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Winter Haven: The Water Ski Capital of the World

July 2nd 2022 marks the one centesimal anniversary of the game of water ski. And the place higher to have a good time than in Winter Haven and Polk County? Stunning lakes, bountiful alternatives, and lovely climate are a giant purpose why Polk County is the Water Ski Capital of the World.

Cypress Gardens water ski team skiing on Lake Eloise

Winter Haven: The Water Ski Capital of the World

For water skiers, no location is as storied because the banks of Lake Eloise, the house of Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven. It’s becoming that the central level within the sport’s centennial celebration is right here in Florida’s Sweetest Spot. Be taught all about how we’re celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Sport of Water Ski!

Historical past

Water snowboarding could have been born in Minnesota, but it surely grew to maturity in Winter Haven, due to Cypress Gardens. Quickly, Hollywood took notice and filmed quite a few films and TV exhibits there.

Because the water ski craze caught on, celebrities quickly flocked to Lake Eloise to have their images taken with Cypress Gardens water skiers. Such notables included Johnny Carson and Carol Burnett.

Carol Burnett skiing at Cypress Gardens in 1961.

Carol Burnett snowboarding at Cypress Gardens, 1961. Polk County Historical past Middle assortment, 2001.30.061

On the similar time, lots of the water skiers themselves turned stars. Willa McGuire Prepare dinner turned Cypress Gardens’ prima ballerina — and an inventor in her personal proper with the creation of the swivel ski, permitting her to pivot on the water like a dancer on stage.

And the world took discover. Quickly, different water-bound daredevils discovered their approach to Winter Haven to work with, and compete in opposition to, different water skier. The creating recognition of expertise athletes and innovators had been a artistic whirlpool. Extra water ski data have been set and improvements created on the waters of Winter Haven than wherever else on the earth.

Cypress Gardens Water Ski Team

Immediately, that custom continues. Data proceed to be set in Winter Haven due to the semi-annual Chain of Data occasion. Moreover, there are extra water ski colleges per sq. mile in Winter Haven than wherever else within the nation. In reality, lots of the instructors had been as soon as Cypress Gardens water skiers themselves. College students come from all world wide, together with Belgium, Mexico, Colombia, Germany, England, and Australia.


In 2011, when LEGOLAND Florida formally opened its doorways, the park wished to verify they honored the entire historical past from the unique theme park, Cypress Gardens. With it being residence to a preferred ski present and the location of some films that integrated early watersports like synchronized swimming (search for Esther Williams and Florida-shaped pool), Lake Eloise has been the location of waterski exhibits for the reason that Thirties! In 2011, the lake was invaded by Captain Brickbeard and his crew who’ve labored to ascertain their latest academy of pirates on the location of a lot wealthy historical past (as a result of, let’s face it, they love something that’s “wealthy” or shiny!)

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