Tim Fitzgibbons started skiing when his sons were 3 and 1. That was in 1995.
On Sept. 8, the Shakopee father-son trio broke a barefoot skiing world record for the number of skiers behind the same boat. The number? Thirty-eight. That’s 76 dropped water skis.
The event, which took place at the Shawano Ski Sharks Park in Wisconsin, wasn’t the first world record the Fitzgibbons family has broken. In 2017, they were part of the current barefoot skiing record with 32 people behind the same boat. It gets complicated, Tim Fitzgibbons said, because the weight of the skiers makes it difficult for the boat to reach the necessary speed for barefoot skiing, which is about 45 mph. That’s why, this year, the weight limit for each skier was 175 pounds.
Sponsored by Evinrude and called the Big Pull, the barefoot skiing world record was set when the 38 skiers, who traveled from across the country for the record attempt, rode behind the boat for more than 300 meters.
“It means a lot to me to have my sons in it,” Tim Fitzgibbons said. “That’s what’s so cool.”
The Fitzgibbons have been practicing nearly every day on Lake O’Dowd and they participate on the Shakopee-Prior Lake Shockwaves skiing team. Paul Snell, another Shakopee resident who participates on the ski team, was also part of the world record attempt.
The official approval of the race was a production. The course had to first be approved by a state surveyor, Tim Fitzgibbons said, to ensure the buoys placed in the water accurately represent 300 meters. Then a drone video proved the boat and skiers passed the buoys so the record could be validated.
Fitzgibbons said the record is currently pending Guinness approval.