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  • The Mark of a Legacy




    Memories. They are what is left behind when someone departs from this world. As time moves forward, those memories begin to fade and pass away until they are but faint wisps. However, with people who fashion and stamp an imprint on the world, there is a different chain of events. They leave a legacy. And their essence never wanes. This is why Andy Mapple's spirit burns brightly in our community and through those who carry on his fever for water skiing.

    Where ever he went, Andy touched and impacted countless lives. Whether he was revolutionizing technology, building a new ski invention, or cycling, the man left a trail worth blazing.

    Along the way, Andy established all kinds of great relationships. From family to friends and coworkers to competitors, he could connect with practically anyone. Most importantly, he was a father and a husband.

    "Two wrongs don't make a right' was the best piece of knowledge my dad gave me," Michael Mapple reflects. Andy was more than just an excellent father figure. To his son, he was the world. A best friend with whom to share timeless moments and camaraderie. He was a great life companion.

    Like many father/son duos, they were absorbed in cars and James Bond. "We could talk about cars forever," Michael reminisces. But one special aspect of their friendship was irreplaceable: the sport of waterskiing. Their lives were wrapped around the adventures that accompany legend-like skiers.

    "I will never forget traveling in our RV while my dad was still competing on the Pro Tour  when it actually was still a tour and living out of it while my dad skied at different events," Michael says.

    Going on excursions around the world, learning about new cultures and bonding as a family are some of Deena Mapple's, Andy's wife, most cherished moments.

    "As our son, Michael, and daughter, Elyssa, got older," Deena says, "we all piled into that motor home and traveled. I was homeschooling Michael at the time so we arranged tournaments, clinics and sightseeing according to where Andy needed to be at specific times. It was one of our greatest adventures and one of my best memories."

    In their last few months together, Deena greatly cherished and enjoyed praying with Andy to begin their mornings and embrace the hectic activities of the day.

    When they weren't traveling or out on the terrain racing and riding road bikes, Andy was scheming. "There were times where he'd text me at three or four a.m. telling me Wait till you see my next idea tomorrow morning.' He was a ski genius," Michael says. "He had notebooks full of ideas. It's been very cool getting to read some of his notes he kept that I had no idea about."

    Andy wasn't only a father figure to his son. He was also a paternal mentor to students like Taylor Garcia.

    "Andy was always willing to help everyone," Deena says. "He especially wanted to help children in the skiing world with coaching, equipment, life issues and really anything. He just loved people. That was my husband."

    Andy and Taylor first bonded when Andy, who at the time was a complete stranger, offered Taylor a simple suggestion to help him out of his year-long slalom slump. The rest is history.

    "All of a sudden Andy was sitting outside my house once a week or so, waiting for me when I walked out because he knew I slalomed at 8 a.m. And from that moment on, I was a part of the Mapple family and its craziness. What an honor," Taylor says.

    Through "the ability to control physical action by mental preparation," Andy helped Taylor out of the depths of his mental block, and by the end of his junior career, Taylor was ranked number one in the world. Of course, it was all achieved on the Mapple slalom ski. However, Andy wasn't solely a great coach because he could help his skiers gain some extra buoys.

    "He was a human being's human being," Taylor says in describing Andy's character. "He was everything we all should strive to become. And man was he funny. He could laugh at anything, most often himself. He was simply the best."

    Andy brought out the best in Taylor. He uncovered attributes in him that even Taylor didn't know existed. He was his confidant, comfort zone and butt kicker. That is the legacy Taylor and the rest of Andy's students will always remember.

    "He was, and will always be, my idol for what he taught me about myself. I'm going to try real hard not to let him down. I miss him terribly," states Taylor.

    This man wasn't only an inspiration to up and coming skiers, he was a great motivation even for his own competitors. His remarkable flair on the water drove them to push their limits and talent.

    "We all knew that to compete against Andy, we would have to ski to the best of our ability and sometimes that wasn't even enough," Big Dawg Hall of Famer Jeff Rodgers says. "That being said, I always liked the challenge of competing with him, it was always a great time for me on the water."

    Powerfully aggressive yet impeccably smooth. That was Andy's unique style, recognizable to any watching eye. By that technique, he got it done in any condition. Calm or rough, Andy was able to consistently excel.

    In his last season, he reigned on top of the IWWF and Europe and Africa 45+ ranking list and made his mark on the Big Dawg tour with notable second place finishes at the 2015 Big Dawg West Palm Beach tournament and the 56thNautique Masters. He was also poised in the fifth spot for Big Dawg points overall. At 52 years old, he left a lofty trail to follow.

    However, his assets ranged far beyond textbook turns and impressive tournament finishes. People were drawn to his personality. His good-hearted nature and infectious laugh still echoes through those who further his passion of water skiing.

    "He was so approachable, which made him easy to talk to," Jeff says. "You just enjoyed being around him. It was always a privilege to learn from him, listen to the knowledge he had accumulated over the years and share ideas with. I miss him still, every day."

    His philosophy and ingenuity spanned beyond tweaking skis and throwing up walls of water. Andy was knowledgeable in boat technology and played an important role in its development. According to Will Bush (D3 Skis Design and Engineering), Andy possessed a unique sense when he skied of how the detailed maneuvers of a boat would impact skiers. Input from skills like Andy's has been one of the most accurate methods in refining the boat control systems.

    "Andy continued the passion he had for slalom skiing into his work with Zero Off," Will says. "He was always thinking and called frequently with new ideas."

    Just like the vigor he brought to the water, Andy was also excellent at considering all angles before making a decision in the competitive business side of the sport. Treating people fair and right was a priority for Andy, says Freddy Krueger, the current men's jump world record holder.

    "When he (Andy) first started working with Zero Off, he was having to essentially go head-to-head with Perfect Pass, which was a company he had worked with very closely for many years," Freddy says. "It was important to Andy that Perfect Pass be treated with the respect and courtesy they deserved."

    Freddy and Andy often collaborated as Zero Off developed the jump program. Andy was a master at presenting an issue without becoming angry or disrespectful, Freddy says. He had a knack for subtly nudging his co-workers back on track.

    "I went to Andy on a number of different projects for advice," Freddy recalls. "He helped me structure contracts and guided me through tough business decisions. He never told me what I should' do, he always just explained how he had handled things and helped me see that an obstacle may feel scary and cause fear, but you have to change your vision to see it as an opportunity. That still lives strong in me today."

    Andy's contagious enthusiasm of all things competitive waterskiing grabbed the attention of even recreational skiers, bringing them into the tight-knit family. Jodi Fisher, the director of Spray It Forward and owner of Jodi's Ski Skool, had no idea he would one day rise from the level of leisure skier to world-class competitor and train with a legend, friend, and future best man at his wedding.

    "At age 11, I sat off the shore of Thorpe and watched Andy Mapple win his first World Championship title at age 18," Jodi says. "He is the reason why I decided to water ski competitively and chase my dreams to become a world class water skier."

    At age 21, Jodi competed alongside Andy on the British Team at the Open World Championship.

    He went from a bystander in the crowd on the sidelines of a tournament to one of Andy's own training partners. Despite the intense and sometimes relentless training days, it was the best thing that ever happened to me, Jodi remembers.

    Most of the time it was relaxed. But there were occasions when their sore, rough hands would tear and bleed; skis would need tedious filing and adjusting; and days where they would push for precision until the sun would fade behind the horizon.

    Spending long hours on the lake with Andy, Jodi recognized that he was more than just a driving force and influence within the water ski world. It stretched much deeper. His giving, patient and understanding demeanor spilled into the surrounding society.

    "Andy had so much time for others," Jodi says. "I've seen him help the homeless at food and clothing banks and even serve meals to the homeless with his staff from Mapple Skis. Andy was one in a million."

    He was a pioneer, a matchless athlete and a kind soul. Andy's physical presence is indeed dearly missed, yet his spirit will always be felt through the lives he touched and impacted the mark left by a man with an irreplaceable legacy and a memory that will never dwindle in our beloved community.


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