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A Tribute to New Zealand’s Mike Williams

New Zealand’s Brad Dutton pays tribute to Mike Williams …

Mike Williams …
An absolute Legend of Water Ski Racing in New Zealand

The recent victory by the New Zealand Under 19 Team in Victoria against Australia in the Annual Tasman Challenge event was a great way to send off a true legend of our sport; Mike Williams, who retires as Manager of the NZ Team this year.

Mike set up the competition in 1990 and has organised the event and managed the NZ Team every year since. The New Zealanders have won 5 of the last 6 competitions that are held in alternate countries each year in April. In the early stages of the competition it was the Australians who held dominance especially in the early to mid 90’s. Victoria has now won 10 and New Zealand has won 8.

Mike has run his boat Vitesse with the Number 1 on it for as long as any one in New Zealand ski racing circles can remember. He also ran the NZWSRA Coaching Ski School from its inception in 1988 until 2000. Both of these events take huge amounts of time, effort and money. As a skier, Mike has done absolutely everything, reaching competitive level in Jumps, Tournament, Racing, Tricks and Slalom, taking numerous titles nationally. He was still racing up until his late 50’s.

The one thing that sets Mike apart from anyone else though was his ability to give and give and give without any doubt in his mind that he was doing what was right. Whether it was coaching kids on doubles, singles or drag skis, bringing junior skiers right through the grades or ensuring that every kid at the Tasman Challenge was happy all of the time. Mike is the kind of guy who wouldn’t think twice about looking after anyone or anything in terms of the growth or junior side of our sport in New Zealand.

On behalf of every Tasman Challenge Team member, Ski School student or ski racer that has ever come across Mike Williams, we say thank you Mike, you are a legend and we have total respect for you as a man, a fellow ski racer and as a superstar of Water ski Racing in New Zealand.

Brad Dutton

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