Thursday, August 20, 2009

Water Skiing - the discovery and enjoyment of the French Riviera

Patrick's boat
This is my friend Patrick. When I lost all technology in the Villa Fontaine, Antibes ... he came to my rescue. I had no internet for days and days ... no connection to the world and my family ... I didn't know until three days later that Michael Jackson died. Imagine that ??!! Probably the last person on the planet earth. So ... within one visit from Patrick - the tekkiest guy I know in the south of France - I had a computer with internet connection AND a cell phone ! Incroyable !!!

Patrick is a go-getter, a dare-devil if you will. He drives a relic from WWII - an old American Jeep assembled in France - AND, he has a boat to boot ! So ... I am happily invited to tag along on a 'white-boarding' adventure with Patrick and his friends Patrick and Didier. Cool.
I bring along my Olympus e620 and HOPE that I do not fall into the Mediterranean. I do have the tough 8000 which is good to 35 ft. underwater, but I wanted to shoot for longer distances ABOVE water ... so, keeping my fingers that all will be ok, we head off in his incredible Jeep to just west of Cannes, France.

Patrick driving his boat
So .. great .. we're off. The first in the water is Didier. He's a really powerful guy and a good skier. By the way, the French take pride in claiming ownership of discovering water-skiing ... BUT ... let this be said - according to researched information:

The water ski was invented at least four times, by four people independently of one another, over the span of about 15 years. Each inventor was probably inspired by the aquaplane.

An aquaplane is basically a surfboard, 6-10 feet long and about 3 feet wide, which is pulled behind a powerboat. The rider stands on the board, holding onto a rope. Aquaplaning was invented on the French Riviera and in many areas of the United States in the early 20th century.

Ralph Samuelson figured that two skis might work as well as one board. On June 28, the 18-year-old Samuelson tested his theory on Lake Pepin at Lake City, Minnesota. Riding an aquaplane behind a boat driven by his older brother, Samuelson put his hand-made skis on and stepped onto the water. He fell after a very brief ride.

But he kept experimenting. On July 2, Samuelson found that the best way to ride was with the ski tips slanted upward while he leaned back on the skis.

So ... there you have it ... maybe. I'll be a believer that the French invented at least 'some' kind of water skiing first ... because, if nothing more, all the natural beauty and their love of sports.

Ok ... yeah, yeah, yeah they're on skis for several minutes battling the waves, jumping and turning and balancing ... but did I mention how exhauuuusting taking photos is ???!!! Ouch ... my index finger !!

This is Patrick - another Patrick. And ... he's licensed to drive boats - so, Patrick takes the wheel for Patrick the skier.
American women pay attention: This is what French men do on their day off. Incroyable, n'est-ce pas ?
Does James Bond come to mind ?
Patrick on ONE ski !!! Ok, I'll have my martini shaken, not stirred ... s'il vous plait
And once again being chauffeured home in his incroyable WWII Jeep !

Sports and the French and German. Now, I can only speak of the French and German people doing sports because in the other countries that I have been in Europe, I was usually in a museum or sipping wine in some quaint cafe. Therefore, I'm not at liberty to discuss sports in other countries with an expert opinion.

With that said, let me tell you my observations on the subject of sport- or rather the sporting lifestyle - in France and Germany.
They will hike miles and miles to sit at a picnic table in an old barn on a farm or to climb the craggy and dangerous rocks to have the perfect seaside picnic. They not only climb the jagged rocks, but lug along Provencal umbrellas, picnic baskets and fishing rods.

They jump off cliffs with jagged rocks below - over and over again. Believe you me, I've seen it first hand.

These people are not 'couch potatoes'. In the last three months I have not seen ONE tv show AND I have not seen anyone watch a tv show. Now I'm SURE when it's time for the world cup, the bars and cafes will be full of eager Europeans glued to the set, but otherwise it's a moot point. I love that about Europe -

Of course, that doesn't mean that I will be jumping off jagged cliffs anytime soon ...



Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was nice meeting you this morning. Great article, Great pictures.

You are quick to publish :-)

Enjoy your provencal stay.


11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is interesting how geography contributes to one's background, experiences, and lifestyle, whether growing up on the Riviera, or a lake in Minnesota.

We didn't have beautiful cliffs that meet the sea, instead, we jumped into an old limestone quarry, thrilling none the less!

Hoping that when you get back to the US, that you'll discover/rediscover the many diverse places and people here at home.


8:05 AM  
Blogger PaintingEachDay said...


I am home .. I am in Antibes.


6:40 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

oooh la la!

2:02 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

WOW! amazing picture..great movement..take care while doing it..Thanks for sharing with us..

Every thing is really cute...
I really like this blog...
Thanks for sharing...

Home Security Systems no CREDIT CHECK everyone is approved

7:13 AM  
Blogger Jim Nariel said...

Hey - really enjoyed this article - what great fun on the water. Very nice pictures

6:50 PM  

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