Skiing to Fame

Larry Knafla earns a spot in the Minnesota Water Ski Association Hall of Fame.
Larry Knafla shows how it’s done, both on and off the water.

Larry Knafla, a Maple Grove resident since 1985, was inducted into the Minnesota Water Ski Association Hall of Fame in August 2015. “It’s just a big honor to be appreciated for all the work I put into the association,” he says.

Knafla began water skiing when he was 10 years old at his parents’ cabin. This passion continued into adulthood at local, state, regional and national competitions for slalom and trick events. “It takes me a long time to learn all of the tricks, probably about two seasons,” Knafla says.

Being an amazing skier is not the only reason he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“There are a lot of jobs at a ski competition and there isn’t a job that he hasn’t done,” says Janet Knafla, Larry’s sister-in-law. He has acted as judge, safety director and boat driver at tournaments. “Other people see Larry at these tournaments and know they can always count on him,” she says.

Knafla’s passion for the sport of waterskiing, whether as a competitor or a volunteer, is what makes him a worthy addition to the hall of fame, where he now finds himself among the likes of Ralph Samuelson from Lake City, Minnesota. Samuelson, known as “The Father of Water Skiing,” was the first person in the world to successfully ski on two water skis behind a boat, on Lake Pepin in 1922.