By TJ Palmer

George Adams

George Adams

George Adams is 72 and still skiing fast, water skiing fast that is. Bet you didn’t know a person in there seventies still enjoys being whipped behind a speedboat at 55mph before most of us wake up in the morning.

On Saturday, June 27th, as sleepy Wolfeboro woke up to a new day, 40 or so water skiers had already assembled for the 27th Annual New Hampshire Open Water Ski Tournament. Held in Back Bay, a quiet and shielded little spit of water nestled just off Main Street, a collection of some of the top “senior” talent in the East gathered to put skis to water.

They came to Wolfeboro from Maine, Vermont, and Connecticut. George had a relatively short ride from Barrington, NH, a journey he’s been making for over 25 years. Water skiing has been enjoyed on Lake Winnipesaukee for at least half a century. If you’ve been visiting the Lakes Region for some time, you might remember the early days of human pyramids, bare-footing and ski jumping that were all part of the antics of the water ski shows from the ‘70’s and ‘80’s in Wolfeboro Bay. This was also a time of “marathon” racing, which meant crisscrossing Lake Winnipesaukee at high speeds for unimaginable distances of 60 miles or more.

State permitting and increasing boat traffic put the kibosh on those activities, but several hard-core skiers diplomatically moved activities into Back Bay in 1981 and the Abenaki Water Ski Club has been active there ever since. It boasts the only slalom course on Lake Winnipesaukee and the only site in the entire state to be able to host a three-event [slalom, tricks, jumping] tournament.

George was first on the towline. Yanked to a standing position in seconds, George skied his first pass making all six buoys. On his second run he successfully skied five buoys. With a $1,500 slalom ski on his feet, and a smile on his face, George skimmed over the water at breakneck speed.

Born in Massachusetts, he did his early skiing on Baboosic Lake near Manchester, NH, and now skis with buddies three or four times a week in Barrington, NH. During the week, he sets up his own course and goes for “30 at 32 off” to compete for bragging rights in the neighborhood. On Saturday, the 27th, he was looking to compile points for the tournament.

Like most intense, physical sports, tournament water skiing isn’t for everyone. You have to defy nature by staying fit and you have to avoid injury – or being willing to come back from them. George broke an arm when his hand got stuck in the handle, and tore both his ACL and MCL many years back. His only comment about his injuries was how good the doctor was.

A small, tight-knit fraternity of athletes, these skiers share stories, ask advice about technique, and see each other all summer at the various tournaments.
And they are on the water early.

Bet you didn’t know…

Bill Putnam, Men's Six division

Bill Putnam, Men’s Six division