Wade Cox makes waterskiing look so easy. Perched on one ski, Cox glides across the water effortlessly, slicing across wakes and cutting around buoys. He makes it look so natural.
But for anyone who has tried slalom waterskiing, there’s nothing easy about it. Cox started waterskiing as a child and worked his way to the top. Last month, Cox was inducted into the Water Ski Hall of Fame in Polk City because of his contributions to the world of waterskiing and his outstanding lifelong devotion to the sport.
For Cox, 43 and once a Leesburg resident, being inducted into the Hall of Fame was a dream come true.
“It was absolutely unbelievable,” Cox said about the moment he learned he was an inductee. “I didn’t think I had a chance. I didn’t think it was going to happen.”
It all started when Cox was a preschooler and living in Arkansas. His grandmother, now 86, showed him the ropes. From there, it became a family affair with his dad behind the wheel of the boat and his mom cheering him on.
Soon it became obvious to Cox’s family that he was good — really good. He moved to Central Florida to further his waterskiing career and attended Leesburg High School, where he graduated in 1987. At 20, he turned pro. Cox has been called the most successful U.S. slalom skier of his time with more than 30 victories as a professional.