Inductee - Wally Morris

Water Skiing

Wally Morris

Water Skiing

Wally Morris was a pioneer in the sport of water skiing. His innovation and willingness to try anything new on skis - or without, led him into untouched waters; literally. It saw him explore the boundaries of his sport and try and better what those before him had achieved.

An invitation from the Brisbane Ski Club to Wally and a few of his canoeing mates to learn to ski on St Lucia River was met with great enthusiasm. The only catch was that the boys had to drive and clean the boat and ski equipment at the end of each day in return for ski lessons. Wally's mates later faded from the scene but Wally remained and eventually went to work for Keith Williams at Surfers Paradise Ski Gardens.

Wally was hooked and so began a representative career in the sport that he loved. He was selected in his first Queensland team in 1957 and continued to ski for his state for 11years. In 1958 Morris won his first Australian title at Manly Dam in New South Wales. Over the next four years he would dominate at national level winning a further 3 Australian Titles.

Representing Australia at 4 World Championships Wally realised a career highlight at his second World Championships when he tied for second place with fellow Gold Coaster and good mate Col Birmingham.

Wally Morris' talents as a water skier were significant at a time when the Gold Coast was trying to promote itself onto the tourism map domestically and on the international stage. His part in the Keith Williams run Surfer Paradise Ski Gardens and later Seaworld ski shows was at a time when the concept of theme parks was being initiated in America. Surfers Paradise Ski Gardens was the Gold Coast's first theme park.

The promotion of the Gold Coast was also bolstered by the touring water ski shows which travelled Australia in 1964, 1965 and starred both Col Birmingham and Wally Morris.

Keith Williams also bid for and consequently won the rights to host the World Championships for Water Skiing in 1965. This event for the first time was held outside of Europe and the United States and would be the first of many Gold Coast events to be televised to the world. Wally played an integral part in helping showcase our beautiful city to the international tourism market.