Close up of the amazing once in a lifetime event. Perfect water, perfect boat. Dang!

If you are going to go water skiing on Lake Tahoe, do it with style. Glass-like conditions, a bristol blue sky, snow capped Sierra Nevada Mountain peaks and assure calm waters. Buzz Gibb (formerly the owner of the Queen of the Lake: THUNDERBIRD) commissioned Steven Lapkin ( ) to capture the never-before:

More fun on Lake Tahoe. Amazing images, and exclusive first time published!

John Beard (then, skipper of THUNDERBIRD) dawns a pair of waterskis and ‘commands’ THUNDERBIRD to roar off at 35+ knots with him in tow. Likely never envisioned, George Whittell who hired John Hacker to design, and the Huskins Boat Works of Bay City, Michigan, to build this 55′ mahogany masterpiece in 1939, would such an event or imagery be realized. Here, for you, is the exclusive epic.

Water skiing, thunderbird, hacker

I can't make this stuff up. No retouching, no photoshop. This is the real deal!

Most recently, THUNDERBIRD was selected as the cover image for YACHTING Magazine’s January 2011 issue (photo credit: Steve Lapkin).

WOW! Again.. This has to be the nicest boat on the planet earth. Stunning photography, stunning boat, stunning location..

Steve Lapkin, for over twelve years, has worked on-and-above the water: at Lake Tahoe, throughout the USA and in Europe. His niche is elemental: the various visual senses that combine in bringing iconic personalities and places together in still and HD imagery. Steve, further, has been selected numerous times for international cover-magazine selections with YACHTING, du Pont Registry, ROLEX, Tucker Thompson , WEST MARINE and Tommy Hilfiger……..among others. He also serves as the official photographer for the Tahoe Yacht Club and the Tahoe Yacht Club Foundation.

Just another day on lake Tahoe. make plans to be there this summer. The show this year is going to be one of tops in years. A must go! We will be there in full force. Big Woodys in hand... I really need to work on that name.

In the coming months, anticipating the Tahoe wooden boat show scheduled for August, additional imagery from Steve Lapkin will be shared: the devotees and wannabes as well as various and intimate shots of the diversified craft that frequent Lake Tahoe: Chris-Craft, Hacker, GarWood, Riva and various one-of-a-kind models. Such names as Al Schinnerer, Bill Hutchens, Bill Watson, Martin Feletto, Philip Andrew, Dale Reynolds, Nancy Cunningham, Bill Linderman, Jeff Peterson, Steve Hanst, Carol Van Etten, Bill Kehoe, Paul Mehus and Tom Turner will become familiar.

See you at the Big Tahoe Show in August

WOODYBOATER is honored to be the exclusive provider to never-before-seen imagery, thanks to Steve Lapkin and Please be kind and honor the copyright on these images. Misuse will be strongly enforced.If you click on the h20 link, you can ask there. We will not grant an permission. Thanks for understanding. Matt

« « Previous Post         |         Next Post » »
16 Responses to “Classic Boat Water Skiing- Lake Tahoe Style!”
  1. Michael Guthrie

    What an amazing sight ! Thunderbird is simply stunning and Steve’s images of John on skis are superb.Thank you for sharing them with us.
    Cheers, Michael

  2. anonymus

    Love the boat and the local. I think every other wood boat book has a picture of the Thunderbird. Always a pleasure. I wonder how many skiers you could tow on a boat that size?

  3. Rick

    Wow amazing pictures. If money ever needs to be raised for a charity sell chances to duplicate that skiing experience!

  4. WoodyGal

    I never get tired of pictures of Thunderbird, what a fabulous boat! Snow capped peaks, glassy blue water and water skiing! Superb!

  5. matt

    These images screamed out to me as the perfect Woody Boater images, they are about the beauty of a magnificent classic wood boat and folks having fun with it. Priceless stuff and my hats off to the guys that pulled this off.

  6. Pete rainey

    We are running the Nz antique and classic boatshow this Saturday and sunday here at Lake Rotoiti about 300 miles north of Christchurch which has suffered the most devastating earthquake last Tuesday ( as I’m sure you know)
    Many from Christchurch are coming to the show to find solace and lift spirits

    Classic boating makes a difference to peoples lives!!

    Pets Rainey

    • Philip Andrew

      Pete we haven’t met. yet. I wish I could come across for the boat show but even with three boats I haven’t got one running .Can you believe it. Next year perhaps.
      Hope you get a fine weekend and that the wood on water brings comfort to the Cantabrians.

      • Pete Rainey

        Hi Phil

        Send me your details and I ‘ll put you on our database if you want.

        We don’t have a mutual friend in John Malthus do we?


  7. Steve Hanst

    That was such an epic day ! The water was perfectly flat and the air was crisp. Popped right up, that water was cold !!! Has to rank in the top five of the coolest things I have done so far.

  8. Alex

    Matt, you should replicate this event when you’re at Tahoe. Cold water and all. How better to bond with Thunderbird than to ride behind her gorgeous tumblehome and transom, feel her mighty wake, inhale her mighty exhaust, hear her mighty engine note, taste her delicious brightwork… ok, skip that last one. Too weird. And there must be sworn witnesses. Better yet, live webcam coverage. (‘Cause I’ve seen your Photoshop prowess.) Does anyone second this?

  9. Tim R Kilian

    When Bill Harrah was the owner of the boat , she could do this.Pitchometer did all of his prop work,including his unlimited prop work.