We are sad to have lost a friend of water skiing on Nov 12. Vern was just 66 years old. Vern gave tirelessly to water skiing. He contributed in so many ways, from starting as a young skier to judging and volunteering in various capacities. He continued on to serve as a leader and was President of his club, his province, his national federation and ultimately the Pan American Confederation.

He always put the skier first. He was relentless about that. We didn’t always agree with his input, but we knew he supported the sport and the athletes in it. He fought for them every step of the way.

Vern influenced many people, and when not directly involved himself, he urged others to step forward and be leaders.

He was also an innovator. For example, we might attribute wide use of speed control to Perfect Pass, but without Vern’s constant early promotion of this device it likely would have been much longer before we would have accepted it, if at all. He was also involved in some early efforts at automating jump measurement systems.

Vern also played a big role in the first few times we participated in the Pan American Games. He forged relationships with members of the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) and their NOC’s and leveraged our success in the 1995 (ARG), 1999 (CAN), 2003 (DOM) and 2007 (BRA) Pan Am Games.

His accomplishments and contributions had also been formally recognized over the years. He was awarded Official of the Year by Water Ski and Wakeboard Canada and later was inducted into WSWC’s Hall of Fame as a Builder.

He will be missed.

Photo source: David Crowder