• James Parry

Hudson’s Clint Ward awarded waterskiing’s highest honour with induction into International Hall of F


PHOTO COURTESY OF MAY’S STUDIO AND ROD HODGSON

Clint Ward and Audrey Gallagher back in the 60s at the Hudson Yacht Club when they and fellow waterskiiers ruled the waves.

Hudsonite Clint Ward, currently convalescing after weeks of intensive care treatment and surgical procedures including a tracheotomy and the loss of his left foot, received a great morale booster this week with the news that this November he will be inducted into the IWWF (International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation) International Hall of Fame at a ceremony coinciding with the World Waterski Championship in Mexico. Respecting his request for privacy at this time, Your Local Journal did not contact Ward - a former Air Canada pilot and founder and president of the Hudson Film Society and related festivals - for this article.

Frank Royle, his long-time friend who used to waterski with him at the Hudson Yacht Club, told YLJ, “Back in the early 60s, and under Clint’s direction, a whole bunch of us started waterskiing there. We even built our own jump and slalom course. In order to get sponsors and raise funds for a boat, skis and equipment, he thought it would be a great idea if we put on shows. Which we did both here in Quebec and in Ontario, as well as at the official opening of the Île aux Tourtes Bridge.

It was a lot fun and something that we’ll always remember with fond memories.” Said John Lawson, who recently visited Ward and has helped, updating friends on his progress, “This is a great honour for Clint and well deserved. And what a treat and a relief to see him just a couple of days ago, sitting in his wheelchair in the hallway when I arrived.” Added Lawson, “I asked Clint again whether he was experiencing any pain from the amputation. He said there had been none, which took me by surprise, and his speech is improving daily. He was in good spirits, appreciative of the visit, and determined to get back to his life as soon as possible.”

On its official website, Waterski and Wakeboard Canada states Ward has made major voluntary contributions to the world of waterskiing while pursuing titles on the water followed by service as a coach, president of several organizations, and chairman of various committees. Moreover, as a competitive waterskiing athlete, he won Canadian Championship titles in the slalom and tricking events in the Men’s and Senior Men’s Division. In 1968, he held the Canadian slalom and trick records in his division.

He would later go on to compete and win slalom and tricks in the Veteran’s division at the 1974 Can Am Championships. It adds that from 1960 to the present, Ward has dedicated his life to amateur sport. In developing strong leadership skills, he assumed the role of National Team Coach from 1965-1968 and then as Team Leader for the Munich Olympic Games in 1972 when waterski was presented as a demonstration sport.

Until 1993, he was a waterski commentator on CBC and TSN television, and also did some CBC radio reports until 1990. In addition to having many magazine and column articles to his credit, he has co-authored a bestselling instructional book on waterskiing with 2004 WSWC Hall of Fame Inductee and World Champion, George Athans. Adds the site, because of his extraordinary and valuable efforts, Ward’s contribution has helped raise the success of Canadian waterskiing on an international level.

He has a recognized reputation of determination and strength of character throughout the waterskiing and sport community. It is certainly those qualities that will see him through these difficult times in hospital and subsequent convalescence.

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