If you’re a resident of Winter Haven or just visiting, you may have noticed the new artwork on the city’s Downtown Water Tower. So what’s the story?
Water Tower Art the First Step to Welcome Water Ski’s 100th Anniversary
What was once a beige water tower at the corner of Avenue B SW and Magnolia Avenue is now a beacon to the upcoming International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation’s World Water Ski Show Tournament, to be held on Lake Silver in October 2022. The tournament will serve as the capstone to a year of events promoting Polk County during the sports centennial celebration.
Sporting a new logo celebrating Winter Haven as the Water Ski Capital of the World and marking the sport’s 100th birthday, the painting of the tower is just one of many joint efforts between Visit Central Florida, the City of Winter Haven, and USA Water Ski and Wake Sports.
Reflecting Winter Haven’s Place in Water Ski History
Looking back to Winter Haven’s vintage water ski seal, the logo honors the long history of the sport and the city. Nowhere else has as many records or sport inventions created than on Winter Haven lakes. While the sport may not have been invented here, thanks to Dick Pope Sr. and the post-World War II water ski shows at Cypress Gardens, Polk County has become the sport’s mecca. By the 1950s, Hollywood took note and Winter Haven became the Hollywood of the South thanks to movies such as “Easy to Love” and “Deep Adventure.”
All this attention from Hollywood, in turn, drew greater athletes to the area. By the 1970s, nearly every innovation and record of the sport had been set on Polk County waters. Today, the annual Chain of Records event continues that legacy, attempting to set national records and world records every year.
The IWWF 2022 IWWF World Water Ski Show Tournament, slated for Oct. 22-23, 2022, features team from around the world competing in the international recognized discipline of show ski. Each team will perform a one hour spectator-friendly show that combines entertainment with world class athletics. The USA Water Ski Show Team has won the team title each year. Teams expected to participate include the United States, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Australia, China and Mexico.
Experience Water Ski in Winter Haven
Of course all this water ski activity attracts lots of visitors every year. The Cypress Gardens Water Ski show is a favorite. This classic show from the Cypress Gardens heyday is held every month on Lake Mirror. The show is free to attend and is an enduring local favorite. And the world’s greatest theme park for little kids, LEGOLAND Florida, also located in Winter Haven gets in on the act and puts on its pirate-themed Brickbeard Watersport Stunt Show daily.
If you would like to try water ski yourself, the Winter Haven area has an abundance of local ski schools for visitors and experts alike including Winter Haven Water Sports, the Elite Cable Park in Auburndale, Lucky Lowe Ski School, and Ski Fluid.