A Chat with Chris Parrish at Ski Paradise in Acapulco, Mexico

A Chat with Chris Parrish at Ski Paradise in Acapulco, Mexico


This episode of Ski With Wade features Chris Parrish, a legendary water skier who has stories to share about his record-setting performances and epic international travel adventures with Wade over the years. The two are together at one of their favorite spots in the world, Ski Paradise, an idyllic water ski venue in beautiful Acapulco, Mexico. Old friends going way back, they recall a lifetime of making memories both on and off the water. They also share shout-outs to favorite competitors and the special things that make water skiing the competitive sport – and community – that it is around the world.

Topics Covered
  • Even as a kid still in ski school, Wade could see that The Tower was going to become The Tower.
  • Wade paints a picture (including the tense atmosphere on the dock) at the 1996 U.S. Open when Chris, 16 and barely shaving, made the five-man final.
  • That 1996 U.S. Open marked the first time Wade and Chris were on the podium together (1st and 2nd, respectively).
  • The two old competitors share a few rueful laughs over a 1997 showing in England that involved being over-served English pints. Chris paid the price …
  • Chasing a title in Australia, Wade checked that box in 2000 while Chris scrambled to replace a broken ski at Moomba, still managing to wind up top seed in the finals. His first pro victory!
  • That broken ski in Australia, which Andy Mapple helped get remedied on the spot, became Chris’s baseline ski and introduction to flex numbers.
  • Chris and Wade shares tales of a memorable stay in Europe, where they traveled together (Chris’s mom’s condition for supporting her 19-year-old going on the trip).
  • All about the ups and downs at an epic French Masters appearance that included Wade, Andy Mapple and Chris.
  • Chris still holds the course record with his 2005 U.S. Masters performance.
  • In 2006, Wade decided he’d make a swan song European trip, which Chris remembers for the helpful training tips and experiences Wade made possible.
  • Chris recalls how his dad, who worked in aerospace, focused on energy and efficiency to create a cocktail based on the successful formulas of certain highly successful skiers (like Wade).
  • It was 15 years ago that Wade first joined Chris down at Ski Paradise in Acapulco and this time around has been as much fun as ever. Or more!

It was like taking a reunion tour down memory lane when I sat down recently with Chris Parrish, whose epic career I watched unfold from little kid to towering (hence the nickname The Tower) teen-age phenomenon to seasoned pro with a fistful of records and medals. We talked about competitions dating back to the 1990s and what it was like chasing each other through so many memorable moments on the water and off.

For anyone who doesn’t already know it (and I don’t know that’s possible for anyone with even a passing interest in the sport), Chris has long been a force in the world of water skiing. He burst on the scene in the mid-1990s, capturing a spot in the 1996 U.S. Open final when he was barely old enough to shave. It was an honor to share the podium (I took 1st and he took 2nd) with a young talent I knew would go far. I wasn’t wrong! From May 2005 to June 2013, Chris held the world record for slalom skiing. During that time he tied his record once and beat it twice. In addition to his world records, Chris has dominated with nine major championships.

Thanks to our host, six-time national slalom champion and USA Water Ski Hall of Famer Gordon Rathbun and his wife Gabriella, Chris and I had an awesome chance to catch up in the perfect setting. We shared what amounts to a travelogue, with hilarious stories that stretch from the U.K. to Europe to Australia and back to the U.S. And of course it was fun to swap all those memories at, Ski Paradise, in front of our audience full of ski enthusiasts from Washington State, Utah, Indiana, California and Texas. I’m sure it was plain to see the respect and fondness Chris and I feel for each other.

We wrapped up the podcast with a shout-out to Bob Marley, a fantastic comedian who is all about the water skiing. And another round of thanks to our amazing sponsor: Ski Paradise. You can subscribe to their newsletter by clicking here.

If you like the show, please check out, rate and review episodes here or wherever you like to listen to your podcasts. You can also check out my merchandise and find out about my upcoming summer tour dates at the Ski With Wade Website.

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