There are once in a generation figures in sports who personify both fierce competitiveness, while remaining humble and down to earth. Andy Mapple was that once in a generation athlete, driven by his love of waterskiing but true to the person he was, a humble giant and a true gentlemen when he was off the water, when he wasn't competing he was teaching, trying to grow the sport as any champion does he was as much an ambassador as he was an athlete. Skiing for many companies over the years, his passion drove him to develop his own start up company in Mapple skis, applying a wealth of knowledge that was collected over more than 3 decades of competitive waterskiing.
His competitive career began young, taking him on a journey that would span his entire lifetime. The sport of waterskiing was a give and take relationship for Andy, as it consumes your life and time, it was also a solace, a place where he was at ease, wether it was out practicing, competing or later on in his career, mentoring the next generation. Forever the gentleman Andy's drive is was something that helped shape and form a sport, not only for the current but through tuition, for future generations to come.
Andy's obsession began as a 13 year old in England, not long after seeing his sister skiing with friends, and despite a dislike for the water and an inability to swim, settled on a 'is she can do it so can i' mentality. Armed with a life vest and flotation belt, Andy got his first taste in what would later become a fateful decision that would direct his life. The impression that first ski had on him grew to a hunger for more, that could only be quelled by all things waterskiing. Within 2 years of his first ski, Andy would start competing on the world stage representing Great Britain in the year of 1978, by 1980 he would hold the title of European Junior Champion and British Men's champion. This only served as the tip of the ice berg, in 1981 Andy would begin the building of his legacy, winning his first Slalom World Title at Thorpe Park, Surrey.
The list of championships and records that would follow, became long and extensive and in the end Andy Mapple would amass a total of 168 proffesional slalom titles, a record that is not only almost impossible to fathom but, will unlikely ever be seen again in our time. In a day and age where the title of Greatest of All Time in most sports is in constant dispute, Andy stands well above the rest as not simply a champion of the sports, but stands as the greatest achievement of the sport itself, as much as he holds the greatest achievements in the sport of waterskiing.
While he officially retired in 2004, the next chapter in Andy's life would open, he applied his past passion into the seniors slalom skiing events, he would go on to win the world championship in the division twice in 2012 and 2014, helping to develop the class further through both expertise and dedication. Continuing to compete throughout his years, he began to divide his time skiing with his new business, Mapple Ski's. As he did with most of his slalom careers he threw himself into research and development, creating ski's with technology and shapes that had never been seen before, automatically reshaping the way the waterski world looked at tournament slalom ski's.
I can speak from personal experience that Andy as many have mentioned, was a true gentleman both on and off the water. While his competitiveness kept him in the upper echelon at the highest level much longer than most, he always pushed for what was best for the sport, providing all the time in the world for anyone and everyone who wanted to have chat, athlete or spectator. It's who Andy was as a person that should stand testament to his legacy just as much as his achievements
- 11 x Slalom World Record Holder
- 6 x World Slalom Champion
- 14 x US Masters & Moomba Masters Slalom Champion
- 15 x US Open Slalom Champion
- 1 x World Cup Champion
- First Broke the European Slalom Record in 1980 and went on to break it 14 times, retaining the record until 2014