5 Time World Champion
16 Time National Champion
National and International HALL of FAME

Mike Suyderhoud has won more world gold medals than any man in the history of the sport of water-skiing. Mike's more than thirty years of professional coaching has provided a tremendous professional contribution to the growth and advancement of water skiing, including helping to develop and hone the skills of top skiers from all over the world.

Early in his career, Mike recognized the need for more research and development of better ski equipment. Over the past three decades, his energies and experience have been instrumental in shaping the technology of water-skiing and ski equipment. In addition to being a consultant in the industry, Mike has written columns as well as feature-length articles for various national water-skiing magazines. As tribute to Mike's dedication to the sport of water-skiing, he was inducted into the Water Skiing Hall of Fame in 1987, during his first year of eligibility.

Read more about Mike at Water Sports Expert Witmess

 

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click here to read article by Rob May (1997)
Mike Suyderhoud had spent 14 illustrious years attacking an unforgiving 6-foot wall with great success. World records and world titles were already tucked neatly away under the Suyderhoud legend. There wasn't much he hadn't seen from the end of the rope. Until one moment in 1977...

Seeded second behind Mike Hazelwood at the World Championships that year in Milan, Italy, Suyderhoud needed a whopper jump to top leader Glenn Thurlow and put himself out of Hazelwood's reach. Fighting a freak windstorm that cropped up moments before he hit the water, his first two attempts fell feebly short. Knowing he needed a big one, Suyderhoud went for broke. He cut so late for the ramp that he didn't recognize where he was.

"I'd never seen the jump from that angle," remembers the Hall of Famer. "Yet by the time I came off the second wake, I lived my whole life - my recent marriage, my career, my faith in God. At that moment, everything came together."
Before he knew it, Suyderhoud was halfway up the ramp - and just kept going.

"The next thing I remember is floating and setting down like a feather because there was so much wind. Right then and there, I knew there was nothing I could accomplish in water skiing that would be better. It really finished off my career."

In style. "The Jump" gave Mike Suyderhoud his second world jump victory and fifth world championship (overall in '67 and '69, slalom and jump in '71), capping a career in which he won every major title in three-event skiing. While he made the Worlds his stage, the U.S. Nationals was his playground. No one dominated the event quite like Mike. During a stretch of 14 years in boys' and men's competition, Suyderhoud earned seven overall victories and finished no worse than third overall in any Nationals in which he skied all three events.
Brought up in the slalom hotbed of San Francisco's Bay area, Suyderhoud was fed a heavy diet of the single ski, of which he ate heartily, trading victories with the LaPoint brothers during the '60s and '70s. He eventually gravitated to jumping, with good reason. For six consecutive years, starting in 1966, he took gold at the Nationals; and his ramp mastery was his ticket to five U.S. Worlds teams, including the one in '77.

A knee injury in '79 pushed Suyderhoud to the shorelines, but not out of the sport. The Redding, California, ski school he started in 1972 received more time, as did his commitment to Accufloat, his portable slalom course company. Today, at age 47, water skiing still runs thick through Suyderhoud's blood. He serves as an expert witness in water-sports-related court cases and continues to coach future world champions.

"I still have an interest in giving back," he says. "I don't see that changing. Right now, I have every desire to keep going."
Just like that third leap in Milan. - Rob May