Episode 36- Water Skiier Shellie Blum

Growing up around water tends to lead to learning to swim and shortly thereafter learning to water ski.

Who hasn’t spent countless hours memorizing of the hand signals, navigating the wake, knowing when to drop the rope and, if we’re feeling feisty, how to drop a ski? Not many of us, however, can say we’ve mastered ramp jumping tricks and flips and there’s only one woman who can profess to be the first female freestyle ramp jump water-skier- Shellie Blum.

But how exactly does one realize they are the greatest female trick skier in the world. For that matter, how does one even realize they can do a trick on skis?

Shellie’s tale is a compelling one that begins with being recruited at the age of 12 thrusting her into a whole new world and launching her trick skiing career. She skied and entertained tourists at Busch Gardens, she was on the show ski tour and she mastered tricks no other skier, male or female, could do. Some records she still holds to this day. She did all of this at an incredibly young age.

We talked with Shellie about those days, what it was like to live that life and the misogyny and harassment that she faced in her field and how she built her strong character and survival skills in the thick of it.

Her waterskiing career was abruptly ended with an injury that very nearly killed her. In fact, the injuries were so devastating just hearing the stories of her breaks brings chills to the listener. As Shelie puts it, it was as close to decapitation as can be without actually being decapitated.

And yet she persevered, survived and has gone on to live a fascinating life. She shares her story in her autobiography, Waterski Girl Wonder. Shellie’s story is riveting, inspiring and extremely relatable, even though most readers will never experience what Shellie has lived through.

During our conversation with Shellie, she was upbeat, energetic and driven to share her story not for sympathy, but to show how it is possible to comeback from the depths of despair and life-changing moments. She points out how life can often be bittersweet with even the greatest moments can be paired with melancholy or a sadness.

Her philosophy on life as a whole is positive, and she uses her experiences to share that. Her focus isn’t on the tragedies she’s faced, but rather how it built her positivity and gave her perspective on all that life throws our way.

Shellie’s story is one worthy of a deep dive and it certainly doesn’t culminate with the end of her skiing career. She has many great stories to share. Her book can be found here.

During our conversation, we were careful not to expose any spoilers. We did, however, convince her to give us the full scoop on the GoGo’s waterskiing abilities and who really was the standout performer in the legendary Vacation video. It’s just a little exclusive gem for our listeners. You can get the full scoop on our YouTube channel here.  

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