MEET NSSA PRESIDENT, GERRY LUITING
Taryn Garland, USA Water Ski
Gerry Luiting, NSSA
Most people know Gerry Luiting for his phenomenal success in show skiing and his years of dedication to growing the sport. His talent and determination on and off the water are widely recognized within the sport. With such a successful career, we wanted to dig a bit deeper to get to know the man behind the multiple national and world titles, and, lucky for us, he obliged! We had the pleasure to chat with Gerry and learned more about his history, some embarrassing moments, and a hidden talent most would never guess!
USA-WS: How long have you been on the Board of Directors?
GL: I currently serve as the NSSA President, which I have done for the past 6 years. I served 10 years as Vice President before that, served about 8 years as an Elite Skier Representative, and served on Committees since around 1993. I have been attending meetings since the NSSA was formed and also the NSSA forming meetings.
USA-WS: How long have you been skiing?
GL: I started skiing at age 10 with my family on Castle Rock Lake (WI) 47 years ago. My mom & dad and all 3 brothers could ski too. We were one of the fortunate families to have our own boat, so we also taught probably hundreds of people at the campground how to ski during the summers back then. I started show skiing in 1976 when I joined the Rock Aqua Jays and have been a member ever since. Yup, I’m old!
USA-WS: What’s your most embarrassing moment on the water?
GL: Oh, there’s many to pick from! Probably the worst was when I landed my kite short of making the beach at the Wisconsin State Tournament. There was a pretty good head wind and I couldn’t penetrate forward, so the kite landed in the water in the middle of the show course, between the jump and the beach. The other acts couldn’t go until I got out of the way, which took a bit of time. But it gave the audience a chance to go to the bathrooms without missing any of the show!
USA-WS: What is your favorite tournament/event?
GL: I actually still enjoy performing in home shows in Janesville and doing the shows at Tommy Bartlett. I love tournaments; skiing in them, meeting all our friends from the other teams, and seeing what everybody can do. My favorite events are skiing abroad and Worlds. I really enjoy going on road shows abroad, and experiencing the different cultures and making friends around the world. And of course, the World Water Ski Show Tournament is something that actually gives me goose bumps, especially when the National anthem is being played. I have been very blessed with many amazing opportunities in my life because of skiing!
USA-WS: What is something most people don’t know about you?
GL: I can hold my own fairly well at a foosball table. It was a personal fundraiser for me in college! My wife and son bought me a tournament caliber “Tornado” foosball table a number of years ago so I can keep my skills up!
USA-WS: What advice do you have for show skiers?
GL: Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams. Don’t be paralyzed by fear of failure. Stay in shape and continually work on flexibility. Don’t try, either do it or don’t. Learn it correctly from the beginning. Self-worth comes from you, not others. Become as versatile as you can be and work to be the best at something!