Fred Waller "Walks on Water"
The inspiration behind the invention of the water ski was not as a leisure time sporting device. Waller developed it as a means of supporting a motion picture camera on water, just as seen above. It is not possible to tell whether the camera is battery powered or hand cranked. We don't know how many times this unique method of photography was used, but the spin-off use as a sporting good is countless.
Waller apparently understood the value of using a recognizable pretty face to sell a product and he couldn't have gotten a much more recognizable model than the lady on the left. She's the famous "IT" girl, Clara Bow, then under contract to Waller's employer, Paramount Pictures. The lady on the right is named Dorothy Mathews, and we really don't know who she is.
Order Yours Below
Two page ad for Akwa-Skees, circa 1926
3 to 50 Miles an Hour
AKWA-SKEEING is the greatest fun in water sports for both the young and old. More thrilling, better riding and easier controlled than aqua plane. No diving, scrambles or spills. Easily towed by any type of craft from an outboard boat to cruiser or speed boat. Dolphin Akwa-Skees are used by children of six up to men of seventy.
THREE MODELS SPORT MODELFor the Water Enthusiast or the Youth.
At 6 miles an hour, supports 200 lbs.
At 3 miles an hour, supports 50 lbs.
Price $15.00 SAFETY MODEL.
For the Novice or children.
At 6 miles an hour, supports 225 lbs.
At 3 miles an hour, supports 60 lbs.
Price $25.00 SPEED MODEL.
A step hydroplane skee for the Racer or Expert.
At 8 miles an hour, supports 200 lbs.
Black walnut and nickel silver trim.
All models are made of clear Philippine Mahogany, natural finished with best spar varnish. Brass trimmed, with towing
bridles and hand ropes of best white cotton.
Patented Oct. 17th, 1925. Dolphin Akwa-Skee Co., Huntington, L. I., New York
The Art of Akwa-Skeeing
You toss the skees overside and step on them while the boat is in motion. Start while running slowly-8 miles an hour will support 250 pounds - 3 miles an hour is ample for a 50 pound child.
Pay the tow rope out smoothly; 50 feet from the boat is a good distance but any length will do. Now speed up the boat as much as you like. The faster you go the easier they are to ride. When towed at any speed from 3 to 50 miles an hour or more, they are much safer than an aquaplane.
That's all there is to it - no dive, scramble or spill, as is inevitable in riding the ordinary aquaplane. Everybody can enjoy Dolphin Akwa-Skees.
For a sporty start, stand ankle deep in the water on a beach or shallow spot and be towed off. This is a good way to start a race particularly when towed by outboards.
For fun - you can mount from the water by slowing the boat almost to a standstill,
and when you have one foot on each skee signal your boat and as it speeds up you will rise out of the water.
Akwa-Skeeing can be made as daring as you please. Edging the Skees against the water and swinging the hand ropes to the side gives you great steering control. You can't risk your neck, but you can, by experiment, produce some wonderful thrills.
You will become an Akwa-Skee expert in a surprisingly short time.
The three models of DOLPHIN AKWA SKEES we recommend for speeds as follows
Safety model 3 to 20 miles per hour
Sport model 6 to 35 miles per hour
Speed model 8 to 50 miles per hour
For tandem and stunt riding where a great steadiness is desired we recommend the Safety model.
DOLPH- A New Water Game
Seeing how skilled the users of Dolphin Akwa-Skees soon become, suggested to their inventor a game which in its thrills resembles the tilting contests of the knights of old.
Skimming the surface of the water on Akwa-Skees under perfect control-buoys are dropped from the towing boat and are speared with a lance. The contestant picking up all the buoys in the least number of strokes or attempts wins the game. There are several variations of the game, all explained in a pamphlet of rules supplied with each set.
A set of Dolph includes one light wood lance and six buoys, made of balsa wood with loops, lead balanced, all waterproof lacquered, finished in attractive colors, and a set of rules, for $5.00. A similar set with jointed lance, pennants on the buoys and a varnished wooden case to keep on your boat, $15.00.
Thanks to the Huntington (NY) Historical Society and the John P. Caron family for making these items available for The Cinerama Adventure.