The Invention Of The Water Ski Gloves Or How to Get A Grip
Be In The Know
Did you know that I actually invented water ski gloves? Yep, I truly did. Too bad I was just a kid and didn't know how to capitalize on that idea back then.
Classic Boating Experiences The 1969 Tahiti Jet Boat
Having practically grown up on the water, I can still recall my first attempt at water skiing. Being pulled behind a 1969 Tahiti jet boat, my dad's dream come true, I made the attempt. Yes, that boat was certainly in style for the times. It had an exposed engine that was mostly chrome and sounded like thunder from heaven. When we pulled up to the marina all the "dock" hands would come and just gawk at the beauty of a shiny engine, set in a smooth sleek hull, powered by the ultimate power of jet propulsion. Oh, those were the days!
Skiing took stamina and consistency.
My first attempt at skiing was on a pair of double skis. It was so unbelievably hard to keep those things together while floating in the water, wearing that bright orange ski vest. I must have tried unsuccessfully one hundred times, before admitting defeat for the day and getting back in the boat. Downtrodden, I would recommit to try again, that is when my frozen body could feel life come back into its limbs, and my teeth would stop that incessant chattering. Needless to say, it was totally in "style" to be a skier in my family's crowd, and I definitely wanted to be a part of that!
Real skiers are tough!
I think that I finally made it up on top of the water by sheer will power alone. I have taught many a novice to ski since then, and I think I still hold the record for the most ‘tries' before actually getting up. Undaunted I kept at it until ultimately I was in style, skiing on one ski, holding my own with those most admired, the "expert" skiers. I was in the exclusive position to go on the early morning runs with the "guys" because I wasn't afraid of having my make-up run, or to be seen with wet hair like some of the other girls. I guess I had a style of my own.
The "Vogue" Ski
A style of my own was truly an understatement. In the early days of skiing you didn't have a lot of choice concerning "style" or fashion in the sport. If you liked it you just did it. There were a few choices of skis available and even less choices of floatation devices to choose from. Today, you could go crazy trying to find the coolest gear, and most up to date equipment, but back then the choices were limited. My parents got me the "coolest" ski around for my eighth grade graduation present, a Vogue (even the name exudes class) Triple Concave Spoiler. It was bright orange with royal blue stripes, a real looker. I skied on that ski for years, selling it only after I got married to purchase a new and more stylish ski, The EP Honeycomb ski (secretly, I wish we had kept my orange beauty!)
Necessity the mother of all invention...help to hold on to the rope.
The one piece of equipment that set me apart from all others was an addition only I had made to the sport. Having small hands it was always a challenge to hold on to the rope, but small hands wasn't the only challenge when it came to holding on. It never failed, when it was my turn up to ski, somebody who had just rubbed suntan lotion all over their body before skiing, had gone before me. This created a huge problem with traction; the oil from their hands was left on the rope. This slippery situation was soon remedied as I came up with an idea of wearing gloves when I went to ski. Now, I know what you are thinking, all skiers today wear gloves, you think you invented it? I promise, in the height of my skiing career, nobody wore gloves; they were not even available at ski shops as equipment.
The Living Gloves, the answer in latex.
Yes, I had to use my creative imagination, and proceeded to find the perfect water ski glove. It had to be something durable and it couldn't be afraid of getting wet. The solution came in the way of the ever popular "Platex Living Gloves." They were durable and waterproof. They had the rubber I needed to stick to the handle of the rope, even if it was lathered with suntan lotion. I have to admit from the day the idea struck me, although it wasn't the style, I never skied again without using gloves. I took quite a bit of razing from the guys, with comments like, "Are you gonna do the dishes or ski?" but the benefits I felt as a result of the gloves always made the ride more enjoyable, so I never caved to peer pressure on that issue.