Resort

Finding a beachfront Punta Cana all-inclusive resort for all ages can be daunting when you want to take home great memories with loved ones but also experience a sophisticated escape. Now, you can have both thanks to a new resort: Finest Punta Cana.

eFlyer Deals
May 27, 2020

Uniworld Celebrates “The Heroes Among Us” with Complimentary Cruise

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is celebrating the heroes. Travelers can nominate the unsung heroes in their lives for a chance to be selected for one of 25 complimentary, seven-night European river cruises for two through July 31.