When William Harrison ’14 and his friends wanted to waterski as kids growing up on Johns Island, they didn’t require much in the way of fancy equipment. Forget fiberglass and carbon fiber, all they needed was a visit to the hardware store. In no time Harrison and his buddies would be on the river, skimming across the water on skis made of two-by-fours with a pair of sandals screwed into the top as a boot and a pair of door hinges screwed in from below as fins. They may not have been the most elegant set of water skis, but no one seemed to care – they were just a whole lot of fun.
When Harrison returned home to Charleston as a transfer student, he quickly got his feet wet again, joining the College’s Watersports Club. By the end of his College career, Harrison was president of the club, overseeing a membership of 45 students participating in sports that include surfing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, kite boarding, tubing and paddle boarding.
“Pretty much if it involves water, we’re all about it,” says Harrison.
Participation is casual, with team members putting out alerts within the club when they are heading to Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island, Trophy Lakes on Johns Island or Bushy Park in Goose Creek. If there’s an empty seat in the boat, anyone is invited to come along. The club’s members range in skill from nearly pro watersports athletes to amateurs.
“We encourage everyone to come out,” says Harrison, a hospitality and tourism major. “Even if you don’t know how to swim, we’re going to get you in a life jacket and teach you how to do it. It’s just about getting out on the water and having fun.”