Water Ski Racing Hall of Fame - Europe and Africa Confederation. You can see more details by clicking on the images.


Water Ski Racing pioneer

Water Ski Racing skier

Water Ski Racing skier

Water Ski Racing skier


Water Ski Racing skier

Water Ski Racing skier

Water Ski Racing skier

Water Ski Racing pioneer


Water Ski Racing pioneer

Water Ski Racing skier

Water Ski Racing skier

LUIS MUSSACH (SPA) - Water Ski Racing pioneer

The beginning... the Tarrida family used one engine on their boat and they came from time to time to by parts and accessories and Luis gave normally an especial discount and a day they agreed to build a boat with two engines one their property and the other property of the Company that Luis worked for. Then Luis was Spanish Judge and one day Mr. Antonio Raventós, President of the Spanish Federation took him to Lyon, he was examinated by surprise as international Judge by John Hoiles and Hugo Engelen.

Luis was member (1986-1991) and then Secretary General (1992-2004) of EAME Racing Council whilst Jean Marie Muller was President, also when Paul Jensch took over in 2004. Paul stepped down due to work commitments and Luis took over for a year. Mike Waterman then took the chair in 2006 after Luis indicated he wanted a rest after 20 years on the Council.

Luis was very influential in 3 worlds in Spain in 1985, 1999 and 2013- usually the main organiser and driving force who made them happen in great style.

He was a very experienced international Judge- Chief Judge at Worlds in Australia in 1997, and a Judge at least three other World championships. Luis was Chief Judge at very many European Races and member World Racing Council in 2003 and 2005. He was a hugely respected wise counsel for many of us for many years.


Technically very knowledgeable about boat engines on a professional level, he was also very influential and helpful to Spanish teams seeking to get on the water and a charming gentleman within the sport.

DARREN KIRKLAND (GBR) - Water Ski Racing skier

DARREN KIRKLAND... An extraordinary water ski racing story.

In a career spanning 5 decades, this guy has become an absolute icon in the sport of Water Ski Racing.From humble beginnings at the Seasalter Ski Club, next door to Whitstable in Kent, Darren (affectionately known early on as “little legs”) showed great natural ability from a very early age, and was soon winning races in the younger age categories with his Uncle and Driver, Vic Austin and firstly his Dad, and then Don Carter observing. It was not unusual for Darren to ski in the main race as well as the age category, usually excelling in both.

Darren has been at the top of the tree in GB water ski racing for some 30 years, and is still seen as the one you have to beat. He won the GB F1 title 16, yes 16 times as well as multiple Dauphin/Junior and Formula 2 titles.

Likewise he is enormously well respected at European and World levels. To relate his record to the Viersel Diamond Race as we are in Belgium, Darren first emerged on the main race scene as an exceptional F2 skier beating all-comers at home in GB and being second in the Diamond Race F2 in 1984 and winning here in 1985, and across Europe.

He then moved up to Formula 1 and has been there ever since—yes for 30 years,...surely a feat of longevity unequalled by any other European ski racer for sure, and all the time at the very top level too!

Darren won the F1 Men Viersel Diamond Race outright 5 times, was second 7 times and third 5 times, YES that’s a remarkable 17 podium finishes, and in some cases where he came second he was actually the first European skier across the line.

In terms of Europe Cup series, Darren has secured many individual race wins, and took the series at least 3 times—it may well have been more. As regards the European Championships (nowadays a week-long event) he won that event 5 times with countless individual race wins and many other podiums over the years.

He has won the Giro De Lario classic on Lake Como in Italy, and won the Catalina Island offshore Race out of Long Beach, California once, although he was also placed 2nd in that event 5 times.

At World level, Darren has competed in 12 World Championships since 1985, the last time being in Tenerife in 2013 and would have done many more but for team availability and/or the necessary finances. No Racing Skier has however competed in more World Championships!. Darren won a Silver medal in the Worlds in 1999 in Oropesa, Spain, following a Bronze in Australia two years previously, but would have won outright in Belgium in 1995 but for a sickening mechanical failure when well placed in the final race of that series, here in Viersel. He also came 4th in the Worlds on no less than 4 other occasions—so he was always in the running!. The Gold medal has sadly eluded him but he has nevertheless had a Golden Ski Racing career, in all other respects, by any standard. Not only that, but he is the consummate sportsman, and an excellent ambassador for the sport, who has passed on his experience gladly to many aspiring champions and is importantly a real nice family guy, who it has been a real pleasure and privilege for me to know for many years.

Dames en Herren, Ladies and Gentlemen, Water Ski Friends.....the one and only Darren Kirkland, of course.

DIMITRI BERTELS (BEL) - Water Ski Racing skier

F2 World Champion in 2003 in Long Beach (USA)

More info coming soon.

JOLANDA BONESTROO (NED) - Water Ski Racing skier

European Champion in 1994, 1996, 1998 and 2000

More info coming soon.

KIM LUMLEY (GBR) - Water Ski Racing skier

- Gold Medal in 2005 (Hunstanton, GB) and 2009 (Belgium).
- Silver Medal in 2007 (New Zealand).
- Kim also competed in Worlds in 1999, 2001 and 2003, with 7th, 7th and 6th finishes.
- Kim also took part in 1997 in Australia as a Junior, won the first race and then was sadly injured.

- Winner every two years in 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008.

- Winner of Ladies 8 years on the run, from 2002 through 2009.

GB National Championships:
- 1997 and 1998 as Junior.
- 1999 through to 2005 every year Ladies Champion (7 times).
- 2006, 2007 and 2009 Open Champion (also beating the boys).

- Diamond Race (Belgium): Ladies Winner 2002 through to 2009 every year (8 wins).
- Catalina Island Race (Long Beach, California): Open Women winner in 2002 and 2004 through to 2009, with a second place in 2003 (7 wins).
- Bridge to Bridge (Australia): winner 2006 in Ladies Open.

- GB General Lascelles Award 2005 and 2009 (top award).
- EAME Lady Ski Racer of year 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
- World (IWWF) Female Racing Skier of the year 2005, 2006 and 2009.
- EAME Female skier of year across all water ski disciplines in 2009.
- Also IWWF World Racing Council athletes representative (2005 to 2007) and likewise EAME Racing Council Athletes representative (2007 to 2010).

Now a busy mum and a smashing LADY.

STEFANO GREGORIO (ITA) - Water Ski Racing skier

Stefano Gregorio´s persistence has finally secured him the crown he was deprived of it in 1993 “The World water ski racing title. Born on 22nd December 1966, this 29 year old Italian seemed always destined to become a successful athlete in one respect or another.

Stefano grew up in Como, Northern Italy with his family – a brother Piero and sister Adonella. Although he began water skiing at 7, he was already talented in many other sports.

At 10 he had successfully entered his first water ski competitions in slalom, tricks, jump, barefoot and racing! His journey to the World title began when he decided to opt for ski racing.


It was his coach, Augusto Luoni, who gave him his prominent style reminiscent of a wild bull ploughing through everything in its path. He was at home on rough water. His heroes were the talented Italian Donato Trezzi and Britain’s own former World title holder Steve Moore MBE. The Jolly Racing Club at Lezzeno was where he trained to eventually make the Italian National team in 1987.

Over the last few years, Stefano and Britain’s Darren Kirkland have dominated ski racing in Europe. They have shared a level of calibre which can be compared to that of Belgium’s Danny Bertels. He has more National and European titles under his belt than can be counted on 2 hands. Not only a World title holder, but he has won Australia’s Botany Bay race and taken a 2nd in the Bridge-To-Bridge. He has won the Giro del Lario and the Diagonale des Fous – a race over 2500 km! Gregorio is without a doubt, a name which will be remembered.

So at the age of 20, Stefano proudly joined his National team. He became European Formula 2 champion with no less than 9 consecutive victories throughout Europe. In the French Grand-Prix, this promising youngster not only won the F2 category, but he finished ahead of every skier in F1. It remains one of the favourite races of his long career.

His first shot at the world title was at the age of 21 in Australia, when managed an excellent 2nd place in the first race and an overall 5th at the end of it all. Two World championships later, he finished a credible 3rd place in Darwin Australia. But it was at Vichy, France in 1993 that he proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he was a most incredible ski racer.

A judges decision on his driver’s action however, resulted in a penalty which dropped him to 3rd place. Stefano told me “the whole World fell upon me – it was not fair”, but he fought on.

In August 1995 his persistence paid off however, and he won the World Title at Belgium. He says, “I felt free. I think I deserve it. Now I feel satisfaction for my career”.

But this superb skier worked hard for his place on the podium. Daily his training would consist of an hours cycling uphill followed by a lot of stretching and a 10 minute jog. Later he would ski for 15minutes on a pair of skis followed by 50minutes of high speed rough water skiing on a race ski, finishing off with a fast run.

On his 6 year old DC race ski, using DC bindings, he beat the rest of the world and finally claimed what he felt he had earned. When he returned to his home village at Lezzeno, there was a great feast held for him. The whole village was there. A car parade took place, flags were flown and his name was portrayed across the village walls. Stefano told me “I was moved – more excited than during the Worlds themselves”. Here were his people, sharing in his triumph.


He has now retired from racing himself. With his wife Patrizia Sala, he will now settle down and plans to open his own ski-school in April. He has the ideal spot at his father’s restaurant, which is located on the edge of Lake Como. He’s a keen soccer player and will continue to play for his non-professional team and support Parma AC. But he also wants to be able to help youngsters in ski racing. He says “the sport deserves to be kept alive, for I had so many joys from it I’ll never forget”.

When I asked him what he has enjoyed about his years as a ski racer he answered, “I enjoyed the peace of mind and enjoyment of life us racers shared before and after the races. And of course, the races themselves, which gave us emotions one cannot describe”.

He believes that, as in any sport, there could be improvements. Firstly in safety, also in judges, choice of race venues and in boat control. Stefano wants to help the youngsters in the sport and he sends a strong message out to them: “Do not rush for F1, better wait in F2 till the moment comes. A fall in F1 can break a career. Form a good crew who are totally committed to you the skier”.

Now he sees 2 emerging talents from Europe as Britain’s Jamie Cramhorn and the Italian youngster Fabio Scarpini. Looking at 1996, he believes Carlo Cassa and Darren Kirkland are European favourites.

He went on to say that it’s Kirkland who he admires most in the World of ski racing, and I quote “he’s so unlucky, but he never gets down. He’s great!”.

Many people know of the crew and team who supported Stefano. His experienced driver Germano Furlan observer Luca Di Lelio were first rate. There was also Ivan Pellolio, Roby Zucchi and his team-captain and brother Piero Gregorio.

His wife, the many other people who stood by him and the Italian Federation, all receive thanks from this worthy title holder.

By Robbie Llewellyn (1996)

STEVEN MOORE (GBR) - Water Ski Racing skier

My introduction to waterski racing was at the first ever World Championship Race held at Whitstable in 1979. My brother in law, Jim Cramphorn was involved as a rescue boat driver and he asked if I wanted to crew with him. After watching the other two Worlds races Jim put plans in motion and then just told me to get myself ready!!!

Our first race was at Allhallows in the 1980 season. We entered six national races in F2 that year with a 21ft Phantom called Beelzebub. In 1981 we entered F1 with a newly prepared 21ft Phantom called Armageddon, with twin Mercury engines.

The next couple of years were a steep learning curve for Jim and myself with mixed results. We were very fortunate to have been involved in Ski Racing when Europe was dominating the sport and Great Britain had many great skiers like Billy Rixon, Andy & Stephen Coe, David Hutchinson and Cliff Price to name just a few. It was a real education racing against these skiers and was a valuable boost to our success.

We took part in every race we could and even spent many weekends in Belgium toughing it out on the canals. Danny Bertels was dominating the sport at that time and we just figured we needed to do what he was doing to get ahead. We were late comers to the sport and needed to play catch up so we put in lots of time on the water.

When Andy Clarkin joined us as our Observer we never looked back. He was the missing piece to our puzzle and we went from strength to strength. It was like we all knew what the other was thinking and we grew into a formidable team.

In 1983 I was selected along with Jeremy Symonds, Kevin Wood and a young Darren Kirkland to go out to America for a training camp. We competed in races at Mission Bay in San Diego and training sessions with some top US skiers. This trip had a big influence on all four of us skiers and collectively we have all achieved a great deal of success.

At the end of the 1983 season I was selected as the reserve for the team going to the World Championships held in January 1984 in Sydney, Australia. The team skiers were Andy Coe and Cliff Price with Cliff suffering an injury in the first race on Botany Bay. This meant I had to race in the final two races which gave me my first taste of Worlds racing.

During the 1984 season we came runner up to an unbeatable Andy Coe. We had some great races but I couldn't quite get onto his level. He dominated both British and European racing and he had a large influence on my racing career.

In 1985 we managed to turn the tables on Andy and got in front. We won our first British and European Championships that year and went into the World titles in Spain as one of the favourites. Although I was physically and technically capable, I wasn't there mentally and I allowed the pressure to get to me. The weight of expectation off the back of our success that year was too much. Although we had a couple of good performances we never realised our full potential.

The 1986 season was one of our most successful years. We competed in all the British and European races winning both championships. Also during this season we took part in the World Cup with races in America, Europe and Australia. We won all three races which were The Catalina Island race in America, The Giro de Lario in Italy and The Botany Bay back to back race in Australia. We are the last outright winners of the Catalina race to win using a 21ft boat.

We won both the British and European Championships in 1987 which prepared us for the World Championships being held in Australia. We spent all winter training in very cold conditions in order for us to be ready for the world titles which took place in February 1988 in Sydney which we went on to win.

Once again we competed in all the British and European events during the 1988 season winning both championships. At the end of the 1988 season Andy retired from ski racing.

In 1989 we were joined by Malcolm Casson as our new observer. We went on to win British and European titles that season which took us to the World Championships in Italy. These did not go well for us with many boat and equipment problems hampering our performances. After the event we competed in the Giro de Lario winning the event and setting a course record which stood for over ten years with a time of 60mins 24secs.

At the end of the 1989 season I decided to retire from ski racing. We had achieved a great deal of success throughout the mid to late 80's and, without doubt, one of the biggest highlights was being recognised in the birthdays honours list and being awarded the MBE for services to water skiing. The award was presented by the Queen at Buckingham Palace later that year.

5 X British Championships
5 X European Titles
1986 World Cup Winner - Catalina - 1st, Giro de Lario - 1st, Botany Bay Classic - 1st
1987-89 World Championships
1989 - Awarded MBE by the Queen

Looking back over these years has reminded me how proud we are of our time within ski racing. We have had a great times, lots of success and have met some great people. We would like to think others have enjoyed the success along with us during a time when ski racing was at its strongest in numbers. We have met some great characters and life long friends. We have enjoyed being part of this crazy family of mad ski racers!!!

HUGO ENGELEN (BEL) - Water Ski Racing pioneer

Hugo began water ski racing as part of the Bertels clan, as husband of Mariette sister of Gaston Bertels, founder of the Viersel Waterski club, so he was bound to be involved in some way.

He started as observer for his brother in law and they towed a lot of good skiers in Belgium such as Manuella Swinnen and then Danny Bertels (who would later become World Champion) in the dauphins and junior races. At that time with the famous Fletcher boat no. 1 (a number they would never give away).

He was one of the founders of the Viersel Waterski Club but also in 1977 he was one of the founding members of the IWSF(now IWWF) World Racing Council together with John Hoiles and Walter Crespi who travelled around widely to get a World Championship started. They were all much involved in formatting the 1st World Waterski Racing Championship in 1979 in Great Britain. He served for some 20 years on the World body!

He is also for Belgium the representative in E&A Racing Council since then until 2002, and was for many years a respected National and international Judge.

In Belgium he succeeded Vera Van den Bossche as President of the Flemish waterski federation het LFWS / WSV and helped make it an even stronger organisation.

He was very much involved as a main player in the organisation of 2 World Championships in Belgium in 1995 & 2009.

He was made an Honorary member of EAME, (now E&A) in 1998. In his personal life he was a very successful business man and a dedicated and loving husband and father.

JOHN HOILES (GBR) - Water Ski Racing pioneer

John first began water skiing with a 12ft Fletcher at Gillingham Water Ski Club in 1967.
He soon realised that he needed a bigger boat for his family, Mary, Tim and Philip so he built himself a bigger one!

In 1970 he became chief scrutineer for the BWSF, and he was soon also involved internationally doing this important work.
He got more and more involved with Racing in GB and with the British Federation and then joined the European Racing Committee/or Council as it is now called.
John was a great enthusiast for the sport and had the drive and ambition to help take it to another level.
John travelling to Australia in 1978 to attend a meeting to help with other forward thinkers within the sport organise a World Water Ski Racing Championship.
Ian Graham, Terry Bennett and Glen Coles were very much involved, along with another lifelong friend, Walter Crespi from Italy. Glen Coles who succeeded John as Chairman asks particularly to be remembered to you all. Betty Graham and Glen Coles wrote the first World racing Rules.
And So the first World Water Ski Racing Championships were held in Great Britain at Whitstable, Allhallows and Welsh Harp, in 1979, driven by the enthusiasm of John and others and very successfully organised with great application and flair by the late Ray Berriman, Gillian Hill and the BWSF.
John was then to become the first President of the World Racing Council, also of the European Racing Council and of course the GB Racing Committee, posts which he held with great distinction for many years.
He was a highly respected and popular International Judge and gave so much to the sport we all love and enjoy today.

These few words cannot do full justice to John's very significant, lifelong dedicated contribution to the sport.
It is indeed a great shame that he is no longer with us to accept this modest award, but thankfully his son Philip is here to receive the memento.

DANNY BERTELS (BEL) - Water Ski Racing skier

World Champion in 1981 and 1983
European Champion in 1980, 1981 and 1983

LIZ DOOGAN-HOBBS (GBR) - Water Ski Racing skier

Liz with her mother Jackie and father Peter

Liz had started skiing when she was 9, and by 15, she was had skied in her first race on the Medway in 1975. The following year, she went on to win every race she entered and won the first of seven British titles. In the same year, she broke the women's British and European speed records behind a Cigarette powerboat called, "I like it too".

Liz Hobbs and Steve Moore were the two big names in the early 80's and both went onto become world champions and to be awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for her services to water skiing. In fact Liz won the title of world champion in 1981 and 1984, and she won the European championship title at least four times.

But life in the 80s wasn't so sweet for Liz, despite her incredible success, because at Penarth in 1984, she fell and broke her neck. She also broke her sternum in three places, six ribs, one of which punctured a lung. On top of that, Liz's heart stopped.
Amazingly, Liz was back on a ski the following year and back on her winning streak in 1986. Later in the 80s she was nominated for the sports personality of the year award and she won the sports writers of the year award.

After climbing onto the public stage with the help of a publicist a few years earlier, Liz went on to host her own TV series with Yorkshire Television called "Hobbs Choice", and since then, has become one of the most publicly known waterskiers in the world.

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