Classic Boat Water Skiing- Lake Tahoe Style!

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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

16 replies
  1. anonymus
    anonymus says:

    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?

  2. Rick
    Rick says:

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

  3. matt
    matt says:

    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.

  4. Pete rainey
    Pete rainey says:

    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
      Philip Andrew says:

      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.

  5. Steve Hanst
    Steve Hanst says:

    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.

  6. Alex
    Alex says:

    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?

  7. Tim R Kilian
    Tim R Kilian says:

    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.

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